Monday, June 14, 2010
Week One – June 5 through June 9
We landed in Togo around 8pm on June 5th. We were met by the PC Director of the Country and a few other staff members. Our luggage was quickly loaded onto buses and we were driven to our “hotel”. There was a tasty Togolese meal waiting for us at the hotel. The Director made a few welcoming remarks, and we were left on our own to settle in. I shared a room with Christine on the third floor, and managed to “lug” all my luggage up the three flights of stairs. There were two beds in each room. The beds had very thin mattresses and mosquito nets. The ‘hotel’ was rough to say the least. Our first night was a good stepping stone into a life without luxuries such as ice, warm water, plumbing and absent of anything American. We awaken to the roosters crowing, and it seems that will be our alarm clocks from this day forward. It is the rainy season in Togo. The ceiling in my bedroom leaked each time it rained, and you could see mold growing almost everywhere. This was to be our home for the next four days, as we processed through the Peace Corps system in Togo. The next several days in Togo were all about how to stay alive in Africa. Our workbook with the acronym (SHIT) Staying Healthy in Togo, covered malaria, African diseases, and how to filter our water, and care for our very own water filter system. We also received a couple vaccinations a day, and began to take two different kinds of malaria prevention medication. We had training on how to take a bucket bath and how to wash our dishes and our clothes, and the day we left for the training site we received our very own bath bucket and got to pick out a panga (pon-ya) which is wrap around fabric you wear after your shower. The malaria training session was quite effective. I’m quite sure all twenty-four of us will be vigilant about staying on our medication and making sure our mosquito nets are secure.