Togo Travel Stories, Page 9

Lining Up the Volunteer Victims

Lining Up the Volunteer Victims
Lome, Togo West Africa
Friday, July 27, 2007

I was musing away on the word Savvy the other day and wondering to myself,
- Am I a savvy traveler? -

I would propose that most people believe they are savvy, the general population of the planet thinks they make better decisions than their neighbors do. I have questions about myself, which I cannot answer.

Am I good looking?
Am I smart?
Do I know how to not be robbed when traveling?
Am I a good budget traveler?
Am I a saavy traveler?

I want to say,
- Yes, I am all of these things. -
People say things to me,
- I am a good traveler. -
I will make a wisecrack,
- Do you have references of people that would agree? -

Am I smart; good-looking, good at budgets, savvy, and all the other word are opinions? When referencing myself, I think to be savvy, I need to say,
- This is a comparison, am I savvy compared to whom? -

To really prove I am Savvy is close to impossible; therefore, I better just evade this word, and for sure take care when I use it to describe myself. I sometime have people say,
- You are a professional traveler. -

I have no idea what this means, however I do think maybe I am an Independent traveler. People take polls; this to me is a popularity test, not good reasoning.

I have been reading the Encyclopedia often and really enjoy this source of information. I keep thinking, I need to write a book to promote my site, I am observant enough to know, the references, citations, or sources believe people that write books are more intelligent than people who Blog.

I cannot just say something and quote myself as an authority, a person must interview me, then make me an authority, or a third person can quote me and define me as an authority on the subject. has a great system; they define a person internet site by the sites that link to the site.

Then what do people do, they go and pay people to link to their site.

I read all them endorsements of books at the front or back of books, the Public Relations people will write or call up people and ask them to read a book, then give a review, I have my own section now for fun.

What I am saying to myself is,
- Do not read your own review of yourself. -

- Andy, you are not a good traveler, you do not know what you are doing, and you will be robbed next week. -

- Andy, you are NOT a savvy traveler. -

Now, after I give myself a humility pep talk, I am thinking of all this noise because of a conversation last night about the Consular Information Sheets on Togo. Yesterday, I was grinning, I received a Consular Information Sheet on Togo in my email box, I was delighted, and normally I receive these updates on all the countries I am not visiting presently. Yesterday, I received one on Togo.

I subscribe to these sheets and receive by email, I read them with skepticism and try to remember they are guides, I am posting them on the site as they are the best information normally I can find on current visa requirements for the country.


I am remembering, I am not a savvy traveler…

I read the comments on Togo, which are similar to most Consular Information Sheets, after reading them; you do not want to go the country. The USA government somewhat sends out disclaimers, the country sucks, and if you go, remembers we told you so.

I am remembering, I am not a savvy traveler…

I do however, believe there are people who volunteer to be Victims of Crime. I personally as a person who is not a savvy traveler, a person who knows he will be robbed, I am 100 percent sure one day all my possession will be robbed, I know it. As a person who knows I am not a savvy traveler, I believe some people step up, get in line and ask to be robbed. Normally the ones who think they are savvy, the ones who think they know what they are doing, which in my opinion is about 98 percent.

I think I am the 2 percent, I know I do not know what I am doing, and I am positive I will be robbed.

However, I have not been robbed in Togo, I have not been accosted, and nobody has attacked me in Togo. I do not know anybody that has been robbed in Togo.

There are some really jerks in Lome, Jealousy and Mockery are rampant, however that is also in England, you want to get mocked, go hand around with a bunch of English people.

I just do not know about Togo, I feel and it is only my opinion; however, I would feel this is one of the safest countries on the planet. I am wondering to myself if the types of travelers to Togo are so naïve they are robbed more than other countries.

I suppose that is another story, am I naïve? My instincts tell me the normal traveler to West Africa is very naïve, Volunteers in two ways, Volunteering to Volunteer, and Volunteering to be Victims.

The type of tourist that visit destinations varies, there is a stereotype, there is a generalizations and I think a wise traveler needs to figure out the stereotypes and generalizations, and not pretend they do not exist, profile the problems in life and avoid them.

