Togo Travel Stories, Page 12

Togo on Wing and a Prayer

Togo on Wing and a Prayer
Lome, Togo West Africa
Thursday, July 12, 2007

What I hope exist, it there a world outside of Togo? It took two hours to publish the video of the ceremony of Evala; I was trying to write the techie in India… he was not online. I wanted to know.

Did this work?

I purchased a small jar of pickles for 980 CFA or about two US Dollars



I gave a pickle to a Togolese person, the person looked at the pickle, held it, finally I prodded the person to eat it, and there was a grimace on her face. I could see in her eyes saying,
- This is not what I eat. -

This is what a person does the first time in their life they eat a pickle.

To buy a jar of pickles here in Togo requires that a person takes one full days pay and purchase one jar. I am not saying the do not eat pickles, or that pickles are not grown in Togo, I am not sure, I do not see many grown here. They eat Bananas, Mango, Beef, Eggs, Oranges and Beans, not everyone in the world gets to eat a Mango.



The package of seeds to grow pickles would require he average farm person to work one to two days to buy the package of seeds, then hope they grow, however they may have never ate a pickle.

There are simple things on the planet, Togo and all of West African people adapt quickly and learn about what enters their personal space. However, sometimes I feel like I am in a vacuum. I drove this new motorbike down the road and I saw a beautiful vista.



I knew I was on top of a hill, but all I can see is the road and the concrete walls of my room, I know there is a country of Togo outside, however not easy to see, more of the country is more in my imagination than in my view. I drove down this road and found this picture; it was at the end of a long rocky stretch of rough road, easy to travel going slow and not very far from the center of the city of Atakpame, Togo. In the USA or Europe this would be the most expensive piece of real estate in the city, however here is a farm area at the end of lot of cheap huts. The value of ocean beachfront land is about zero, until someone wants it.

The cost to travel from the central city to this view by a motorcycle taxi round trip is one-dollar US. To walk to the end of the road and see this view would take about one half hour to one hour to walk to the view.

IF I knew it existed, I did not know this view was here.

I know I live in an information vacuum, I had no idea what youtube.com was and really had no desire to learn, I knew I would have to wait and wait and hope and maybe something would work, but really I was not sure, I published a video of Togo and will soon publish some more, however I am never sure what exist outside this computer, there may be a world, but to me, there is a room with four walls made of concrete, that is real and all the other noise is just a dream, not very real, just a dream.

I am told the video works, but I publish so much information on a wing and a prayer, hoping what I throw out to the world can be seen, I do not know if my mother was able to see this video, maybe she did not understand how to view it, I am hope my mother and father saw the video.

3:40 AM, the morning Islamic prayer has started, and I can hear a rather pleasant call to prayer in the distant. I am very happy this very loud and over-bearing loud speak system is very far from my room.

A person in Africa does not need to eat a pickle.
I do not need to know down that one read road is a nice view of the mountains.
I do not need to know the video published and it worked.

I need to eat and drink some water today, everyone I am near, the biggest majority I see here in Togo are eating well and drinking water.

I sometimes just feel like it would be nice to show more of the shiny parts of life to the Togo people, maybe allow them to eat and grow more pickles.

An isolated person living in a vacuum does not want to live in a vacuum, they do not know they live in a vacuum and they do not care. The are in marvel about a few things and can only fantasize about what is this and that.

I went to a big party the other day in Kara, they call it Evala, and they were drinking this local brew called Chuckachoo and all having a great time. One man took out his cell phone and made a video of me, making a video of him. There are many perspectives and a person can tell lies, misrepresent the truth.

The world is becoming smaller, Togo is a clean and modern country, has very little extra cash, but has an over-abundance of available land, there are many wide-open spaces.

I am sure people sit around feeling sorry or sad for people in Africa, I have seen both worlds, I cannot imagine sitting in the back of some house, surrounded by fifty thousand houses, and by 50,000 cars, and by 50,000 commercials. It is hard to eat a pickle, but I can see quite clearly.

People do not need much in life; however, I do think the world should share opportunity. I do not want people to come here and tell them they are poor, this would make me angry, they are not poor, they just do not have a computer.

