A Place to Teach

August 9

We will soon choose where to teach and I think we will fight over the choice spots. There is a Lyceé in the plateau region, for example, which has a piano. That region is coveted because the weather is cool all year round. Our positions may depend on our French speaking ability. There are some places which require a better understanding of French than others. Why, I don't know. I know some English is spoken in Badou because it is on the border of Ghana but I wouldn't think that would carry over into the classroom, where French must be spoken.

[Togolese officials in high places wanted qualified teachers at Lyceés in their home towns.  This may have been an important factor in the assignment process, but it was not openly discussed with us.]

wpe2.jpg (8498 bytes)If we look at the figure, we will see a map of Togo. If we don't look at the figure, then we won't know what the hell I'm talking about. Right now, I'm tentatively assigned to Badou.

Badou. Fresh fruit available. Weather: excellent, cool during most of the year. Few mosquitoes. Mountains. Not many Yovos, so I can grow and learn and experience Togo on my own. Bad points: I've heard that the students aren't well disciplined (conjecture). There is a nauseating mountainous road - the only road to Badou - that I will have to travel at least once a month to pick up my monthly living allowance. If I get lonely for the friends I've made in training, tough buggers, because none will be nearby.

Notsé (No-chay). The fellow scheduled for Notsé is thinking about switching with me. Good points: pineapple capital of Togo. Close to Lomé, where all the action is. Ewe (Eh'-vay) population is high. Ewe is perhaps the biggest tribe in Togo. Therefore Notsé is good because I'd like to learn a useful Togo dialect. Bad points: Notsé is smack on the Route Nationale, the main road through Togo. All friends and enemies will drop by to say hi or spend the night. That could be good or bad in itself (wink). It's in the South, so it will be hot and humid. I think there is little chance of being assigned there anyway.

Aklaku is probably right out so I'll skip that one.

Lama Kara. I sort of have hopes for Lama Kara. It will be hot and dry but since it is one of the bigger cities in the North it will have a lot of goods from the South like fruit. Also, a lot of my friends from training will be there, not actually in Lama Kara, but nearby. I think Togo would rather have someone in Badou than in Lama Kara. I should know soon. I'll wait to close this letter with that news (I'm out of stamps anyway).

August 12

The Ministry of Education wants someone in Badou, so that's where I'm going. I will be here until September first or so, then go to Cacaveli for more French if they think I need it. I want all the French in the world. It will make teaching easier.

I've been to Badou once to visit the nearby waterfall. It's in a humid, green valley. My house won't have running water or electricity but that's the way it goes. There are papaya and banana trees in a fairly secluded yard. I'll be taking bucket baths for two years, like I did during my live-in. The only real big problem is that I don't think I'll have a good view of the Southern horizon, but I didn't come here to look at the stars. I'll be in town, so I shouldn't have too much trouble getting supplies. I don't think I'll have a house boy either, but probably someone to do the laundry. I want to cook my own meals and I think I can eat western enough to not miss home food too much. There were two other choices, Kpagouda and Aklaku. Three of us had to fight over them. Kpagouda is up North, a small village. It would have been nice, but hot and dry during the dry season. Aklaku would have been fine, too. I'm not too picky.

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