It's My Home

April 6, 1983 12:30 PM Wednesday

Some of the children in town are calling me teech-ah now instead of Yovo. That is much better. I know they call other teachers that as well, so now I'm not being treated differently.

Insects are coming back with the rains. Flying ants are coming out of the ground and are attracted by the kerosene lamps. It is a pain to work with flying ants on the paper so I have to close the windows. Then it gets hot. No screens here.

I bought 100 F worth of kerosene from a marche woman. I got to use the Ewe word for it. Words are so valuable. I was looking for garlic one day. It is difficult to try and describe garlic with only sign language. Onions are easily visible but garlic is usually tucked away somewhere. K told me the word for it ("eye-o") so I just said "eye-o" and several women jumped up and brought out their garlic selection.

As I passed by K's house coming back from the marche, one of his sisters came out of the house, smiled and waved to me. Not too unusual? She wasn't wearing a top. This is not an uncommon occurance. Some African customs I've had no trouble adjusting to. Topless women don't have this hey-wink-wink-look-at-me-I-don't-have-a-top-on attitude. Some of my students asked me why American women always keep their breasts covered. What could I say? I said there was a difference in customs and then asked why men and women don't hold hands in public here. Their answer: if you hold hands with someone, everyone assumes you are married. Things that you never see in America are common place here and vice versa.

Some cows just ran through my yard. That's twice this week. The other day there were 6 or 7 grazing on the front lawn. They are fairly gentle, but big:

April 7, 1983 12:20 PM Thursday
Is it the heat? I’m irritable again. Or is it just Terminale? It is hot in the day, warm at night. No time to really cool off.

April 9, 1983 7:30 PM Saturday
I feel closer to my friend, the Universe, here in Africa. It is pouring down rain and I like it a lot. It is a good thing. I feel so close to water itself. It is a good friend of mine.
I like black skin a lot, too. It is very handsome skin. It looks closer to the earth (Boy, is it raining!).
I love everything.

April 12, 1983 5:50 PM Tuesday
Today I don’t love everything.
What will I do for a month in the States? Will I have feelings of superiority because of my worldly experience? Will I turn into someone like S who is quite unbearably pretentious? Are there really terminally boring people in the world who have nothing to say? Is P right? Should some people be terminated? Or are all people good somewhere? Is it worthwhile to ask these questions? What else is there to do but ask? Should I “just live?” What does that mean? Does asking these questions help me become a more content person?

April 13, 1983 9:30 PM


It’s My Home

There’s a cloud in the night sky
That the wind never blows away
And I’ve seen it go
Through the tail of Scorpio
It’s my home, it’s my home

Some friends from a star in Centaurus have offered me a ride
And I’m gonna go, I’d be a fool to say no
It’s my home, it’s my home

I know some people on Alpha Lyra
That I haven’t seen for awhile
We can write letters but the mail is so slow
And I’d like to see them smile

I’ve been out here for awhile
And I know the folks in town
And though the trees aren’t the same I know everyone’s name
It’s my home, it’s my home

There’s a star in the south west
(Where the Centaur looks at me)
And there’s a world near that sun, it’s my favorite one
It’s my home, it’s my home

It must seem I have many
And in a way, it’s true
Even back in Jersey is my own family
That’s my home, that’s my home

April 14

You can only find brightly colored, usually stripped socks here. There are no bland African clothes.

Saturday, April 16 2:40 PM
Just up from a nap and I have that mystical just-woke-up feeling. It makes me feel magic. But I don’t know if I always had it.

I mowed part of my lawn this morning. Not like this:

but like this:

Everyone in Togo has a coup-coup (machete) and a short hoe:

Too common place is to see little seven-year-old girls carrying these huge knives. Very fashionable, to wear a short hoe on your head:

I was sitting on one of the marche tables the other day watching the people in town:

Africans are not accustomed to counter tops so they put all their work on the ground. If they're washing dishes, or sorting dried manioc or dried cola nuts, palm nuts, etc., they stand and work bending over their dishes, etc. The surprising thing is the ease at which they bend to work. If I put myself in the average working position, I would be in great pain. They don't bend their legs and yet they work close to the ground.

Sunday April 17 4:15 PM
I feel good. People are being friendly to me in town. Friday might I went into town to “take some air” and met some Première A4 students who were already taking some air. We talked for awhile. The Marché women are getting to know me. They use Ewe greetings instead of French. Perhaps the phase of the moon is good.

Tuesday April 19 3:45 PM
I filled up the mobylette today. How many trips to school and back can be made on one tank full? I bought gas in Ewe today. It made the gas man smile.

8:30 PM
I was feeling so good. Then boom. I feel anxious... Perhaps too many mosquito bites, too humid? Not enough water?

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