I do not think I have ever heard a person in West Africa say,
- I am too busy. -

Who is poor, the Togo people are rich, the have and overabundanc of leisure time, they are not too busy, and maybe they would feel sad for you when they see you work so hard.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pickled_cucumber
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cucumber

Togo on Wing and a Prayer


Video of Togo Ceremony of Evala

Togo Ceremony of Evala

The young men of Kabye Ethnic group dancing before they go wrestle to honor their families and friends to become adults and able to marry. This dance was July of 2007 in the region of Kara, Togo as filmed by Andy of HoboTraveler.com

http://www.youtube.com/HoboTraveler




Togo Ceremony of Evala


Intercultural Competence Understanding Good Fun

Intercultural Competence
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Good fun as the Brits say, I have been having good fun reading about a new combination of words I have discovered in the Wikipedia.org online Encyclopedia.

- Intercultural Competence -
- Emotional Competence -

I am thinking to myself, why do I feel that reading these pages is good fun?

I believe I am about a scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best, I would rate myself a 9 for Intercultural Competence.

Why?
I travel to places where other travelers avoid, then I leave alive with all my possessions not paying unfair tribute to the locals.

This is not a good subject for me to write about in a public forum as the best way to explain Intercultural Competence is to explain how a person behaves incompetent or prove they are incompetent. A great way to illicit hate mail…. Hehehe

With humor and a chuckle, I read the articles below in the Wiki and tried to separate wild opinions from good solid statements. The Wiki strives to verify, cite, reference and source the information in the Encyclopedia, and overall they do an excellent job of this, it is a profound interaction.

I chuckle and laugh, and I will keep my mouth closed.

I will say as instruction,
- Stay home, and if you disagree, then I again I will say, you need to stay home, then if disobey my advice, I will say, I hope you enjoy the travel. -

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Intercultural_competence
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emotional_competence
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Four_stages_of_competence

Intercultural Competence


Motorcycle Purchased in Togo

Motorcycle Purchased in Togo
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, July 10, 2007



125 CC Sanya, Electric Start, Four Cycle for 325,000 CFA and 50,000 CFA for Insurance and Plates, this is about 750-800 US dollars, and I should be able to resell it for about 450-500 or more after one year of use.

I am now the semi-proud owner of a 125 CC large chasis Sanya, made in China motorcycle. It was an internal fight, a struggle up to the moment I rode away form the shop, should I or shouldn’t I buy this motorcycle. In the end, I think I am safer to drive the motorcyle myself on roads with very few cars. West Africa has what I would say is very light traffic, except in largest city per country.

I feel that a person who knows a road is a better driver than a person who does not know the road. However, these are not difficult to drive roads.

I must use a motorcycle, I have no choice, I must either take a Motorcycle Taxi or I must drive my own motorcycle. If I thought I would stop taking motorcycle taxis or that was even remotely possible in Togo, I would have abandoned the idea of buying a motorcyle.

I just returned from an afternoon drive around the city, I feel confident now in my decision, I was not in one too-close-to-the-other-motorcyle moment the whole time I was gone. Normally, what is difficult for me to handle of their driving is they will not allow more than the width of a persons distance when they pass either a person walking or another motorcycle. This is not enough allowance for human error. If a person sways or jumped into the road, there would be an accident. When I driver I allot adequate space between me and the othere people walking or driving to allow time to stop.

I feel safer now, I do hope I am not delusional.

I drove up many a small lanes, drove way up the hills of Atakpame, and around in small neighborhoods. I saw in one hour more small unique area then I knew existed, they were just annoyingly too far of a walk to explore before. I am thinking this is my new exploring the world friend. A motorcyle will go many remote places and allow me to take more photos of my world.

Motorcycle Purchased in Togo


Ok Coke No Problem Hello

Ok Coke No Problem Hello
Tuesday, July 10, 2007

If I do not chicken out, I will buy a Sanya Motorcycle today in Atakpame, Togo. This may be the most painless purchase on the planet of a vehicle, and I will only know after I am finished. I have to be brave and ignore the Togo peoples advice, or accept may be more correct. Whatever, I do, I should stop thinking, I do not want to understand.

They keep saying to me,
“No Problem!”

