Bon soir, everyone! Greetings from Lomé, the capital of Togo! We arrived here at approximately 5:30pm, which is 1:30pm in the States. (That’s what I call America now!)
Our journey from Philadelphia to Lomé was arduous but successful. Each of the 48 of us made it in one piece, and so did all of our luggage! Overall, we spent about 30 hours travelling, which wasn’t so bad considering Air Brussels was pretty nice and the food was good, too.
My Wifi connection won’t currently let me post pictures, but here’s what the caption would be: Here we are boarding a bus from Philadelphia to New York before boarding a plane from New York to Brussels before boarding a plane from Brussels to Accra before flying to Togo
The only bad thing that happened on the trip was a suitcase fell out of the carry-on compartment and right onto my friend CJ’s head. He is okay, although a little shaken up. He said he wasn’t upset because in some cultures, dropping a suitcase on someone’s head is actually polite. I’m pretty sure that’s false, but I’m trying to be less judgmental, so I’ll believe CJ on this one.
Because Peace Corps and Togo have such a long and prosperous history (the first Volunteers in Togo served in 1962, only one year after the creation of the Peace Corps), our adventure through customs was easy and actually enjoyable! We were shepherded into a waiting room for foreign ministers, complete with air conditioning, electricity, and nice bathrooms. The airport employees brought us our luggage, and the Peace Corps staff handled the rest. How’s that for a warm welcome!
We had our first West African meal tonight, and it set our future expectations REALLY high. We ate fried plantains, fried yams, chicken and beef skewers, rice with super spicy sauces, pizza, and grilled sausage. It was AMAZING!!! (I have pictures of this too. I’ll post them when I get a stronger Wifi connection–aka in 27 months)
Our Peace Corps Medical Officers have been encouraging us to drink a ton of water and frequently put on insect repellent. We also started our first dose of the anti-malarial medication Doxycycline. I hear that there are some side effects, but because the Wifi here won’t let me surf the web, I’m not sure what they are. I believe the side effects are weight loss, whiter teeth, and increased confidence.
Currently, we are staying at one of the nicer hotels in Lomé. It has air conditioning in some rooms and electricity/outlets in all. Our room is pretty hot, but the beds are comfortable and we’re exhausted, so sleeping won’t be an issue.
Tomorrow we start our intensive training days! For the next three months, we’ll be training from ~6:30am-8pm each day. I’m pretty nervous, but if training is anything like the adventure so far, it’s going to be great!