Have you heard about the relationship of the crane and the Japanese disaster?
The exercise suggested for this week is to answer the former question and to make a crane and give it to me in class following these instructions:
Suggestion: Use a beautiful piece of paper as in origami
All the guys. Note the NRM guys sporting facial hair . . .
Me and Alisha
she's a better story teller than i am
Nigarmi caught and ate two big spiders the other night. Finally. I was so proud of him despite the fact that one of the spiders only had 5 legs due to other close encounters. These spiders are big, but they lay flat on my walls, only come out at night, and run like hell. Nigarmi usually gets one pounce, then they are gone.
Since the last time I wrote, I think, its rained like 3 times in Nampoch. Legit thunderstorms. They are awesome. The rain is dirty from all the dust in the air, but it’s still awesome.
Speaking of water, my cartier has a serious water problem. The local pump broke last week, so 475 have to drink muddy river water. It takes my host sister like 3 hours to come back with a basin full. My host dad talked to the chief so that I can get water from his cartier’s pump. The rain has been fortuitous.
What is a cartier? The english translation I think is “quarter.” A more accurate description might be “clan,” although a “cartier” is an administrative distinction now. A cartier is composed of something like 6 families. 2 cartiers makes a village. 12, I think, villages makes a canton. 10 or so cantons make a prefecture. I can’t remember how many prefectures there are in the region of Kara. Nampoch, for example, has 3 cartiers, and is the seat for the canton of Nampoch, which has 18 villages. My village chief is also the chef du canton. I just read yesterday that the Konkumba clans historically don’t get along well together, so that’s why my cartier is out of water even though there are 2 other pumps in Nampoch. I think.
My body is covered in heat rash. Alisha and I got so tired of being hot that we sprung for a hotel room with A/C in Kara for the night. It is really weird to not sweat.
After further reflection, I have decided to amend my food request. You may also send me snack food. I think this is the appropriate term. Like those packets of cheese and crackers. Basically, if it fits in a box, is sealed well, and contains sufficient preservatives to make it to Africa, I will bless you upon its arrival. Chocolate, unless it is in the form of peanut M&Ms does Not work well. Sadly.
It came to my attention that some of you, my dear readers, may not have my address. Therefore, here it is:
Daniel Goshorn-Maroney PVC
Corps de la Paix
Guerin-Kouka, Togo, West Africa
In reality, if you put my name and Guerin-Kouka Togo on a package, I will likely get it. The people at the poste know me.
For those of you who are interested, I am engaged, mostly on the discussion/planning level, in the following projects in Nampoch: poultry elevàge, rabbit elevàge, bee-keeping, perma-gardens, and tree nurseries. We actually have 2 rabbits, compliments of a friend of mine who has a big rabbit elevàge project going in his village. I hope that some of my avocado trees have sprouted by the time I get back home—they don’t do well this far north so I am not hopeful
One of my CHAP colleagues (the community health sector), started a trash collection project in Guerin-Kouka, so I have been helping out with that. This Saturday I am supposed to go around with the crew and collect money.
Avocados have finally made it this far north! I bought some for my host family the last time I was in Kara. Then I found out that even though something grows in Togo doesn’t mean that all Togolese know what it is. It just goes to show the difference between the north and south—and also how remote my area is . . .
Mangos are just starting to ripen . . . .
Nigarmi!! he has ears, I promise. I was doing good to catch him holding still long enough to snap a photo
1/4 of my house . . . the "kitchen"
one of my host sisters bringing water. thats a 30l basin
I told you the bats here are huge
cashew! the fruit is really good
can you spot the girl in the tree?
building a house out of mud bricks and mud mortar
people hanging out under the neem tree behind my house
bush rat! . . . i think
Me helping load a cotton truck
marche cars loading up in Nampoch to go to the Guerin-Kouka marche
that cotton bale weighs at least 100lbs
my menusier (carpenter) ripping a board to make something for me
fetish ceremony. The chicken is probably still kicking. This is good- it means that the fetish has entered it and accepted the sacrifice.
I got a cat. His name is Nigarmi, which means "crazy" in Konkumba. He ate a cockroach the first week I had him. Last night he ate 2 legs off of a big spider (it could still move fast enough to get away . . . tonight though . . .). Nigarmi is currently stalking a chicken in the courtyard. The dog isnt around so I let him out to play. Now he is climbing on my host dad's moto . . . I will post a picture of him, Internet permitting.
The hot season is commencing. My host family sleeps out in the courtyard. I sleep in a puddle of sweat. If anyone wants to send me packets of Gatorade drink mix, I'd love it. I can't stay hydrated.
That being said, today is overcast. This is clear proof that there is a god. Or that someone sacrificed something big and the local fetishes liked it. Either way, a day with no sun is amazing.
It is Anacardiam (sp?) season. I just recently figured out that these are cashews. I like cashew fruit much better than the nuts. The fruit grows below the seed/nut. It looks really weird.
It rained the other night! It was so amazing! Wet cold wonderful rain.
Mail is an interesting phenomenon for me, especially here. I never thought that I would be a big fan of getting mail. Here, though, its different.
Since I can no longer get regular, instant gratification from email, I look forward to the bi-weekly post deliveries in Kouka. At least they are supposed to be bi-weekly. Sometimes they are, sometimes they aren't. The exact days for delivery are always a surprise too.
As near as I can tell, it takes a letter or package about 8-10 days to get from Indiana to Lome. Snowstorms really screw up this estimate. From Lome, it takes 4-5 days for packages to get up here. This is because of the road conditions. I think it takes maybe two days for stuff to get up to Kante, which is almost directly east of me, but is on the Route National.
I have an audience raptly reading this as I type it.
I've heard stories from other Volunteers about care packages, in boxes, that have arrived pre-opened and missing items. I've heard about packages that have never made it. I don't think that this has happened to me yet. Other packages get here via the Caribbean or after a European tour. Its all part of the excitement of getting mail.
I get two kinds of mail. The first kind is called EMS. I can't remember what the acronym stands for, but it is a free, internal Togolese (?) mail service that the Peace Corps uses. That's how we get, for example, medicines from Lome, or PC-Togo fliers, pay statements, official information, etc. I just used it, for example, to send one of my friends a Sports Illustrated that I was finished with.
The second type of mail I get is stuff from the States. I have to pay 1 mille CFA for each package/large envelope that I get, but its totally worth it.
Mail gives me a tangible connection to those of you back in the States. The stuff in the mail more so. Getting it is usually the highlight of my week.
Since I am talking about mail, I will unabashedly promote sending your favorite PCV all kinds of stuff. He likes the following items-- junk food- both sweet and salty- (i would kill for Lays kettle cooked chips right now), also other non-perishable food items. Magazines, like Sports Illustrated, the Economist, the New Yorker, Newsweek etc, anything that gives me an intelligent discussion about the wider world. Books. Sending me movies, TV shows, and music on thumb drives or SD cards is guaranteed to get you a personalized response if you want said devices back. Pictures. You can also write me letters too. If you ask me interesting questions, I will respond. Its part of my job.
Whatever you send me will make someone happy in some way. Magazines circulate among Volunteers. Togolese LOVE them too; its hard explaining all the advertisements sometimes though. Food gets shared. My cluster is especially good about this. Like when Laura sent me real Kraft macaroni and cheese, me and my friend Karen made some with a package of salmon she'd gotten from home. It was delicious.