“Pas Probleme” in the Togo French Language

Alex Garland in the book “The Beach” astutely does the travelers quandary followed by a proposition when he reflects that OK is the most popular term used on the planet, and then closely followed by Coke, as in Coca-Cola.

I am thinking,

Ok is First
Coke is Second
No Problem is Third
Moreover, strangely Hello is Fourth, or Hallo.

And I say strangely because as Taia, the American Volunteer girl keenly noticed the French Togo answer the telephone with a,
- Allo -

I listened to people in Thailand answer the phone and say something as if a Hallo, and here they do the same, a person would surmise in a consistent world the Togo people would say, Bonjour, and the Thailand people would say, Sawadee Kalp, however, nope, they say,
“Allo. -

There is the new culture of the mobile cell phone that has identified that you need to say hello when answering a mobile phone.

What I learn, when I have no reason to learn…

Ok
Coke
No Problem
Hello

The most common terms on the planet are above,

“No problem.”

This is the problem, there is no way a person can say no problem is third, there is a problem with saying there is no problem, because there really is no way to know, no problem is third, that is the problem.

No problem means, do not think about it, or you will write a sentence like the one above.

Reference “The Beach” by Alex Garland
http://elt.britcoun.org.pl/elt/d_beach.htm

Ok Coke No Problem Hello


Kabye Young Men and Women Travel to Ceremony of Evala in Togo

Kabye Young Men and Women Travel to Ceremony of Evala in Togo
Kara, Togo West Africa
Monday, July 9, 2007

Many young men and women of the Kabye Ethnic group are presently traveling to the Kara area of Togo. They will come from Togo, Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, etc to attend the Ceremony of Evala and shortly afterwards the Ceremony of Akpema. This is a week long festival and started I believe on July 7, 2007 and will run through Saturday July 14th.



The Young Kabye men dancing while waiting to wrestle in the Ceremony of Evala.

Sunday, I took about 80 Megs of video of the Ceremony of Evala in a villages close to Kara, Togo. Now, I have some excellent vides clips, and I need to find a way to upload from 2 meg to 20 meg files to the internet without them breaking here in Togo, I will go to Lome, the capital soon and try so I can show the films.

This Wrestling and huge party will last through next Saturday, however anyone going should double-check this information.

This is not a simple story, and is not just one story, I am in the process of trying to mesh this in my mind, and afterwards I hope to explain in detail. Here below is an explanation in French of four related ceremonies as written by a Kabye girl in French on an English keyboard.

This is going to take a lot of work to translate, then probably re-translate to English as the Kabye girl continues to explain and to clarify, however not push whereby my Kabye friend would say words she does know.

Chez Moi - Brune

Ceremonie de evala
Chaque annee dans la region la la kara se deroulent les ceremonie de evala .cette ceremonie permet au jeune garcon de d’emboiter les pas des adultes c’est a dire il est libre d'engager une femme dans son foyer.quelque jours avent la lutte sur le terrain .le chien est l’animal special pour les ceremonie.la famille du garcon lui paie un gros chien pour les ceremonie.apres les ceremonie a la maison avec les encetre, le jour de la lutte arrive et toute la famille du garcon on espoir que leur garcon va terrasser son adersaire dans le cas contraire la honte revient a famille.cette ceremonie se deroule par des danses tradditionelle.

Ceremonie de akpema dans la
Region de la kara cette ceremonie permet a la fille de se marier c’est a dire elle est mature elle est adulte ,cela ouvre la porte au mariage. En effet ce jour elle sorte toute nu elle laisse les fesses et les poils et tout le monde regarde.les fille qui ont des poils se glorifie et leur famille sont content.la raison meme de la ceremonie est qu’on veut savoir si cette fille qui assiste a la ceremonie a bien garder sa virginiter c’est a dire vierge.il y a un lieu ou tout le monde ne va pas et c’est a ce lieu qu’on vera si reelement la fille est vierge.cela se emarque par une force diabolique;c’est a dire sur le coup tu aura uneperte de sang qui coulera de ton vagin et va tacher le caillou sur lequel on at fait assoir.de la toute at famille aura un grand honte.c’est une grande insulte.de nos jour depui quelque annee les encetre des village on fermer cette partie du ceremonie parceque les fille consistent vite les garcon.les ceremonie continue chaque annee mais on arrive plus a ce lieu sacre.