Lining Up the Volunteer Victims

My Togo Friends have Malaria or Paludisme

My Togo Friends have Malaria or Paludisme
Lome, Togo West Africa

Paludisme is the French word for Malaria, NOT Malaria.
If you need a doctor, you need to know the word Paludisme.

1 in 15 people in Togo will get Paludisme or Malaria in English.
7701 - Togo 7701 cases per 100,000 people HDI 2005

728 - Ecuador 728 cases per 100,000
130 - Thailand 130 case per 100,000
15 - Philippines 15 cases per 100,000

I am counting….

1. Elaine - Cleaning lady in Lome, Togo
2. Brune - Girl from Atakpame, Togo
3. Paula - Manager of Hotel in Atakpame.

I am counting….

I know and have pictures of these three people, Malaria or the proper name for Africa Paludisme is easy to find. I personally know three people who say they are diagnosed by a doctor for Malaria.

I am counting….

I am counting… I visited this Hospital two times looking for mosquito nets.

TWO times, I have now gone to this Hospital two times, the last time on Friday, July 13, 2007. I tried to buy a Mosquito net here and on both times over a month apart, I was not able to buy a Mosquito net.

I purchased this Mosquito Net in Atakpame for 2000 CFA or 4 US dollars, now I have returned to the same place twice and they are out of them. The Hospital has none; the other store has them for sale at 4000 CFA or about 8 US Dollars.

I want to know, what are these people doing?

I want to know, what are these people doing?

I am counting….

I do not blame Togo, I blame the hightly ineffective organizations, using YOUR money.

My Togo Friends have Malaria or Paludisme

Selling Photos to NGO or News Media

Selling Photos to NGO or News Media
Lome, Togo West Africa
Thursday, July 26, 2007

My two vexations, Non Governmental Organizations and the News Media, I am slowly learning I can earn money selling them photographs.

Let me think, what a good analogy is.

This is like selling condoms to prostitutes.

No, not a good analogy, the NGO and the Media should already have the photos they would need from me; I would be selling photos to a group that should already have them.

This is like selling Snow to Eskimos.

Still not right, hmmm…. It is too easy for an Eskimo to find snow, the photos I could sell are not as easy as finding snow. Yes, photos should be easy for the NGO… however not for the Journalist.

This is like selling cow manure to a dairy farmer.

Yes, this is a good analogy, and works really well for the NGO groups, however still misses the target a little for News Media.

Selling cow manure to the Vegetarian of the Dairy Farmer is the News Media analogy I need.

I do not like to sell photos, I have never sold a photo, and I try to give them away in exchange for some free promotion of my website. I am learning, I may be very slow here, but I am learning. The problem with giving photos to people is they can say,
- Andy of took these photos, and gave us permission. -

It is a tacit recommendation of their organizations, and to give a recommendation for an NGO or News Media is difficult. I suppose I should put the United Nations on this list of not to associate with, I am not sure, they are governmental I would guess. I suppose I can also sell to the government photos, and that is for sure big money.

I use Reeboks gym shoes and do not have a problem recommending the ones made in Indonesia, the ones made in Thailand stink; the rubber has a bad smell.

I have no problem saying go watch CNN, but I would not want my sister working for CNN.

I had another request to use photos of Philippines Street Children I took in Manila. I think I will offer to sell them, and somehow say they cannot use my name. I just do not know, I feel like I am helping a prostitute to find Johns or Men, makes me feel like a Pimp.

I think I had better just say they are not for sale, and cannot be used. The reason I said in the past they are free, is I know people steal photos off the internet, how can you stop them, so my theory was just to get some free links back to the site. This is really too complicated.

An NGO working with Philippines Street Children should have photos of Street Children. The News Media interviewing a person working for with Philippines Street Children should be able to get these photos from the person they are interviewing.

Hard to believe they want or need my photos?

