Saturday, July 20, 2013
It's been a long and adventure-filled, rocky 6 years since my last posts from Togo. I've had several requests to recommence my blogging, and I've finally decided that it's time. This blog helped me keep sane the last time around, and I'm at a point in my Summer work and travels that it seems like a good idea. Facebook just isn't fulfilling enough. My journal mostly sits alone pressing alpian flowers in my room. Skype is great for personal connections. But I urge to write, and I said that I would start again this Summer...so here goes. I will also post some photos as I go along.
I just returned from our 2 night "leisurely" vacation in between sessions here at the American School in Switzerland. And i've got to say, I love my Appalachian Mountains and Skyline Drive, but they've got nothing next to the drive along the mountain passes, including historic Gotthard to Interlaken and Lauerbrunnen, where 16 of us and my friend Livia went for our hiking, eating, dancing adventure. We had a "pretend" wedding and bachelorette party that got the party going at the Base jumper's pub in Lauterbrunnen.... Followed by an incredible day of alpine hiking, picnicing, local cheese tasting and waterfall adventures. (Pictures to come).
I'm running off to a meeting, but this has been fun and I plan on keeping it up.
Much love, peace and understanding to all.
Tuesday, June 26, 2007
Lomé, 07th June 2007
To the attention of all the donors for the two motors’ purchase
Object: Thank you letter
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I hereby come in the name of the Board of Commission of MICROFUND, its staff, and in my own name to address you my sincere congratulations for the gift of the two motors you have offered to our institution during the mission of Dalia in our structure. We are deeply and positively grateful to you. This action shows once again the special and particular interest you have always testified to MICROFUND and more, your sensibility to the painful of our field agents in their daily movements. We are very thankful and promise to use them suitably.
May God bless and cover you with all his grace.
Hoping that many other actions will follow, we would like you please to consider our perfect congratulations and satisfactions.
Joseph Kossi AKOGO
Lomé, le 07 juin 2007
A tous les donateurs pour l’achat des deux motos
Objet : Lettre de remerciement
Je viens par la présente au nom du Conseil d’Administration de MICROFUND, de son personnel et en mon nom personnel vous adresser nos sincères remerciements pour le don des deux motos que vous avez offerts à notre institution lors de la mission de Dalia dans notre structure. Ce geste nous a profondément et positivement marqué. Ceci montre l’intérêt particulier que vous manifestez à MICROFUND et surtout votre sensibilité à la pénibilité dans le déplacement de nos agents de terrain. Nous vous restons très reconnaissants et vous promettons un bon usage. Que Dieu vous le rende au centuple.
Tout en espérant que d’autres gestes lui suivront, je vous prie de croire, Messieurs/Mesdames, en l’assurance de notre parfaite considération.
Joseph Kossi AKOGO
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
29 May 2007
So this is it. My last few hours in Togo. Last night they held a going away party for me with musicians and dancers and the gift exchange. At first I thought they weren't that excited about the 2 motorcycles, but this morning I realized that they were basically dumbfounded. They couldn't believe what had just happened. Joseph said that it was the first time that they had ever received such a gift, and couldn't even find the words to thank the people who had made it happen.
He said they will write a small letter of thank you, but it might not be ready before I leave. So I am signing out for now with pictures of last night's reception and of this morning with some of the staff around the two bikes.
Thank you so much for following my blog, and especially to those who contributed to this much appreciated present. I can guarantee that it will be put to excellent use in visiting the borrowers who are out in the small towns that no one else is reaching.
I'm not usually much of a writer, but this has been a great way to both remember what's happened here and to let others follow along. I hope you've enjoyed it.