Ceremonie de condona
Cette ceremonie se deroule dans la region de la kara chaque 5ans apres.c’est une etape de sagesse.apres avoir fait cette ceremonie cela te ouvre la porte a decider dans un conseil tu peut faire la compagnie des vieux.

Danse Habie
La danse habie c’est une danse de sorcelerie si tu n’est pas sorcier tu ou clervoyant tu ne peux pas participer a cette danse.ce jour dans la sorcerer un individual est capable de prandre la bouche d’un chien d’un porc d’un chat pour aller manger les greunouils pouri ;les serpents. apres la danse il ramenne la bouche du chien et il reprend sa pouche.le meme jour la femme sterile est capable de metre au monde et dans l’immediat avale cet enfant.

Kabye Young Men and Women Travel to Ceremony of Evala in Togo


Atakpame to Kara Togo

Atakpame to Kara Togo
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Saturday, July 7, 2007

I am going to Kara, Togo tomorrow, I will leave Atakpame, Togo very early, just as the sun rises, I believe this time is best time to catch public transportation in West Africa.



I was asked a reasonable question yesterday while chatting on yahoo messenger with a friend,
- What are you going to see there? -

I thought to myself,
- What a stupid questions. -

Then I realized, this is not a stupid question, this is a normal question, I am the one who is being little stupid. An empathy lapse, as I am a traveler, I cannot for the life of me figure a good reason to go anywhere anymore, other than I go, just seems like the right thing to do, not sure why though. Therefore why would I be crazy to waste my time thinking about why I am going.

I could not walk by an open door with out taking a peek inside, a long time ago in Antigua, Guatemala a girl from France, said,
- We travel until we know why we travel. -

I still do not know why I travel, I can give you thousands of reasons to travel and why not to travel, but to just say,
- I travel because of this reason…. X, that is a difficult question. -

Closest answer I can say is,
- I have nothing better to do. -

I have smelled a fight, boxing they say in French, however the word is lutte or wrestling, I was told for a week or something called Evala will occur. I do not want to spoil the boxing so I will stop thinking and get a real first impression and not a I-expected-to-see this impression, nothing like ruining a first impresion than to run it through a filter of guidebooks, website and gossip. I think the best tourist attractions are those you stumble upon by accident.
http://fr.wikipedia.org/wiki/Evala

A good reason to go for long walks.

Atakpame to Kara Togo


Which Comes First Hotel or Destination

Which Comes First Hotel or Destination
Lome, Togo West Africa
Saturday, July 7, 2007

Which is more important, the hotel or the neighborhood where the hotel is located? I think a resort means, you do not leave could be on Mars.

We are making this horribly large website called


A staggering amount of numbers of pages, links, and combinations. 8,000,000 cities times 3 hotels per cities times 18 links per hotel time about 20 cells is 8,640,000,000. Eight Billion some things to deal with, and really about 10 time that.

One small mistake and it will spin off into never never land. As I make the site, I think about what to focus on sometime more clearly.

Ok, let us pretend or make the proposition that the words Travel Destination were replaced by the word
- Neighborhood -

Which comes first, do you choose a hotel or a neighborhood? I think when you choose a home, you choose the neighborhood first. When we travel, we hope we choose the destination first, however if you think of the destination as the same as neighborhood you may say to yourself,
- I do not want to live in this neighborhood. -
- I do not want to live in this hotel because it is in a bad neighborhood. -

I choose the Travel Destination and I do not care about a Hotel there.
After I choose a Destination, then I choose a neighborhood.
I then choose a Hotel.

I was walking around with the two American wanna volunteer from the USA and I was explaining my neighborhood. I almost never will move out of a good neighborhood. And I am 100 positive rotten hotels are sometime great because I had fun in the hotel.

It is easy to describe a hotel, how do we describe the neighborhood of the hotel, which to me is more important than the hotel. I am defining the mission which will probably never be explained in the site.

The guidebooks of West Africa have this annoying habit of point at hotel that require a car and makes me feel like I am living in a resort. Too far from Africa to want to leave and go visit the travel destination. The truth is they are not recommending hotels they are recommending parking lots and restaurants that has very little to do with Africa, but has a lot about being at home.

Which Comes First Hotel or Destination