Monday, March 14, 2011

Nigarmi ate a spider!

Nigarmi caught and ate two big spiders the other night. Finally. I was so proud of him despite the fact that one of the spiders only had 5 legs due to other close encounters. These spiders are big, but they lay flat on my walls, only come out at night, and run like hell. Nigarmi usually gets one pounce, then they are gone.

Since the last time I wrote, I think, its rained like 3 times in Nampoch. Legit thunderstorms. They are awesome. The rain is dirty from all the dust in the air, but it’s still awesome.

Speaking of water, my cartier has a serious water problem. The local pump broke last week, so 475 have to drink muddy river water. It takes my host sister like 3 hours to come back with a basin full. My host dad talked to the chief so that I can get water from his cartier’s pump. The rain has been fortuitous.

What is a cartier? The english translation I think is “quarter.” A more accurate description might be “clan,” although a “cartier” is an administrative distinction now. A cartier is composed of something like 6 families. 2 cartiers makes a village. 12, I think, villages makes a canton. 10 or so cantons make a prefecture. I can’t remember how many prefectures there are in the region of Kara. Nampoch, for example, has 3 cartiers, and is the seat for the canton of Nampoch, which has 18 villages. My village chief is also the chef du canton. I just read yesterday that the Konkumba clans historically don’t get along well together, so that’s why my cartier is out of water even though there are 2 other pumps in Nampoch. I think.

My body is covered in heat rash. Alisha and I got so tired of being hot that we sprung for a hotel room with A/C in Kara for the night. It is really weird to not sweat.

After further reflection, I have decided to amend my food request. You may also send me snack food. I think this is the appropriate term. Like those packets of cheese and crackers. Basically, if it fits in a box, is sealed well, and contains sufficient preservatives to make it to Africa, I will bless you upon its arrival. Chocolate, unless it is in the form of peanut M&Ms does Not work well. Sadly.

It came to my attention that some of you, my dear readers, may not have my address. Therefore, here it is:

Daniel Goshorn-Maroney PVC

Corps de la Paix

B.P. 12

Guerin-Kouka, Togo, West Africa

In reality, if you put my name and Guerin-Kouka Togo on a package, I will likely get it. The people at the poste know me.

For those of you who are interested, I am engaged, mostly on the discussion/planning level, in the following projects in Nampoch: poultry elevàge, rabbit elevàge, bee-keeping, perma-gardens, and tree nurseries. We actually have 2 rabbits, compliments of a friend of mine who has a big rabbit elevàge project going in his village. I hope that some of my avocado trees have sprouted by the time I get back home—they don’t do well this far north so I am not hopeful

One of my CHAP colleagues (the community health sector), started a trash collection project in Guerin-Kouka, so I have been helping out with that. This Saturday I am supposed to go around with the crew and collect money.

Avocados have finally made it this far north! I bought some for my host family the last time I was in Kara. Then I found out that even though something grows in Togo doesn’t mean that all Togolese know what it is. It just goes to show the difference between the north and south—and also how remote my area is . . .

Mangos are just starting to ripen . . . .

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