Hello from Lomé!

14 06 2011

By Kathleen Ridgeway

Today I am finally sitting down at one of Lomé’s many internet cafès to give my first update on life in Togo! The first few days have been really great. Saturday  was the day that I landed in Togo along with the two other Duke students who will be doing research projects in a village near Farendé. We were all pretty jet-lagged from the lengthly flight and the time difference, but we managed to keep our eyes open long enough to tour through the Grande Marché, which is a vast open-air market in the middle of Lomé. It was incredibly crowded with both vendors and pedestrians – probably the highlight of the tour was seeing a woman walking down the street balancing an open basket of live chickens on her head! Sunday we got up at six in the morning to go running with the students at the Université de Lomé (something they do every Saturday), but we just missed them! Probably for the better, seeing as the students ended up running 15 km (around nine miles!) at a pretty quick pace. It would have been a great experience, though; the students run along with drummers and they all sing traditional songs as they run through the streets. Later in the day, we attended a Pentecostal service at a local church, which was definitely an experience! The majority of the service was comprised of incredibly joyful singing and dancing, which was totally different from any religious service I had experienced before but was a truly amazing experience. The pastor of the church was really glad to have us, and one of the congregation members insisted that we joined in the dancing! Talk about a warm welcome. Monday was sunny, so we decided to go to one of Lomé’s gorgeous beaches. We drove West a little ways, almost to the border with Benin, to reach La Plage Cristal (Crystal Beach). As you can see by the large ship in the right-hand side of the photo, La Plage Cristal is located right next to Lomé’s enormous port. Apparently it is one of the largest ports in West Africa, and generates the majority of the country’s income.  The water was fantastic, and we played some great beach soccer with locals! I’ve got to go; my time on the computer is about to run out. Till next week!

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One response

16 06 2011
leahand

I have loved reading your blog so far Kathleen!! Love you so much and I can’t wait to keep reading about your experiences!

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