Once upon a time a Duke student named Connor went to Farandé, Togo and built a cybercafé in five days. Now, not only am I online because of what he built, but am also working with him on his new project. Cool, eh?
We spent the first few days in the capital, Lomé where we did an assortment of things from playing soccer on Coco Beach to hearing security tips at the American Embassy. Professor Piot also brought us to a variety of restaurants which you could tell cooked authentic Togolese food because there were no other Westerners there. At dinner the first night, we sat next to a group of Nigerian students who had had a lot to drink and not only sang and danced throughout their entire meal, but also gave us a speech and videotaped us. They introduced themselves to Professor Piot as the “tourism club” and it was pretty funny to watch.
The next day, we took a seven hour bus ride up north with a very aggressive driver and arrived in the city of Kerra. A taxi ride and hike later, we reached the village, Kudé. Because it’s on top of a mountain, it has the most beautiful scenery with rolling green hills and Baoab trees. So pretty! At the opening ceremony, they welcomed us by spilling the blood of a chicken and serving home brewed beer. Apparently because the chicken was flopping around all over the place after they slit its throat, it meant that none of us would get sick here. I sure hope so.
The next day we toured Farandé, the village where five out of seven of us are living and visited each homestead. Each one is basically a cluster of cement houses with corrugated tin roofs and lots of cute, shy children. My host mother’s name is Ren and is surprisingly young for someone who owns the whole property. Apparently she rents out other rooms to different families. My room is really nice, even though we had to chase a mouse out yesterday.
I also got to see the site that we would be working on for the summer. It’s right behind the clinic and is very much overgrown with plant life… Hooray for thirty year old abandoned projects. Can’t wait to get digging.