Saturday, November 13, 2010

Gback in Gbatopé

So I made two presentations this week, one teaching people Italian and another detailing a huge reforestation project that one of our trainers wants to start in my region. I also took a French test and wrote a short speech in Mina that I will be giving at our swearing in ceremony in less than a week when I become a volunteer! My host parents have bought me a sweet outfit made from African cloth called pagne and I plan to sport it at the ceremony and during the dancing that will follow.

Things are awesome in Togo. I play all kinds of made up games with my awesome 2 year old host brother Godwin who takes a shower in a bucket. There isnt a lot of rain these days so I have been taking showers with about half the water I was at the beginning. It is super hot at night and I cant get to sleep cause I sweat so much under my mosquito net but I think I will begin sleeping on the floor with the spiders and cockroaches to at least cool off. We have no electricity in gbatope, so we are going to light some candles or lanterns tonight and sing songs or play musical chairs or something.

PLEASE send me mail! My address is on my blog. Even if it is just a postcard with 'Ben, I know you exist' I will super appreciate it and respond to you immediately. Please! Miss you all, hope all is well overseas.

Ciao a tutti! Sto per devenire volontario fra meno d'una settimana! Fa troppo caldo qui e é difficile per me a dormire la notte. Questa settimana ho fatto una presentazione sulla lingua italiana per i miei amici e insegnanti! Loro sono molto interessato ma io sto dimenticando la lingua. Per favore, mi scrivete qualche lettera. Il mio indirizzo é sul mio blog. Ciao!

Saturday, November 6, 2010

The Trainee

Bonjour tout le monde! I am entering the 8th week of training here in Togo and I'm beginning to feel a little more prepared for the next two years. Yesterday we learned how to make improved cook stoves out of clay, sand, and dried grass followed by a session on the ethnodiversity of Togo. There are over 50 main ethnic groups in this tiny country and hundreds of subethnicities. The main ethnic group at my post in Anfoin is Mina, and the language is very close to Ewe but just different enough to make things frustrating. Since I am leaving soon, I treated my host family in Gbatope to breakfast yesterday: french toast, which was still incredibly easy even though I cooked it over a wood fire in a mud hut. My little 2 year old host brother Godwin ate it up real fast and gave some to his friend, but when I tried to give some to his friend he got scared of me and ran away. Its so easy to scare kids here not trying because many of them have never seen a white person before.

I am looking forward to our swearing in ceremony and to becoming a real volunteer. I have so many plans for projects to help with or start at my post: permagarden and composting, a tree nursery to begin a regional reforestation project, doing agroforestry in the field that my groupment has recently acquired, helping to install a well in a nearby town where the water is 54 meters underground, and souping up my two small rooms with a lippico and a gas stove. Let's hope this all happens! I'm really looking forward to cooking for myself with vegetables I grow, but it's hard to do as one person with a wood stove. Tonight I am going to be spending some quality time with the other volunteers before preparing for a presentation on compost next week. Pretty much everything is in French now, and I feel like I've made some progress in these weeks on talking faster. My grammar could still use some polishing and my American/African accent is not too romantic, but I'm working on it. Write me! I miss you all a lot!

Amici, adesso ho passato otto settimane in Togo! Sto per finire la formazione fra 2 settimane e apre saro' volentario davvero! Maintenant mi sto divertendo molto con gli altri volentieri, e questa sera guarderemo un video insieme a Tsevie dove c'è l'electricità. Africa è tres differente, ma mi sto abituando un po. Tutte le macchine sono in mal condizione, e come in Italia la gente va spesso in moto (ma le moto sono anche in mal condizione). In Italia abbiamo l'olio d'olivo, ma ici usiamo piu spesso l'olio di palma e l'olio d'olivo è troppo costoso a comprare. Non ho ancora cucinato per se stesso ma quando comincio il mio servizio à Anfoin, la mia posta futura, spero di cucinare molto e di avere un giardino con le tomate e il basilico! Oh pesto, oh pizza, oh lasagna! Ricodatevi i giorni quando ho cucinato gli gnocchi per tutti voi! Non piu :( Ma ici il cibo è anche buono ma solo differente. Mon indirizzo è scritto sul mio blog: per favore mi scrivete delle lettere e io faro una risposta perchè vorrei continuare di praticare l'italiano. Mi manca la lingua di Dante! Alla prossima!