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Ω2

Togo: Small but priceless!

   From the first day we entered Togo, we were lucky enough to explore the countryside of this tiny African country and be hosted by local families. This was made possible via many American volunteers, who are scattered all over Togo and usually live together with some local family. That’s how we arrived in Chelsea’s village, asking for the white woman’s house. Some barefoot, one-arm young man in dirty clothes lead us there. He seemed like a humble man but nevertheless he was the chief of the village!

    Chelsea’s host family was very welcoming. They brought us some chairs to sit on and various people were coming to greet us. They were bowing to the ground to pay their respects, making handshakes with both hands. They brought us to drink some water inside a bowl they make out of the shell of calabash. It is tradition here for the one offering something to taste it first himself, in order to verify that there is no poison in it! So, the woman who brought us the water had a sip first and then gave it to us. The family was thanking Chelsea over and over again for bringing the white people to their house! Don’t get suspicious. They had no profit whatsoever, they just felt really honored to have us there.

This was the first family that hosted us in Togo. Unfortunately, small kids always get to eat the leftovers and as their food is not nutritious enough, swollen bellies are a common sight.

This was the first family that hosted us in Togo. Unfortunately, small kids always get to eat the leftovers and as their food is not nutritious enough, swollen bellies are a common sight.

    It was the season when many memorial services are held. So, that Sunday three memorials were taking place in the village. Many times they have to postpone them in order to save some money, as they use to spend a lot on memorials and funerals, even if they are poor. In Togo, when the deceased is elder, the funeral is a joyful celebration. When the one who died is a child, however, the funeral is a mournful ceremony.

   The first memorial was a Christian one, the second was Muslim and Animist was the third one. Relatives were coming from all over the country, even from Burkina Faso. We were all sitting on benches and women were serving us some food: a ball of mashed yam, called fufu, accompanied by meat and some green-leave sauce. At the Christian memorial they also served beer made out of millet. So, many people would pay a visit just to have a drink. It was so crowded, as if it was a fair! There were even some vendors there, selling their stuff.

Painting the house of Will's host family.

Painting the house of Will’s host family.

   Visiting volunteer after volunteer we were gradually moving south. We visited the Koutammakou area, famous for the architecture of the Tamberma tribe. It is even listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Indeed, the huts of this tribe are very distinctive and impressive ones! They usually unfold in three different levels and they are properly designed in order to protect the family from any intruder.

Every hut of the Tamberma tribe is like a miniature fort, protecting the family from the intruders.

Every hut of the Tamberma tribe is like a miniature fort, protecting the family from the intruders.

   From Atakpamé we headed west, taking a road which used to be tarred… many, many years ago. Nowadays, there is just a series of innumerous huge potholes left, that made even Christina miss the dirt roads I discover all the time. We visited the spectacular Akloa Waterfall near Badou! We hiked through the jungle and we saw trees of bananas, cocoa, coffee, cassava, as well as the exquisite plant where pineapple grows, looking like a diamond in the centre of a jewel. After this short hiking we were all sweaty, so what’s more delightful than taking a dip inside the small pond forming at the bottom of the waterfall…

This is the stunning plant where our beloved, juicy pineapples grow!

This is the stunning plant where our beloved, juicy pineapples grow!

   The off-road route we took from Badou to Kpalimé was by far the most beautiful we did in Togo. The scenery was mountainous and the views from above were breathtaking! It reminded us of our beloved Guinea for a while… In Kpalimé we were hosted by Matthias, a German in our age, who has visited a big part of our world with just a backpack, without even carrying a camera! He and his friends all ride motorcycles, so that weekend we went together for a ride on the dirt tracks around this lush and beautiful area.

The mountainous route from Badou to Kpalimé was our favourite in Togo!

The mountainous route from Badou to Kpalimé was our favourite in Togo!

   In Lomé, the capital of Togo, we saw the sea again, after almost two months. We didn’t miss the chance to take a dip there as well! After wandering in the area around, having spent three weeks in Togo, we headed to the border with Benin. We were delighted to have explored profoundly this country, having been under its skin, and all this thanks to the wonderful people we met…

The mountainous South Togo reminded us of our beloved Guinea!

The mountainous South Togo reminded us of our beloved Guinea!

 

Here you can watch the video about our trip in Togo:

Soundtracks (music from Togo):
Peter Solo & Kakarako – Live
Tchebe Tchebe (traditional stilt dance)
Bella Bellow – Dasi Ko

 

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