Thursday, May 2, 2013

premier may

Yesterday was Premier May.  This is probably the second largest fete in Togo after new years. the fete for 27th April, Independence Day, is seen more as a functionare (white collar) holiday.  Premier May is for everyone- especially workers, ie farmers.  Basically, everyone hangs out, eats, and drink,s and are merry.  This is how my day went:
Woke up to drizzle at 730
Discovered one of my cats had knocked off, and broken, one of my shot glasses during the night.  I suspect Nighan
Took my bottle of cheap brandy outside, Petite declared that “il faut jour” so we did shots
Other people came wandering over during their pre-breakfast fete prominade.  More shots for them.
Kodjo came over for shots, and I sent apple vodka to Momma John/Joseph
Petite and I went looking for a chicken cause there was a fiasco with the chickens I bought.  We found one.  The fete could continue
Tchakpa was drunk
I had Adji roast me some peanuts for brunch
Some other stuff happened and I retired to my house to watch an episode of the Walking Dead
About 1300 lunch was ready.  Petite and I ate fufu and chicken.  David wandered over and tried to stick his hand in my fufu.  After lunch, we had brandy to degrease our throats
Food coma. Naptime.
About 1600 Petite and I went over to Kodjos for rice/chicken/wagash. 
1730 Kadar came to bring me into Kouka for beers.  All the bars were packed and there were dance parties in the streets
2000 Kadar’s garcon, Koutchala, took me home 
2030 Petite and I went back over to Kodjos for roast chicken and apple vodka.  I supplied both of them
2130.  Bedtime.  It was really cold and wonderful

Ntido has decided to move on with her life.  She came up to me a couple weeks ago and said that she wants to become an apprentice hairdresser in Kouka.  Apprenticeships (is that the correct word? english is hard) are how a lot of kids here who do not finish school, and who want to escape the farm, find work.  Dressmakers, mechanics, drivers, hair dressers, etc.  Its also a more flexible option for girls who have babies.  Ntido says that school does not work for her, she doesn’t want to be a farmer/housewife, and she wants to start her own life.  She came to me and asked if I could help her pay her apprentice fee—80 mille—and otherwise help her out.  So I have been making inquiries with Kadar’s help.  An apprentice signs on with a patron for a period of time—1-3 years depending.  At the end of the apprenticeship, the patron administers an exam.  If the apprentice passes the test, then she can go start her own business and take on her own apprentices. 
Ntido’s parents think this is a good idea.  Neither Petite nor my host mom want her to stay at the house and farm.  They want her to do something with her life since school didn’t work out.  Its kind of interesting to see the similarity between my host and actual parents in how they want their children to do something with their lives.  It was kind of funny that Ntido came to talk to me about her idea before she approached Petite about it.  I think that she was lining up her support in case her dad was not enthusiastic about the idea.  

It Finally rained Tuesday night.  Some storms passed us by that afternoon and everyone was depressed.  I woke up twice Tuesday night stewing in the miasma of my own body heat and sweat.  I slept inside because I saw lightening on the horizon as I went to bed.  Each time I woke up I looked anxiously at the horizon to see if the lightening was still there.  The storms finally arrived at about 0100.  And lasted until about 900 the next morning.  It was awesome.   

I still find it interesting how, after a rain, the air clears up and the mountains to the south of me get really distinct on the horizon and seem a lot closer. 

Apparently, "April is the cruelest month" holds true for Peace Corps this year.  Two PCVs-- one in Ghana and one in Uganda-- died last week.  They gave their lives for their country, and also in the service of mankind.   If it works, check out this link.

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