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Togo Travel Stories, Page 7

Working Effectively in Africa

Working Effectively in Africa
Lome, Togo West Africa
Saturday, August 4, 2007

I like to solve problems, and here in Togo, West Africa I have many problems to solve if I wish. These problems are MY PROBLEMS, as a USA culture person in Togo; they are NOT PROBLEMS FOR TOGO PEOPLE.

What is effective, what is efficient in life?

Effective people produce result.
Efficient people do it faster.
Serendipitous work is both effective and efficient.

My mind keeps reliving my attempt to document the growing of Cacao or the Chocolate plants here in Kpalime, Togo. I could not find Cacao, however I found Palm Oil being processed

I failed to document Cacao, however, succeeded with Palm Oil.
Richard Trillo comment on the post,

“That's just a great bit of serendipity and readers of hobotraveler benefit either way.“

Thanks Richard.

I think this comment on the Blog has revealed serendipitously for me the only way to accomplish goals in West Africa. So a bit of serendipity helps me with a proposition of that maybe the best way to work in Africa is to work serendipitously.

I naturally work serendipitously, however to explain how I work is confusing, I have hundreds of projects; they are all in various steps of being completed. Some are on step one, others are on step three, others are going to soon be completed.


Ten Hypothetical projects rated at various levels of completion:

(Project 01) --- 01 02 03 04 05 06 07
(Project 02) --- 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09
(Project 03) --- 01 02
(Project 04) --- 01
(Project 05) --- 01 02 03 04 05 06
(Project 06) --- 01 02 03 04 05 06 07 08 09
(Project 07) ---
(Project 08) --- 01 02 03 04 05
(Project 09) --- 01 02 03 04 05 06 07
(Project 10) --- 01 02

I work on what is fun and easy today, I avoid work on projects until the somehow it become fun and easy. Normally what makes a project fun and easy, is I think of a new solution to one of the steps and I can proceed on one of the projects.

Togo or West Africa is a challenge, as is 80 percent of the planet because directly working on a project rarely succeeds. To continually tickle the progress of a project will one day allow the project to unfold. Therefore the art here it to continuously work on many projects, avoid any direct work, just say no, and wait, the one day Serendipitously the goal is accomplished.

I need to talk with Togo people for five minutes, prompt them to move, then leave and allow serendipitous progress, to talk more than five minutes is ineffective and inefficient.

Note, I make money by creating files, the more files, the more money I make, conditional on being indexed by Google.com.

Working Effectively in Africa

A Hobo with No Cell Phone Internet in Togo

A Hobo with No Cell Phone Internet in Togo
Lome, Togo West Africa
Saturday, August 4, 2007

Togocel in Togo effectively cut off GPRS Cellular Network Internet Access here for me August 1, 2007. The cost is now around 50 US dollars per hour or one dollar per minute.

GPRS is new in Togo and there was an experimental time whereby internet access was free to use. As best I understand and for sure, there is nothing clear, the free period has ended and now people in Togo need to pay. I have been trying to call Togocel to reaffirm what the present rates are; however, the contact person I know does not answer either calls or text messages.

I suppose to actually learn the prices I need to go to the office of Togocel and sit and wait. I am not going to the office of Togocel and wait three hours to learn the cost of Internet is 50 US dollars per hour; this is just not effective use of time.

I have internet access in Lome; I can go to the internet café as they open here in Lome and access the internet for about one dollar per hour. What I do not have is the ability to randomly search for answers to questions on the Wiki Encyclopedia or chat with people, I am now communicating asynchronously as Bill Gates says in his book The Road Ahead.

This may be more relaxing as now have no internet addiction.

A Hobo with No Cell Phone Internet in Togo


Lome, Togo West Africa
Friday, August 3, 2007


This is Africa.

If I can avoid temptation right now, I will just allow this day to pass, I am in Togo, West Africa and this is Africa.

I think Togo and Africa does their very best to do everything wrong, and after time you just gives up and leave.

I must wait for the answers to arrive.
Au demain


Togo and The Travel Dilemma

Togo and The Travel Dilemma
Lome, Togo West Africa
Friday, August 3, 2007

C'est l'Afrique

This is a phrase used in Togo, which means,
“This is Africa.”

I prefer to say,
“Welcome to Africa”
I try to say,
“Bienvenue l’Afrique”


I have been avoiding the computer now for about 24 hours; I have been avoiding thinking about Togo for 24 hours. I cannot find the correct words to explain how I feel about Togo today. Actually, all I am doing is thinking about Togo, there is so much confusion in my head, and I have no way of tossing out a thought without saying something confused.

