Nathan and I are in Lome after finishing a week at the training site in Tsevie (a town in the southern part of Togo about an hour north of Lome). It is a different site than where we trained last year with the main difference being that it is large, with a long busy street full of motos and vendors. I think I would be overwhelmed as a new trainee by the size, but as I told them, enjoy the electricity and plentiful ice cream while you can! Village life awaits!
There are 20 new GEE volunteers and it was great to meet them all. This week we discussed teaching English in schools – something I know a little about ;-) Nathan was with 14 new NRM volunteers and they discussed gardening – something I’m learning a little about! As for training, we visited two schools and had several information/teaching sessions on the realities of schools in Togo and the problems that face schools. Everyone was really attentive and seemed excited about GEE. It was exciting to be around fresh enthusiasm! I am excited to see them again when they come to our village in late November. Nathan and I are hosting them for a day during their three-day field trip. They’ll get to see everything we’re doing. Plus I know they village will be pleased to host them. Stay tuned.
As for back in village, Nathan and I have started composting and began our “urban” garden. “Urban” in this case means in a dirt patch outside our front door and not out in the fields. I am planting two moringa saplings, hot peppers, carrots, dill, and parsley. Plus, later this month I am beginning my big garden. I had definitely romantized how easy gardening would be, but am busy reading the book How to Grow More Vegetables and am learning how much work awaits me. I have to actually build soil mounds? And measure spacing between seeds? Draw water from a well? Water the plants evenly with a heavy metal watering can? And water twice a day?! Yikes. But I’m sticking with it. And I plan to plant cantaloupe, watermelon, yellow squash, and cucumbers. Maybe our parents will get to taste some when they come in December?
All of this is in addition to Nathan’s gardening plans with village school girls…but I’ll let him keep you updated on that! I’ll tell him to put something on his blog soon ;-)
The other update for me is that Togolese schools are back in session. I attended several times two weeks ago (before training) to help organize students into classrooms and go over textbook and notebook requirements. I am not teaching my own class this year due to being out of village several times this fall for training in Tsevie. Plus I would like to concentrate more on doing “girls” related activities. That being said, I’m sure I’ll be a substitute teacher often enough and plan on doing group review sessions before big tests.
After two nights in Lome we are going to the PC retreat/training center in Pagala (mid-country). We’ll be there for three days for mid-service training. We are to come with one accomplishment and one challenge we’ve had to share with the group. I am secretly hoping they’ll throw us a big party for making it a year! ;-)
Thanks to my father’s encouragement, I now have a list of what I’ve learned and accomplished this past year…thanks Dad for the motivation!
To ride a motorcycle
To confidently ride my bike
To eat with my hands (politely)
To cook new meals using mostly ingredients from scratch
To teach in a formal school setting
To be ok without the internet (you really won’t die!)
Made new friends – Togolese and American
Having a dog (and loving it!)
To work in and with a new culture
To spend 24/7 with my husband (and yes, loving it!)
To appreciate cold drinks and AC
Gained lots of time to read, think, and dream
To live without running water and electricity (again, you won’t die)
To appreciate my friends and family back home!
Check out the pictures I've already posted...more to come! Tonight we’re planning on trying a new Chinese restaurant by the PC office…I’m hoping they’ll be something tasty on the menu I recognize. As always, thanks for all your love and support. Hugs to everyone!