Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Wrapping up Life in Togo

Let's go back a bit to the weekend and work our way from there.

Friday, the Embassy contingent was invited to the Ambassador's residence for a Hail and Farewell Wine and Cheese party. Lots of Hails (all the new arrivals from the past 6 months), lots of farewells (all those leaving in the next month), plenty of wine, the only cheese involved the little personal comments each person was asked to give. We were part of the Farewell crew and as such, had to give a memory of our time here. The kids stayed home for the 2 hours we were gone. They love those nights, when they rule the house.
The following evening, most of the same folks were at the RSO's home to celebrate his recent wedding to a lovely lady from Chile. It was an enjoyable time with good food and balloons for the kids. Sunday we spent quietly at home.
Monday we received our visas for India (woohoo!), had Jennifer over for dinner and learned that we have a new family for the dog (woohoo again!). The vet came through for us. We'd hoped to adopt her out to someone in the Embassy community, less chance she'll end up as dinner somewhere, but no one came forward. The Ambassador's wife said she knew someone who was interested in taking Sable, but for breeding. Seeing as we just had her spayed a couple weeks ago, that was a little late. I wasn't keen on the idea of having her as a breeding animal anyway. There are enough pets without homes, and breeding is an exhausting endeavor. If the mommy doggy at Coco Beach is any indication of the level of care given to breeders, I'm doubly glad Sable is spayed. So we'd asked the vet to ask among his patients' owners, and a lady has asked to take her. He said they are "normal" people, with kids and a big yard.
Jennifer is the girl who came into the French classroom near the end of the school year to help out with the beginner students. Mine. Our kids adored her. What was really interesting though was getting her impressions on the French teacher. There's a tendency to think something is negative, and then have that image grow in your mind until that's all you see. The French teacher was one such thing, I was wondering if his image to us had become warped over time. After talking to Jennifer, it seems we didn't even know the half of what the kids put up with, and her included. She was truly a saint for going into the classroom even after she knew what he was like. I told her how the kids really liked M/W/F French when we was there, and dreaded the T/TH when she wasn't. I figured she had something else going on those days, when in fact we learned that she just couldn't bring herself to be in that room 5 days a week. After speaking with her, we're even more sure that the decision to leave was the best one for us.
Jennifer is living an interesting life here. She's waiting to move into a furnished apartment but has been delayed until the end of September. Until then, she's living in a sort of communal compound. Her home is a room, sans running water. She gets her water from a well, so that means no bathroom either. No fridge. No oven/stove. She cooks in the communal yard over a little propane cooker. She said that earlier in the year the electricity was off for 2 weeks as well, so she brought her mattress and mosquito net outside at night. She's living a more Peace Corps life than the Peace Corps do.
She's only been here 6 months and asked us what we did for fun. It's that sort of question that just makes us cringe a little. Obviously there are folks who find their niche. If you're into golf, there is a golf course here. If you like working out at the gym, you can surely get fit. If your passion is horses, there is a stable somewhere around the airport. And of course, if you get a thrill from hunting through markets, then Togo can meet that thrill. Jennifer is a marche' afficionado, but after 6 months, she's tired of it. We're not into golf, or horses, or gyms. I guess we could have made ourselves become interested. Perhaps we missed a perfect opportunity to delve fully into something that's never caught our interest before.
Today is a holiday, so we're all home again.
Tomorrow, we'll be cat sitting while someone's house gets fumigated. Cats are pretty self-reliant, so in the morning we're all going to MED to get our check-out check-ups and I'll have the nurse do the kids' school health forms at the same time. It's the last thing lacking from their enrollment packet, so then I have the fun job of scanning and e-mailing all 40-50 pages.
We've been busier the past couple weeks than we have been most of the past year. I guess this is typical but it's a little sad too. There are definitely things about Lome' I will miss and there's always that little nagging thought that we're giving up. But I know we're on to hopefully bigger and better things, for -everyone- in the family. And in an odd way I'm glad there are things we will miss. It means Togo has its good points, and I'm happy for that. We've made some good friends, and they we will truly miss.

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