I left the house at about 4:00 on the 24th of January to meet some of the CWE team at the Tampa airport. We flew to New York City and met the rest of the team, they had come from other parts of the country. We flew that entire night to Accra, Ghana. Arriving a few hours late due to hang ups in New York, we boarded our bus to start the ride to Togo. We had the same bus and driver that we had back in October last year. His name is Kwaku.
He drove us the same route as before, North and East across Ghana to the Togo border. Shortly after crossing the border, we arrived in the town in which we had built 4 months earlier. Here is a photo of our group in front of one of the schools we'd built.
We settled in Sunday evening in the village of Adeta. It is North and East of Kpalime which is where we built last year. Early Monday morning we loaded up a truck with some tools, and a little van full of CWE volunteers and began heading to the little village where we would be building a school this week.
Before getting too far, we had to stop in town for gas and a few other things. The photo below is the center of town. Every morning we spent some time there and each time it looked more and more normal to me, a busy place full of people and dust.
As we headed east we noticed that the sun was obscured by a sky filled with dust. I'm told that this time of year, dust blows off the Sahara from the North and fills the air over this whole part of Africa. At times you could look directly at the sun and not even flinch.
Below are a couple of photos showing the road we drove each day to the job.
Once we arrived, I took a few photos of the surrounding area.
Notice this small house, it is made of mud, but the family that lives there picked up our fallen mortar that we would normally have discarded and used it to cover the mud.
I was able to get copies of some of the other volunteers photos, so I am able to post a few candid photos of me actually working rather than just taking shots of others.
The kids are let out of school at lunch time so they can run home and get a bite to eat.
The woman pictured here was selling oranges. Notice in her right hand is a small blade which she uses to peel the outermost layer of the orange. They don't peel and eat like we do, they cut one end off and suck out the juice.
Here are a boy and girl just watching.
This village is about 20 miles from the nearest electricity or running water, and since January is the dry season, the wells are dry too. The only place to get water is at the river. We took metal drums down to be filled by hand. The vegetation in the barrels is to keep the water from splashing out as the truck is driven down a bumpy dirt road.
Jeff is trying to carry a bucket of mortar on his head like the Africans do, but can't do it without holding on with his hands. Notice how much of the mud house is now covered with mortar.
A man came up the road with an animal he had killed, he was asking if any of us wanted to buy it. We passed on that offer.
This is the second grade classroom. It is one of the classrooms being replaced by the school we are building.
A few more shots from around the jobsite, the first with the old classroom in the background.
This is the view across the street.
Here are a few of the sites we saw each day on the hour long drive between where we were staying and where we were working. The first photo show people clearing a field. It wasn't until the third day we were there that on the way home we encounter a car, and I realized that it was the first vehicle we had encounter in six hours of driving that road. I assume that is why each time we would drive down the road, people would drop what they were doing, run to the road and wave.
The three women that had come on the trip, bought some material at the market on Monday and hired a lady to make clothes out of it for them. Here is how a seamstress works in all the parts of Africa I've been to.
This is the woman that made the clothes. How do you like that iron?
Pictured next are just a few photos from the project site.
Some ladies preparing lunch for the workers.
Second grade teacher and students.
Third grade students meeting in the church building. Notice each student has a little slate board rather than paper.
One day Jeff called me down from laying block and over to this classroom. Keep in mind the national language in Togo is French. Jeff had decided to teach the kids a new phrase, he wrote it on the board, practiced it with the kids, then when I entered the room I heard the whole class say "Kevin is Cool" That was fun.
Harry (the missionary) reading a book.
A boy holding a balloon Ray had given him.
Any time the camera comes out, the kids form a group and want to be in a photo.
'Two little girls.
The classroom and flagpole.
Ray and I posing as the building is nearing completion.
These next photos were taken by someone else, they are of various sites seen during the week.
Two boys staying cool in the hot African sun.
Cutting lumber at the lumber yard.
I'm not sure what these guys are doing.
A goat in somebody's kitchen.
A group of children bringing water from the river.
Some members of our group brought several soccer balls to give out. Here is a group enjoying theirs.
We finished our part of the project Thursday afternoon, so Friday we loaded up all the tools and drove them to a village a few hours away so the second team could start the second building.
We passed a herd of cattle on the way. They quench their thirst at the same place the people do.
At the church next to the second building site I found this bass in the corner. Notice it has only one string. I'm not sure how it is played. It would be interesting to hear.
Friday night we rode up to the hospital for some reason, and Jeff and I were relegated to the back of the van. What's up with the bunny ears?
Saturday we left Adeta, stopped back in Kpalime so we could do some gift shopping. Here is one of the places we stopped.
This was inside.
We stayed the night in Accra, Ghana then left Sunday morning on the long flight back to NYC, then home.