Selling Photos to NGO or News Media

Efio Tiger Nut Togo Food

Efio Tiger Nut Togo Food
Lome, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, July 25, 2007

This is called Efio in the Mina language of Lome, Togo, and the Nigeria man called it Tiger Nuts in the Nigeria English. I suspect the reason is because of the stripes on the side.

It taste something like a raw peanut, but peanuts taste much better. I think this nut has arrived in season or they are harvesting them now, as I now am seeing them sold. This handful of Tiger Nuts cost about 25 CFA or maybe 5 cents US.

This is another of the mysteries I encounter daily, what is this, why, where, how, etc, it is easy to see why curiosity killed the cat.

What is this? Does it grown on tree, in the ground, what is it?

Efio Tiger Nut Togo Food

A Book Run from Togo to Ghana

A Book Run from Togo to Ghana
Lome, Togo West Africa
Wednesday, July 25, 2007

I like to read books; I want to read books in English. I am not able to find enough normal fiction paperback books in Togo to satisfy my want of English books. There are math books or technical books, or some obsolete way back books of American History, and many books I would read only if I was in school and the teacher said I was going to flunk the class if I did not read. I cannot find a Grisham, Clancy, Wilbur Smith or other normal popular mainstream writers.

I came up with a bizarre solution the other day. The Hotel Galion has a couple of books in English in their book exchange, if you can really call it a book exchange, more of a shelf of unused books. Well, I did find one book I wanted. This is a book exchange, I think, no way of being sure, however to be on the moral high ground, I think I need to exchange one book for another book.

There is a problem, I feel like hoarding or keeping my English books, I may get so desperate I read a good book again. Therefore, my solution was I would go to the central market in Lome, buy a used book in French, and trade a French book for an English book.

This is a BIZARRE and CRAZY solution.

Nuts, over the edge, off my rockers solutions to a problem, this is not a solution, it is what highly ineffective people would do, some weird non-effective solution that is a patch, just spinning in air solution.

Example of similar logic:
More or less like the people that take Malaria pills and then do not carry a mosquito net or mosquito repellent, then go toxic wasted by the side effects of all the Malaria pills.

I normally carry about seven English books in my bag; this will last about 14 days on a deserted island, and would last me about 30 days in Togo.

I have been trying to read these Gutenberg books,
however this does not work, the Electricity is ofen cut or off, when I need to read a book. The time I really wish to read a book is when the electricity is off. I have a care package coming from the USA in some lifetime, not my lifetime, but in some lifetime and it may solve this problem, but today the problem is this.

Prime Directive of Travel
- To enjoy travel. -

This means, I need to enjoy being where I am located, or the trip, I need to do my trip, not your trip, I need to go and see what I like, not what you like.

I do Visa Runs, now I am going to do a Book Run, A Visa Run is when I go for the border, leave the country, then re-enter the country to get another 30 days permission to be in the country. Every weekend some Volunteers working in Ghana come to Togo to renew their Ghana Visa, or to somehow extend the time they are permitted to live in Ghana. I have a year visa to stay in Togo, so presently this is not a problem.

I have never done a book run in my travel life; however, I am thinking I need to go to Ghana to buy books. What a bizarre reason to leave a country.

Travel is about giving up what is normal and living abnormal, the farther I travel away from normal the more uncomfortable the culture clash becomes. I need to re-enter my personal space culture to relax and stop being uncomfortable. People return to their nine to five jobs because this is comfortable, the truth is a vacation is not relazing normally. It is abnormal to live in Africa or Thailand. To change every day is normal for me, however to not have books to read is uncomfortable.

I wonder how many people go home to watch TV or to use the Internet, I know the need for clean is probably reason number one.

A Book Run from Togo to Ghana Traffic Ups and Downs Traffic Ups and Downs
Lome, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, July 24, 2007

The number of Unique Visitors to has slowly gone down for the last six months. This trend has made me nervous, and at first, I thought it was a seasonal change due to Schools breaks, summer, and other factors. There are big variable and small variable, however I guess I feel there is a rhythm or feel to the site that I hope I am aware of and can anticipate.

Number of Unique Visitors:

Number of pages indexed by

I am very happy as the business of is out of recession and is again growing things are coming up.

