Sunday, August 26, 2007

off to post

I've been an official Peace Corps volunteer for three days, but the fun really begins Tuesday, when I arrive in village. We're leaving tomorrow morning, but since we have a long way to go, the Savannes volunteers will probably spend the night somewhere so we don't have to move into our electricity-less homes in the dark. This is good, as I still have some shopping to do. Apparently, five days in Lome aren't enough for me to buy everything I need. Shopping in the market takes alot out of you, though.

Yesterday we went to a beach party organized by the Gender and Development committee to raise money for girls' scholarships. It was at a private beach and therefore like leaving the real world - manicured lawns, super clean bathrooms with hand towels, a pool... I swam in the ocean with the black plastic bags and other random pieces of trash. There was a wall further out that broke the big waves, therefore making it somewhat safer to swim. The undertow was still strong.

The whole time in Lome has been kind of surreal. I've been to four different "yovo" stores (yovo = stranger, foreigner, white person), which are like supermarkets at home, or maybe in Europe. The first visit, at "Le Champion" I was overwhelmed. The second visit, at Super Ramco, I just popped in to buy spices. The third store, Citimart, broke the bank. I lost it and just bought things somewhat indiscriminately. I don't REALLY need insecticide, but it might come in handy in my latrine. And raisins... I might use for baking. And cashews are just good.

Now I'm going to try to post pictures. I don't know when I'll have internet access again, since I'm going to Sagbiebou, so the weekly updates may become bi- or tri-weekly updates. We'll see. So wish me well, send mail (letters, not packages) and hopefully I can write in a few weeks.

My house in Sagbiebou

The road to the Tech House in Agou Nyogbo

With family members and compound residents. I've got my arm around my little brother George.

Pounding fufu (really just for the picture - it's hard work).

George is a supermodel and I'm shiny.

CHAP trainees minutes before swearing-in as official volunteers. Top row (L-R): Nori, Lauren, Ashley, Aimee, Kate, moi, Becka, Alicia, Tig, Danielle. Bottom row - Natasha, Helen and Stephanie
With my host mom at swear-in. She's wearing an outfit made from cloth I gave her as a thank you gift.