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September 26th 2010
Published: November 30th -0001
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Bonjour mes chers amis! I have just returned home from an awesome weekend in Togo. A few Norwegian girls that I know from my Twi language course were going with a Togolese friend named Darou, so I decided to tag along. I was in need of getting my visa renewed anyway so I thought I would make a trip out of it instead of just going to the embassy here in Accra. I had heard from a lot of Ghanaians that Togo is very beautiful but can also be dangerous, especially by the boarder so I was glad to have a local with us to help translate and watch out for any trouble.
We left Friday morning and took a bus to Aflao station in Accra so we could find a tro-tro. Darou told us that you could find tro-tros to Togo that have air conditioning and comfortable seats if you know where to look. We did end up finding a nice van that had doors that actually shut and no holes in the floor! There was air-conditioning and a radio too so we were quite comfortable for the three hour drive. When we arrived at the boarder we had to go through a series of checkpoints and fill out a couple forms so that took about an hour. Once we got through security I was surprised to see that there were motorcycles everywhere and the traders were all coming up to us and shouting in French about God knows what. Darou explained to us that taxi-motos are the main form of transportation here and almost everyone speaks either French or local language called Ewe, or both. We needed to take a taxi, but I was feeling a little uneasy about zooming around Togo on the back of a strange man’s motorcycle with no helmet, so we waited until one of the rare car taxis drove by and flagged it down.
We had to do a bit of searching to find a room to stay at but we finally discovered a cute little hotel that was reasonably priced, had hot water, and a café that served French baguette sandwiches and crepes. We were very hungry so we ordered cheese sandwiches with tomatoes, onions, and lettuce for lunch. I hadn’t had any cheese since I left the States so my taste buds were so excited for our reunion. After lunch we took a walk down the street and ran into this huge soccer stadium where the Togo National team plays. A lot of the streets were a bit flooded from the recent rains so we couldn’t walk very far without getting our shoes all wet and muddy.
We spent Saturday exploring Lome, which is Togo’s capital. Darou showed us a Catholic church, which had beautiful stained glass windows and was located in the middle of a noisy market. I thought it was an odd place to have a church but when we went inside I was surprised to find how quiet and peaceful it was. Darou also showed us his local mosque, and we had some interesting conversations about the Muslim faith. We also got to visit a Togolese art gallery, where we met an artist named Jaback and saw his colorful African paintings. Jaback had these T-shirts that he had painted beautiful pictures on that I was admiring and telling him how cool they were so he actually ended up giving me one as a gift! After that we went to have lunch (the food is so delicious in Togo!) and then went to the beach to play in the waves for a while. Lome’s beaches are very clean and not crowded at all. The water was very warm and I did some searching for a seashell to bring home with me.
That night Darou took us to his parent’s house to have dinner. It was very cool to see how a Togolese family lives and they were very excited to welcome us into their home. Darou’s family didn’t speak any English so he spent a lot of time translating for us and telling us what all the foods were. After dinner Darou’s mother showed us some home videos of a traditional African birthday party and naming ceremony. I learned a lot about the Togolese culture from these videos even though they were in French. Darou explained to us what each dance and song meant and that the whole family comes to these kinds of events, even if they have to travel very far distances.
On Sunday morning we had to start heading back to Ghana. I was a little sad to leave because I had such a great time in Togo and felt like there was still so much to see! Darou promised that he would take us back again anytime we wanted so maybe I will go again next time I need my visa renewed. Ok so that’s all the news I have for now, I can’t believe it’s almost October already. Time here is flying by but I’m trying to make the most out of every day. With that being said, I’m off to visit the Botanical Gardens on campus. I hear they are absolutely beautiful! Au Revoir!


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