Lara…saying Goodbye to the people of Togo

11059544_10153087941426819_8050518159896619474_n (1) 11264832_10153087942491819_6646066485578259373_n 11796296_10153087941576819_4119355877046143294_n Tonight is my last night in the small village of Sagbiebou in Northern Togo. Two years ago I moved here, the first time moving anywhere alone, with a little French and no idea what would happen next. For the first few months I felt helpless and alone; I didn’t understand the language, washing my clothes by hand never seemed to get them clean, and babies were terrified of me, having never seen a white person before. Each day the struggles in retrospect were small but I’ll never forget writing daily goals of “learning how to buy food” or “finding where and how to pump my own water.” It was terrifying but exciting, and my parents advice became my mantra, “take it a day at a time.”
After a while the bucket showers and eating this thing called fufu became the norm, strangers that I once fumbled in the basics of French, Anufo, and Gam-Gam with became good friends, and my day-to-day goals soon turned to exciting projects like creating an English Club, constructing a school and latrine, and teaching a group of girl apprentices the importance of and how to become financially independent. I never did quite get the hang of teaching 130 students at once (a lofty goal) but I gave it a try every day. I stood along as one of my most admirable students received a scholarship to last through university and work partners traveled to other regions to participate in Peace Corps trainings and camps. Alongside my community I planted trees, painted murals, made small strides in improving gender equality in Sagbiebou, and played, arguably, too much soccer.
I saw the incredible work ethic of these villagers, who wake up at dawn to bike or walk miles either to the farm or to school, only to be followed by more intense work upon their return (pumping and carrying water to their homes, cooking over a coals in 110 degree weather, selling goods in the market). And then, after all of that, had the energy and motivation to work on projects with me.
I created a home and a family here, one I’m incredibly sad to say goodbye to. But I’m happy to have these friendships and experiences going forward and to always, somewhere in the back of my mind be that yovo called Madame Fati.
Thank you to all of my family and friends who were so supportive of me moving to Togo for two years – and moreover, sending me their love and support throughout the 26 months.


10443418_10204488104307667_7418074501003854548_n10527792_10204488104627675_4286278798010333054_nSAMSUNG CAMERA PICTUREStogoStudents in Togo, West Africa, Jan. 20141-1780697_10151989352621819_956186435_n10929030_10152683023786819_6462024234922514247_n10915172_10152683023441819_73601443719528939_n10410529_10152775751716819_5507478461923675986_n1504978_10152775749571819_1957553055112953117_n1908407_10152775749776819_6732428362413289983_n1-14476_10151611011141819_1137617227_nindex11112751_10153031855241819_4835761213046798938_o11700837_10153066740381819_1472202397866085411_n

10 thoughts on “Lara…saying Goodbye to the people of Togo

  1. reocochran says:

    Someone may already have said this I am rushing:
    “Parting is such sweet sorrow,” Lara. ♡♡

    Liked by 2 people

  2. reocochran says:

    Tell her this message, johann. I feel blessed seeing her sunny face and how she embraced this culture. . .:)

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Clanmother says:

    A profound experience that will be ever in her heart….


  4. Jan says:

    What a wonderful learning experience! Footsteps your mother made on that same continent in a slightly different capacity.


  5. Jean Rose says:

    Hi Jane, this was very nice .. enjoyed reading this . Will she be going back or not ? Jeannie


  6. Mari Gabrielson says:

    Wow!  You must feel incredibly proud and blessed to have a daughter like Lara.   I hope I get to meet her. Blessings, MariG


  7. tersiaburger says:

    What a lovely post. Glad she will be home soon. Xxx


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