Tuesday, November 2, 2010


This afternoon I woke up to find a goat in my house. the goat wasn't doing anything-not looking for food or looking for a way out- just watching me sleep. Creepy. After promptly asking the goat what he was doing in my house and then checking myself for talking to a goat ( in English nonetheless), I promptly put on clothes and escorted the goat out of my house. My commune, seeing me walk out of my house with the goat, tried to figure out the nature of the situation (nobody speaks French). This ended up with about 20 women and kids giggling while slapping the goat in punishment and asking me what I was doing with the goat in my house. I finally learned how to say " the goat came in while I was sleeping" in Ife ( local language) which I hope I will never have to say again. It now makes sense how volunteers say they learn the important things in local language like " hello," " goodbye," " beignets," and, " I didn't let the goat in my house." That pretty much sums up my 1st week at post.

Goats aside, my 1st week at post was surprisingly busy. I was planning on taking the week to unpack,clean, and nest a bit but I ended up meeting with several of my homologues to brainstorm and spending a lot of time at the dispensaire ( this is the village health center that i work with). If I had apprehensions on spending the next two years in a rural village in Africa, this last week helped immensely in eradicating them. The midwife I will primarily be working with has a plethora of ideas on how to improve the community but is so incredibly overworked she has no time to council people. For those of you wondering what I am actually doing here work-wise, I am involved in all matter of health education and promotion. This means interventions for malnourished kids, teaching moms how to treat illnesses like diarrhea and malaria, family sessions, etc. Each village is different though, and it will take several months of integration time before I can start any significant projects here. Until then, I will be spending most of my time getting to know the community and familiarizing myself with the dispensaire.

At home, Im starting to feel more comfortable with the commune lifestlye. My neighbor bought me a yam which I ended up turning into coliko- a kind of Togolese french fry for the whole compound. This, much to my surprise, was a huge hit and I spent the next several days being force fed pate ( typical Togolese dish) by the whole commune. Dancing and hand claps have also become a nightly activity and I know that even if I have a difficult day, its hard not to feel better after eating and dancing with everyone under our grapefruit tree.

Let me know if anyone has any questions! Also, on a completely different note, for all my science nerd friends: I found a copy of The Cell ( what it is doing in Togo I have no idea) and plan on lugging it back on a moto for those lonely Togolese nights

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