There has been some large scale solutions applied to the site and they are working, I now see an even brighter future.

Briefly, a page that is not used become stagnant, and can break, the solution is to revive the old pages, clean the parts that are broken. Then continually add new pages faster than pages become stagnant. When pages become slow or drop in rank, or are not indexed by a site goes into recession.

I am happy, we are again growing. Traffic Ups and Downs

AIDS is Cliche in Asia and Africa

AIDS is Cliché in Asia and Africa
Lome, Togo West Africa
Tuesday, July 24, 2007

- A cliché … is a phrase, expression, or idea that has been overused to the point of losing its intended force or novelty, especially when at some time it was considered distinctively forceful or novel. The term is generally used in a negative context. -é

UNaids. all figures estimates.

I was looking to see if the words hokey and corny are words, they appear to be words and acceptable to use, and more accurate and of more value than words like,

AIDS or SIDA in French and Spanish


I have decided to have fun with these words; I am making a collection of words that I am calling Worthless Words. These are words that have no meaning; however, there is now value in the words. If I read or hear the word,
- Crisis -

I know the Article I am reading is attempting to become worthless, the writer or organization start get my little ticks next to their names. The use of worthless words slowly evolves until the person or organizations using the words are also worthless.

There are writers who are credible, however they are ignored because of they refuse to use these words. I also realize, I have used these words in the past and this is a learning experience. I can start to apply some critical reasoning to my own selection of words.

Writing, Cliches, How to Blog, How-to-be-a-Travel-Writer, Togo, AIDS,

AIDS is Cliché in Asia and Africa

Togo Statue of Liberty

Togo Statue of Liberty
Lome, Togo West Africa
Monday, July 23, 2007

I think this one is for sale, maybe I should call the number. As I travel the planet I slowly discover many of these statues. This symbol of freedom does a good job. This is maybe the sixth or seventh time I have seen a small version in the most unusual places.

This link has a couple more photos I have taken, one in Belgium and the other in Brazil.

- Worldwide, the Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognizable icons of the United States, and, in a more general sense, represents liberty and escape from oppression -

Statue of Liberty

Liberty Enlightening the World (French: La liberté éclairant le monde), known more commonly as the Statue of Liberty (Statue de la Liberté), is a large statue that was presented to the United States by France in 1886, standing at Liberty Island, New York in the mouth of the Hudson River in New York Harbor as a welcome to all visitors, immigrants, and returning Americans. The copper-clad statue, dedicated on October 28, 1886, commemorates the centennial of the United States and is a gesture of friendship from France to America. The sculptor was Frédéric Auguste Bartholdi, and Alexandre Gustave Eiffel, the designer of the Eiffel Tower, engineered the internal structure. Eugène Viollet-le-Duc was responsible for the choice of copper in the statue's construction and adoption of the Repoussé technique.

The statue is of a woman standing upright, dressed in a robe and a seven point spiked crown representing the seven seas and continents, holding a stone tablet close to her body in her left hand and a flaming torch high in her right hand. The statue is made of a sheeting of pure copper, hung on a framework of steel (originally puddled iron) with the exception of the flame of the torch, which is coated in gold leaf. It stands atop a rectangular stonework pedestal, itself on an irregular eleven-pointed star foundation. The statue is 151' 1" (46.5 m) tall, with the foundation adding another 154 feet (46.9 m). The tablet contains the text "JULY IV MDCCLXXVI" (July 4, 1776) commemorating the date of the United States Declaration of Independence.

Worldwide, the Statue of Liberty is one of the most recognizable icons of the United States,[2] and, in a more general sense, represents liberty and escape from oppression. The Statue of Liberty was, from 1886 until the jet age, often one of the first glimpses of the United States for millions of immigrants after ocean voyages from Europe. In terms of visual impact, the Statue of Liberty appears to draw inspiration from il Sancarlone or the Colossus of Rhodes. The statue is a central part of Statue of Liberty National Monument and is administered by the National Park Service.

Togo Statue of Liberty

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