Monday, March 31, 2008


So I love to cook...And I'm getting better at it every day! Just ask my husband ;-) I googled food in Togo and came up with the following two recipes. Just an idea of what I have to look forward to...ahh!!

Akume with Ademe sauce Togolese flag
Ingredients for the Ademe Sauce
  • 8 ounces of ademe
  • 1 onion
  • 1 Magi cube
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 ounces of smelly salted fish
  • Half a pint of water
  • Palm oil (optional)
  • Half a pound of beef
  • 1 big smoked fish
  • A few crabs if you wish

Method of Preparation

  1. Pour water into a saucepan and boil.
  2. Add the ademe, smelly fish and chopped onion into the boiling water
  3. Add the smoked fish, meat, crab and Magi cube
  4. Add salt and pepper to taste, and palm oil if you wish.
  5. Cook for about 20-25 minutes

Ingredients for the Akume (Maize p√Ętes)

  • 1 pound of maize dough
  • 4 ounces of cassava dough
  • 1 pint of water
  • 1 teaspoon of salt.

Method of Preparation

  1. Mix everything together in a saucepan and put onto the stove.
  2. Stir gently with a wooden spoon until the mixture becomes firm.
  3. A little boiling water can be added if necessary.

Fufu and groundnut soup
with chicken
Togolese flag
Ingredients for the Groundnut Soup
  • 1 chicken
  • 1 big onion
  • 2 fresh tomatoes
  • 1 small can of tomato puree
  • 1 Magi cube
  • 8 ounces of groundnut paste
  • Salt and pepper
  • 1 pint of water

Method of Preparation

  1. Chop up the onion and place it into a saucepan full of water.
  2. Add the groundnut paste and the tomato puree, then cook over a gentle flame until the oil from the groundnut paste starts coming to the top.
  3. Put the chicken -- which should be already cut into pieces, fried and seasoned – into the saucepan.
  4. The tomatoes, salt and pepper should be mixed in.
  5. After stirring gently with a wooden spoon over a gentle flame, the groundnut soup will soon be ready and is guaranteed to taste delicious.

Ingredients for the Fufu

  • 1 pound of yams
  • Half a pint of water

Method of preparation

  1. Boil the yams until they are soft then place inside a wooden mortar.
  2. Pound the yam with a wooden pestle until it has the consistency of baker’s dough. While this is being done water should be sprinkled onto the yam at regular intervals. Water also needs to be applied to the end of the pestle in much the same way as a snooker player rubs chalk onto the end of their cue.
  3. When the fufu is ready (or you've pounded to the limits of your endurance!), dump about a cup of the mixture into a wet bowl and shake until it forms itself into a smooth ball. Serve on a large platter alongside a soup or stew.

N.B. Instead of chicken, you can use almost any other meat. In Togo you might use a bush rat although outside West Africa you might have problems finding them. Don’t be tempted to use European brown or black rats. They are not an adequate substitute – not even big, fat juicy ones!

Sunday, March 30, 2008


The official language of Togo is French. And, no, I don't speak French ;-) Luckily, Nathan does. But that doesn't help me, so I'm working on learning it myself...not to mention that it's a requirement for service. You guys are going to keep me accountable as I learn and study like crazy the next few months. I have been taking French at the Boston Language Institute since last September. I complete French 2 this Thursday. And begin French 3 next Tuesday! It is still beginner classes seem to go quite a bit slower, but I do know MUCH more than when I began. I am also doing French with Rosetta Stone online. I started March 8 and have to complete 40 hours by May 8. I am at 22 hours...The way I calculate it, I need 26 hours by April 8. Yes I'm a nerd like that! So I am off to study French...

Thursday, March 27, 2008

The Loooong Process

I know many of you have been following the long process of our acceptance into the Peace Corps. While you have been patient, I have not always been ;-) Here is a look at our timeline:

Fall 2005: Nathan reapplies to the Peace Corps
February 2006: Ann applies to the Peace Corps
February 2006: Ann and Nathan meet
September 2006: Ann and Nathan get engaged!
November 2006: Ann and Nathan apply to the Peace Corps together
June 2007: Will you go to Africa in November 2007? NO!
July 2007: Ann and Nathan get married!
January 2008: Will you go to Africa in June 2008? Maybe...
February 2008: Nevermind. No placement.
March 2008: Will you go to Africa in September 2008? YES!

Hopefully, no more changes to the Peace Corps timeline between now and September! I don't think I can handle the yo-yo-ing!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Getting Ready...

Hi Everyone!
I thought I might wait to blog when I reach Togo...But then, I thought, "Why not start now?" I know you all will want to know everything I'm doing to prepare...And there is a lot! So I will start by saying that we are very excited and the reality is beginning to set in. We have lots to do before we leave...move, sell furniture, buy lots of supplies, see lots of people, pack, etc etc. I'm sure we have not fully processed it all! Right now I am trying to complete my dental clearance...Just one more appointment to go. Seriously, they have x-rays of every single one of my teeth...I'm trying not to think "why?"...Any ideas?! I'll tell you mine later...
So check out my links and learn more about Togo...
I'll definitely be keeping everyone updated!
Until then...