I have been in class now for 10 years, I have studied the art of travel for 10 years, and I am experiencing a classic travel dilemma.

Definition of the Travel Dilemma defined by me, Andy.

Travel Dilemma:
I believe it necessary to choose from one, two or more unsatisfactory alternatives. None of the options is good; any path I take has problems and the more choices I make, the worst the situation becomes.

Example: The Airport Taxi

I arrive to a new country, I leave the plane, exit customs and I want to take a taxi to my hotel. There is an Airport regulated Taxi stand with a list of prices inside within the arrival zone, I read the prices and it appears the price of a taxi to my hotel is about 30 US Dollars and expensive. Directly in front of me, I can see many Taxi drivers outside the exit, there is a police officer checking bags at the exit, and many taxi drivers are waiting beyond the police officer or the exit. I know if I exit here, the police officer will not allow me to re-enter the arrival zone, I will have made my choice, it will be necessary to take the taxi outside.

The price on the board seems very expensive, however if I leave the Airport the price of a normal taxi may be double. Do I trust the Airport or do I hope the taxis calling me are better priced?

Review the definitions now:

I believe it necessary to choose from one, two or more unsatisfactory alternatives. None of the options is good; any path I take has problems and the more choices I make, the worst the situation becomes.

“I believe”

Did you see this word, or did you just ignore it, or somehow did not notice the words,
“I believe.”

To return to the Taxi example, I am in a line of people, all are making their choices, I feel compelled to agree, I believe I must make a decision, however nothing seems right. Everyone is making a decision except for me, I am the loner, and I need to make a decision.

What is the correct decision?
“To not make a decision.”

I need to wander around in the arrival zone until the answer arrives.

A good guide would know this; a bad guide would just plow ahead into a bad situation and allow the group to pay their way through. This is why people are picked up at the airport, all options are bad, and the only way to protect the person is to pick them up at the airport.

This is test where you can separate a true on-a-budget-traveler from a person who says they are on a budget, but really, they spend any amount of money asked of them.

The true on a budget traveler will not spend the money, therefore his or her choice is made, they do not make a choice until it is acceptable amount of money, and they do not spend money they do not have in their budget.

If I was going to be angry about a guidebook, this is how I would evaluate a guidebook or the guidebook writer. Does the guidebook guide me or does the guide go and hide, then allow me to plow my ship under full steam into the tidal wave.

A good guidebook will guide me on the prices, not just tell me there is a taxi stand, I know there is going to be some taxi, shuttle or something, I want to know the best option for price. I want to be guided, how much to take a taxi from the Lome Airport to the Hotel, how much for a Taxi from the Togo - Ghana border to the Hotel. I can hide here and not answer… and be a normal guidebook writer.

Normal Car Taxi from Airport is 2000 CFA and from border is 500 CFA. I could get extremely complicated, but this is a guide, something close to this and you are ok, to do better and you are the guide.

This is Africa means, I am waiting, there are no good answers, everyone in Africa seems to be waiting for a good answer to come, I think they are waiting for God to come.

Travel Dilemma:
I believe it necessary to choose from one, two or more unsatisfactory alternatives. None of the options is good; any path I take has problems and the more choices I make, the worst the situation becomes.

Solution: Wait for the answers to arrive.

Togo and The Travel Dilemma

Togo Travel Confusion

Togo Travel Confusion
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Thursday, August 2, 2007

Shall I go North, or shall I go South, maybe I should go to Ghana. I never know where I am going or what I am doing, however there is this need inside me that want to leave.

I feel 85 percent sure I will leave for Agpo Kope this morning, then 15 percent left over for weakness, or I just do not feel right. There is always weakness, fear, anticipation, most of these feelings leave after I take off, however before I leave, there is time to feel.

I know I am bored with Togo, time to move somewhere, all my plans in Togo are on hold, nothing is working as I projected. The idea of renting a home is on the 10 month plan and not on the 1 month plan, I think it will take up to 10 months to rent the proper home in Togo. Therefore, I may as well travel around while I try to rent a home.

Togo Travel Confusion

African Wake Up Call from Chris

African Wake Up Call from Chris
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Andy! You are in Africa.

I wrote my friend Chris, a super internet surfer, on the cutting edge of everything known and not known. I thought I would ask for some suggestions on what videos to make in Africa.

He gave me a wake up call, witty and quick this man Chris, he banged me on the head twice, then I sat up, so he whacked me again. He said,
“…this is like suggesting an experiment for an Astronaut to do while he orbits the Planet through the cold vacuum of Space.”


