Wednesday, October 29, 2008

New House in Togo

This is Ann’s mom Sally again.  Today is Andy’s birthday (that’s Ann’s dad), so to celebrate, we called Ann!  She was eating her new favorite dinner—a cold spaghetti dish with a sauce made of peanuts, carrots, onions, and cucumbers.  During the weeks of training, Ann’s “mom” has prepared her meals.  But Ann has had cooking classes, so that she will know how to prepare nutritious meals with local food once she and Nathan are living and eating on their own.  It will also be part of Ann’s job to share nutrition ideas with the women in the village.  Ann says that one trick for adding protein to a common bowl of porridge is to add crushed peanuts to the porridge.  Simple trick, but supposedly it’s not easy to convince moms to try this new idea with their children’s porridge.

Ann and Nathan leave on Saturday for a week-long visit at their new post, a small village in the north of Togo.  They are excited about seeing their new house and making arrangements for needed furniture.  According to Ann, she and Nathan will live like the middle class in Togo.  Their “compound” will be five small, circular huts or rooms (about 12’ X 12’), each with a cement floor, mud walls and a straw, conical shaped roof.  The house will have a bedroom (a bed and a chest), an office, a kitchen, a storage room, and a room without furniture for receiving guests.  All of the furniture will be handcrafted for this house; the bed will have posts for a malaria net.  There will be screens on the windows, because that’s a Peace Corps requirement.  The mud walls will keep the rooms cool.    

Big news from Ann and Nathan is that they will soon become the proud owners of two cows!  Nathan will use the cows to teach farmers in the village how to plow with cows, and the cows will live in the garden behind their new house.  I have a hard time picturing Ann and Nathan as the keeper of cows!  Ann assured me that the cows are not for eating.  Nathan has told her that she can name them and can think of them as pets.  Only challenge is that a cat has been Ann’s experience with pets.  They may get also get a couple of goats, chickens, and rabbits, too.  I hope they send us pictures!

Ann and Nathan have both enjoyed the weeks of training but are anxious to move and to begin work.  They take their final French tests this week and have begun learning some of the local dialect.  Ann hopes to be in the city of Kara during the weekend of November 7-9.  She is certain that she will have internet access then and will at long last update her blog.  Ann is grateful for the cards and letters.  She said that she had received one package of much enjoyed M & M’s!  I hope all of you are doing well.  And many thanks for your thoughts and prayers for Ann and Nathan.

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