Published: June 7th 2010June 7th 2010
Dressing up in kids patients gowns over our scrubs for the barn dance on the dock.
This was quite the interesting weekend off the ship. We (4 other girls and 3 african guys) went away to Kpalime (pronounced Palimay) which is about 2 hours north of Lome and the port. After 1 1/2 hours of discussing between our african translators and they guy organising transport on a price we left for Kpalime. We drove past little villages with huts with thatch grass roofs, and lots of kids running around, the land got more lush and green the closer inland we got, as well as getting cooler which was a nice change from the 40 degree heat of the city/port. That afternoon we hiked to a waterfall after much discussion about how much we had to pay so that we could swim in it also. Luckily we had a guy with us who was the 'secretary of the authority of the association of the waterfall'! Haha, we later found out that he was a great liar. We swam in the waterfall after he gave us the go ahead, and returned back to our van to be greeted by a man with a machete (he looked like General Juma from season 7 of 24 if anyone has see that).
We (us girls of course) watched/hid and laughed from our safety of the van while we snapped lots of photos for facebook (or for our evidence in case something bad happened) of the 'discussions' between the machete man and our african friends and the guy who let us swim in the TOWN'S WATER SUPPLY...woops. Lucky it didnt get very physical, just a few hits with a little stick from machete man, but it seemed like the man with us deserved it. He was pretty verbally abusive i think.
Anyway, after 1 1/2 hours of this, we got away, or so we thought. The next morning we went to church which was nice, the churches here are interesting but quite overwhelming with the pastor shouting the sermon, women and men sit seperately, women dance up the front pretty actively with their kids/babies strapped to their backs bobbing around. After this we had a look at the town's small markets and then unfortunately the police found us and took us back to the station. Apparently one of the many men involved in the fight/discussion the day before had dobbed us in and so after 2 hours of discussions between 2
of the african guys in our group and the police we got let go. At one point we were going to have to stay behind and find this other guy that was with us as "someone had to take responsibility" and since it was his fault (not us that swam apparently) we had to bring him to the cops. Thank goodness we didnt have to do that!
That afternoon we hiked up Mount Agou which at 986 metres high is the highest mountain in Togo. We climbed about 1/3 of it as we had run out of time. It was beautiful up there, really lush and like a mix of NZ and Rarotonga. We passed little villages with kids running around, young girls washing all their family's clothes in buckets, kids selling avocados and mangos, and goats roaming around. It was so nice and cool up there, if I lived in Africa, I would want to live inland or up in the mountains. It poured down while we were walking, and all the kids would run and scream into shelter, I thought they might like the rain more than us. We made it to the top after about 2
hours walking, and after paying yet more money to view a natural resource we could see a great view of all the local towns. It was pretty hazy and cloudy due to the rain and humidity though.
So yes it was quite an eventful weekend, I've learnt that africans like to discuss for as long as they can be bothered to bargain or debate something. But the african guys that were with us were awesome and I always felt safe with them. They felt really bad about all that happened, but we had a fun time. We were grateful they were with us, I wouldn't go with just us white girls.
There are more photos below