Thursday, July 1, 2010

Tchekpo - Post Visit – July 10th to July 17th

Important Dates:
July 10th to July 17th – Post Visit in Tchekpo
August 5th – Swearing in as a Peace Corps Volunteer (Lome’)
August 7th – Move to Tchekpo

A week from Saturday on July 10th, we each pack up our things and go to our assigned post to stay for one week. We will see our house, and meet our ‘homologue’ (village counterpart) and determine what we need to do to set up our house when we move there permanently on August 7th.. At the very least….there will be a mattress on the floor of my house for me to sleep on. Since my post has not had a Peace Corps Volunteer for over a year, I will have to buy everything new. I just bought a kerosene stove to take with me on the post visit. Even though my homologue will be taking care of many of our needs during the week visit, we will each be responsible for most of our own meals that week.

Many/most of the volunteers will be replacing a volunteer who is headed home. They will be able to purchase most of the furniture and equipment the current volunteer has. I will be starting from scratch, but I’m not sure that is a negative. Several people have told me they have seen the house in Tchekpo (my village) and that it is very nice. That’s all I know about it for now. I do know I don’t have electricity or water. But I’ve already been using my drinking water filter for the past four weeks, and I’m quite used to no plumbing. I hope two things: That I can get a little generator so that I can easily keep my electronics charged, and that an Internet Café is within walking or bike-riding distance, so that I can keep in touch with family and friends through email and this blog.

An Peace Corps Volunteer (Damien) has been here in Tsevie all this week to help with training. He and his wife are both volunteers, and came to Togo together. They live up in the furthest northern part of Togo, and he said that the average temperature in his village is 120 degrees. He’s given me some great ideas on things to do in my village regarding organic gardening. He is coming to my host house for lunch tomorrow, and then he and I will walk to the market (marche). He’s going to help me figure out what basics I will need to survive a week at my new post, and then he will give me some advice on what I might need when I begin living there in early August. He’s been a terrific resource, and I’m looking forward to traveling up North to visit him and his wife.

Post Visit week I will be meeting several people in the community of Tchekpo, kind of get a lay of the land, and begin to make lists of things that I’ll need for my house when I move in permanently in August. I think just being on my own for a week and figuring out how and what to eat will be a challenge in itself. I am both excited and apprehensive about going to my village to see where and how I’ll be living for the next two years. I’m also looking forward to meeting my homologue (village counterpart) A good and invested village counterpart makes a huge difference in what you can accomplish. This person should end up being your best friend the next two years.

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