Hope this post finds everyone well. Nathan and I are back in Kara for the day. We came in this morning, withdrew money from the bank, and went food shopping. Now we're on the computer for a little bit before grabbing lunch on the way back to village. All is fine here. Missing American food as always but am currently munching on Pringles. This month Nathan and I will start cooking more for ourselves (can we say rice and beans?!) since Rachel's new baby is due in April! We are super excited! She of course doesn't know the gender or the due date, but just went to her last check-up. When contractions start, she'll walk 3 miles to the local health clinic. I was astounded and she looked at me, like, "What else would I do?!!" Maybe by the next post I'll have pictures! I've already bought a gender-neutral baby outfit ;-)
Otherwise, Nathan and I are both back from In-Service Training and had good times. It was nice to see friends from training and share experiences - good and bad - and we were a good source of support for each other. I have more new ideas for projects at post including summer camp in village (think Vacation Bible School). I am thinking of doing it with girls at the elementary school for a week this summer, including art, drama, life skills (self-confidence, good decision making), and recreation. I'll recruit local women to help me and maybe serve drinks and snacks. I'm excited so I'll keep you updated.
Asher is doing well and spending the day with his brother, Beepo. Nathan has taught the two of them to "sit." Reine tells them to "set" and can't understand why they don't. We're trying to teach her the right pronunciation ;-)
Another exciting, non work-related project is that I'm contributing to a Togolese recipe book another volunteer is compiling. Women here pass recipes and cooking skills orally. We are going to try and record them and share with new communities (other volunteers, other Togolese, and people in the US). I have gone to three different cooking lessons and watched my friend, Jesslyn, cook. I wrote the recipes and took pictures. I want many more recipes, so I plan to ask different women around the community if can come and learn from them. I think it will be a good way to get to know women in the community better. I love food and cooking and feel excited about the activity. And the women are excited that I want to learn from them - and after we eat together!
One fun side note - there are now products available at Whole Foods from a cooperative here in Togo. The brand is Alaffia and from what I know it is shea butter lotions and soaps. I know two PC volunteers who work with the women about 2 hours south of our village. According to Whole Foods, Alaffia is "nourishing, moisturizing products made from local ingredients by a women's cooperative in Togo, West Africa. Ten percent of sales go back to community projects." Cool, huh?! Women in our village sell shea butter and I have been buying it recently to use as lotion. It looks like small pats of butter and doesn't smell wonderful, but my skin is very smooth. I told other women in the village what I was doing and they of course already do the same! So if you go to Whole Foods anytime soon, check it out! If I get a chance to visit the coop, I'll get pics for you!
On April 7, I am going down to Lome for a committee meeting. I have been nominated to be on the Peace Corps Gender and Development Committee and the next meeting is April 8. Not sure what it entails so I'll have to tell you next post. But I'll be back on email then. Shoot me an email and tell me what's going on! I'll have more to post and hopefully I'll get pictures up as well. Please tell everyone hi and keep us in your thoughts and prayers. This is birthday month for the two of us, as well as Easter, and I'm a little sad not to be with all of you enjoying birthday cake and Easter ham :-) But know that we are happy, miss you tons, and love you even more!