Friday, May 25, 2007
22 May 2007
Today was when it really just hit me. This work being done by Microfund is not only important, but indispensable. As the manager of the whole
Well, so that’s it. I want to do anything possible to help Microfund expand their services, especially since it seems that the larger MFI’s in the country don’t really try to reach out to the poor villages the way Microfund does (or when they do it’s to try to take away the members who have already been mobilized and formed groups to join Microfund…but it rarely works and when they do leave they tend to come back (according to Joseph and Edmond). I hope this isn’t really the case, but it’s very likely. This is such tough work that I can see how programs with lots of money and supporters wouldn’t want to bother…
I’ve written so much I won’t go into full length about the handicapped woman I was finally able to meet yesterday (after hearing her praise several times from Joseph). She was really so touching. She’s been handicapped since she was born and was left by her husband because of it after they’d had 4 children together. It still hurt so much that she didn’t want to talk about it. She used to survive solely on presents given to her by family members. Slowly she would save some of that until she could buy and sell some candy and cigarettes. With Microfund she has now gotten to the place where she has a large shop in what used to be her mother’s home where she and her family now live. She also cares for her brother’s children. She has people go to the markets for her to purchase products for the shop and she works such long hours that she was recently very ill and the nurse told her she needs to get more rest and move around (she currently has no wheelchair and is in desperate need of one…. I’m already looking into the price of one here.) Her dream is to buy land and build homes for her children so that one day they will be able to say that their mother was handicapped but she was able to leave them that inheritance.
I think that says it all.
Saturday, May 19, 2007
It’s been looking like rain the past few days, but instead of being relieved, we’ve had more sun and very humid heat since yesterday. Yesterday Joseph drove me to Tsevie, a nearby city, to visit their office and clients there. It was such a small town compared to
Going back to the market, you can see the picture here. Since it’s a smaller city the main market day is only on Fridays and so it was filled with merchants and customers from the city and the surrounding areas. There were tons of dried chilies, but we went through quickly and people were not too happy about the camera, so I didn’t get many shots in.
I did get a picture of some of Microfund’s clients (non-Kiva clients) and the picture here is of a client who sells fried fish at the market. I also really liked the house where their office is located here, and apparently the rent is less than $100 a month….
Today, since Joseph’s car is having problems, we didn’t go to the north, but rather closer by to the East to visit a phosphorous mine. The best part was the drive out there with great greenery and
small villages all along. We tried to buy palm wine on the side of the road, but after testing it decided it wasn’t very good (sometimes they mix it with water and sugar). When we got to the mine, after tracking down the guy who would give us permission to go in, we saw the impressive excavation that’s also ruining the land there. The manager of the site who took us in said they could go on mining there for another 20 years.
Just a few days left. I’m happy to be going home, but I know I’ll miss it (though not the heat). Next week I’ll be traveling some more and next weekend we are definitely going to visit the mountains in the North either in the car or in a taxi (I’m really excited).
Friday, May 18, 2007
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Today is another holiday, the Ascension, so the office is closed. So I'm working from the house. I also couldn’t go out much yesterday because
I’m here in the picture with her, and you can also check out my first day wearing the Togolese outfit that the mom gave me. It’s very comfortable for the weather here, and I think it looks pretty nice. I got some compliments, some of them more mocking than anything, but I was happy.
Because of the holiday today, our plans have changed and I won’t be going to Aneho until next week, staying there Monday through Wednesday. Tomorrow I will hopefully go to Tsevie, not too far away, to visit their branch there and some clients. This is not fully confirmed yet, though. Apparently they have good palm wine there, and in Aneho there are plenty of coconuts. I got to drink/eat my first one here yesterday. YUMMY (and refreshing)!
Anyway, I’m working on trying to retrieve all of the necessary funds in time to buy the bikes early next week, but there are complications with my travel changes, so it might not happen until the end of the week. I don’t have much time left to work here because there’s another holiday the Monday after next and then I leave on that Tuesday. Time really is flying by now.
That’s all for now. Please donate to the motorcycle fund if you haven’t already. And thanks for reading. Please leave comments so I know who’s reading along and don’t fell like I’m talking to myself.