Happy Valentine’s Day! I hope you all take time out of your day to tell someone you love them. Today I am missing all of you. I am not particularly in the mood to write a lot, but I do want to give you a quick update.
The English club is going really well, I have scheduled a match for the girl’s soccer team for next weekend and the girls are excited for that, I have continued with Environmental education courses at the CEG along with “life skills” courses that touch on subjects ranging from the importance of washing your hands to gender roles in village. In addition I have been furiously advocating for the latrines at the CEG to be emptied and seriously renovated (they have gone unused and full for about 10 years). It has been a little frustrating, after ordering a truck to come and empty the latrines, we found out that it was impossible to empty because of various objects that have been thrown down there and the fact that all the waste has congealed and, according to the workers is «comme les roches» like rock. So now we have asked a team of manual labors to come and empty the latrines by hand during the night. Once that is finished we have to renovate the cement structure and add a tin roof. After all of that, I would like to couple the newly finished latrines with training sessions for the students on the importance of cleanliness and latrine use. Anyway, it has been exhausting and the work is far from finished. A commonly used phrase here in Togo «du courage» loosely translates to "have courage," sums up nicely what I am feeling at the moment.
Anyways other than that I am trying to stay healthy and sane in the heat. Recently, I have had a few more health problems and have felt homesick more than usual. I hope that my motivation and positive attitude about the village work sticks and that I can accomplish some good in Datcha during my two years (some days I seriously doubt this).
On another note, Barack Obama’s inauguration speech was sent to me here in Togo- transcript and audio (thanks Dad and Laura) and I was touched by a few particular excerpts that I agree with and feel compelled to share with you.
“To the people of poor nation, we pledge to work alongside you to make your farms flourish and let clean waters flow; to nourish starved bodies and feed hungry minds. And to those nations like ours that enjoy relative plenty, we say we can no longer afford indifference to suffering outside our borders; nor can we consume the world’s resources without regard to effect. For the world has changed, and we must change with it.”
I particularly like this one and feel it speaks to me, what I believe in, and my motivation for doing Peace Corps thus I will close this brief update with it…:
“What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility- a recognition, on the part of every American, that we have duties to ourselves, our nation, and the world, duties that we do not grudgingly accept but rather seize gladly, firm in the knowledge that there is nothing so satisfying to the spirit, so defining of our character, than giving our all to a difficult task.”