Volunteer in Africa
Lome, Togo West Africa
Thursday, July 5, 2007
I am working with a few people to open a few Hostel Homes in West Africa soon. Last night the two American volunteers were randomly listing things the Hostel Home should provide or sell.
Taia 28 and Marc 34 presently living in Denver CO, but are both raised in the Midwest. Taia from Kalamazoo, Michigan and Marc from Madison Wisconsin.
Maps to Togo
Note: Hobo OK
Richard Trillo the Editor of “The Rough Guide to West Africa,” is in love with West Africa. When I choose a guidebook, it feels good to know the Editor loves the countries I am visiting. When searching for dreams, better to follow a path laid down with love.
I interjected some ideas about how to create a spider web network of small trips to the various West Africa cities, whereby groups of tourist could share a van and go visit.
I was laughing about the need for a clean toilet by Mark and Taia or is it Taia and Marc; nonetheless, they presently have a real and present need for cleanliness. West Africa has some of the cleanest Hotel rooms on the planet, and somehow these two found the worst rooms in Togo and volunteered to pay for the experience…
I am listening in sales mode, thinking, what these two want, what could I sell them besides super clean toilets and it kept creeping into my first conscious level and out of the lower sub-conscious levels. These two have a real need to volunteer in Africa.
I am semi-frustrated with this need, as I think a desire to save the world is somehow misguided and try to say more or less,
- Africa does not need saved. -
They do not want to save Africa, however they volunteered some ideas.
--- We are overwhelmed in the USA with the idea that Africa needs help. We want to give back, we feel we need to give, we are so lucky.
Ok a fuzzy need, not clear and defined, however you word this need it is not important, they are not going to be happy until they give some good energy to the people of Africa.
Ok, I will put this word Volunteer on the list of things to help provide in a Hostel. Aagh!
This is like saddling up next to a horse thief, then riding along with the horse thief as he steals a few horses, than when the Marshall says,
- Did you help him steal them their horses? -
I would say,
- I had no idea what he was doing Marshall; I was just riding my horse with him. -
The problem for me is this, when I think Volunteer Organizations, I think Horse Thieves, I am not fond of the idea of helping the bad ones, by just riding along, as maybe people will think I am a Horse Thieve by association.
I will help these wanna be Volunteer in Africa find ways to get a good Karma rush by Volunteering in Africa.
I keep offering the one idea,
- You can go give them certifiably crazy naked people walking on the beach here in Lome some clothes and a shower. -
I can only think of one thing, maybe two, but with some work, I am sure I can find 10 or more good volunteer projects in Africa to satisfy this fuzzy need of tourist and travelers to Togo to Volunteer in Africa.
To be a Volunteer in Africa is good, to give back what you was given in noble, however go walk up to proud people and say, you are poor is bad manners.
Volunteer in Africa
Volunteer Planned Africa Trip
Accra, Ghana West Africa
Friday, August 17, 2007
I remember reading some burp by a reader in the Lonely Planet West Africa about you should volunteer while you are in West Africa. I remember thinking, why…?
There are many reasons to Volunteer, however one has just evaded me for a year and now I know.
Volunteer and the organization will help you to travel to Africa; more or less, they will be your travel agent. There are very few travel agents on the planet that could help you go to Africa correctly, however, the Volunteer agencies can help you.
I meet 99 percent Volunteers running around West Africa being tourist and 1 percent just tourist, me, so I am abnormal here, I am the one.
I would say the cost to use a Volunteer Agency as your Travel Agent would amplify the cost to travel by about 2-7 times the needed amount. However, if you need a travel agent, this can be the only option.
Note: I do NOT recommend volunteering, or paying to Volunteer.
Volunteer Planned Africa Trip
Ghana Volunteer Option
Borgla or Bolgatanga, Ghana West Africa
Monday, September 3, 2007
Salad Making Schools
Malnutrition is one of my pet obsessions; I think an inordinate amount of time about this topic. I cannot remember exactly, however Josef Garvi of the Eden Foundation in Zinder, Niger was explaining how the world uses food. It went something like this, and do not quote this as fact, it is not. However, as I remember he says, less than 20 foods provide the staple food sources for nutritional needs of the 90 planet.
What we eat is cultural; I like Potatoes, the Ghana people like Yams, no problem and great, food diversity.
I am making this video about Fufu, a food made of yams and plantains, something like a banana. Something comparable to eating mashed potatoes, and a staple food in the Ashanti region and many others areas.
A person ask,
- Do you know Fufu? -
- I do not know Fufu. -
- Try Fufu. -
Ok, I am a carbo-a-holic or starch-a-holic, if I allow myself to eat what I want; I would eat only French Fries with Mustard, or A1 Steak Sauce and lots of black pepper or better yet, white pepper. As my life has evolved, I have slowly went from eating French Fries with Catsup to combinations, and moved away from the stereotypical American French Fries.
However, I know eating French Fries is a great way to get fat; I must tell myself and force myself to eat Vegetables and Fruits.
Fufu is a probably considered Carbohydrates, I do not want to learn to eat another food or learn to love another food that could help me to become fat. West Africa is full of the foods that supply a lot of calories and energy, however incomplete for good nutrition.
To describe the diet of West African people, it is analogous to a person in the USA eating Mash Potatoes with Catsup every meal.
- The Banana is not native to Africa; sailors brought it here from Southeast Asia and lead to large population growth in Africa.
- Carrot, common name for a plant, native to Eurasia and northern Africa. -
- Apples - NOT native to the USA…
American as Apple Pie and the food is not a native of the USA; the seeds were brought here by boats from Europe.
The food culture of Africa is lagging behind in West Africa; there is a lack of diversity of foods. It is nice to say, easy to say, however telling me to eat spinach will not make me like spinach.
Telling a person in Ghana to eat lettuce and vegetables is nice, however to get them to like to eat a more nutritionally diverse diet requires a good cook or chef.
In a way, I think the pivotal solution to malnutrition is by changing the foods they eat, and finding more foods they like. One solution would be to have volunteers have cooking schools to promote the vegetales they do not grow or eat properly.
For example, salads, how to makes salads, the French introduced the Baguette Carbohydrate, lets-get-fat food to the Francophone countries, it would be nice if they came back introduced some great salads.
Volunteers learn to eat the local foods, and a good cultural exchange would be to bring into the diets of locals many new types or new ways to eat a variety foods and change the channel.
A good use for a Vegetarian… hehehe
Ghana Volunteer Option