Hello Chris,

Well, if you do come up with something you wish to see in Africa, then please tell me.



You DO realize you're already living an almost incomprehensibly intrepid life? "Oh, he'd been traveling the World for 10 yrs - went to Africa solo and is now living with the locals for a couple years. He didn't know the culture or language so he's teaching himself French and is doing documentaries - He's picking up everything as he goes along." Or, "He has 2 Passports and is riding a motorcycle across Africa where the women are still topless - he somehow manages to find Internet access in the most remote places on Earth and run a successful tax-free business Online."

"Africa? That's a country right?" OK, If I can think of anything I will (this is like suggesting an experiment for an Astronaut to do while he orbits the Planet through the cold vacuum of Space). Oh, yeah, take some more photos for a portfolio to sell to NGO's and find some expert Germans (or any other Nationality) transferring technology. I like Solar - very flashy. Same-Same ... if you can think of something here I can do lemmee know, hahah.

Coffee's done - bye for now Intrepid Andy - One In A Million!

- Chris

Ok, Chris, I am awake, I smell the coffee, not easy to suggest what to do in Africa. Then he used the word intrepid, I had to go look up the word in the dictionary.

African Wake Up Call from Chris

Catholic and Islamic Prayers Similar

Catholic and Islamic Prayers Similar
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, August 1, 2007

There does appear to be a competition between the Catholics and the Islamic. I woke up this morning, the 3:30 am Islamic Prayer was on the loudspeaker system. A short time later, I hear the Catholic Church Bells ringing, and I thought, they are playing follow the leader.

Later, I am listening to a later various of the Islamic Prayer, this one is clear, and long and I cannot understand a word, I occurred to me,
- What language is this? -

This is Mina, Ewe, Kabye speaking country,with a twist of French, so what language are they doing the call to prayer in? I remember the men in Kpalime, Togo lying around reading in Arabic and there is a large amount of Arabic writing on signs in Togo. I am thinking this is Arabic, sort of strange to me I think, why do these people who do not speak the Arab Language learn the Arab Language for their religions.

Then it dawns on me, the Catholics do the same, they do some type of prayer in Latin, this is curious, I never thought about how both religions have their followers talking in a foreign language.
This is really a waste of good brain waves on my part. I learn for clarity, to clean the cobwebs out of my mind. When I study these subject, one question beget three more and I keep having more questions and there is never an end in sight, so a waste of good brain waves.

I think confusion is not of God. I think I am supposed to obey, and not be lead into temptation.


Catholic and Islamic Prayers Similar

Gateau Batoken and Achtomon

Gateau Batoken and Achtomon
Atakpame, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, August 1, 2007

These wheat cakes are called Gateaux for many and Gateau as one. There is a little mark above the A, but I am going to ignore it and hope it goes away.

Next comes the Mina Language, I can ask for a Gateau, and the locals will try to give me what they have close to them, the word Gateau is a general word for cake, however normally here in Togo means these round things.

On the left is the type called Batoken and is smooth, and on the rough one on the right is an Achtomon in the Mina language, maybe I say Gateau Batoken if I want the left type and maybe I say Gateau Achtomon if I want the right. The truth is, I do not say either one if I can see them, I just point at the one I want, and saves many silly communication headaches. My goal is to communicate first, and learn the language second, better to be a good communicator than good in languages.

However, the problem is this, I like the Achtomon, the flavor is sweeter, and takes less like oil, more or a cake and less of a fried taste, it is my favorite Gateau here in Togo. Now, when I have a fancy for a Achtomon Gateau, I need to inquire around, because I have now learn the specific words, I can not request,


I suppose I could say,
- Je veux le gâteau achtomon -
Or maybe,
- Je veux le achtomon gâteau -

Complete with the little pyramid on top of the A, however I will probably just say,
- Achtomon -

Then point, or hold my palms up, and in universal language of hand talk, I will say where is Achtomon?

I like to communicate first and learn a language second.

I guess soon I will climb the French ladder and figure out what is the difference between a Gateau and a Beignet. As I see it, they both are deep-fried in oil, so I cannot say the Gateau Achtomon was bake and a cake. I saw is my favorite Gateau deep fried in the street in front of my eyes, and I like to see my cook, it makes me feel safer to eat.

I forgot, there is probably a word for Gateau in the Mina Language, I could learn that and forget my French. Would I be learning to communicate, or would I be learning a language?

Gateau Batoken and Achtomon