A day in Lomé

Trip Start Sep 08, 2013
Trip End Oct 04, 2013

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Flag of Togo  , Maritime,
Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Yesterday I was just about to go white water rafting with friends in a pleasantly cool river, somewhere in West Virginia, when a loud angry Togolese man interrupted our conversation, complaining aggressively about something I couldn't quite make out. I just had time to think "how did he get over here?’ when it dawned on me that the cool water and rafting were a dream and the loud angry African outside my window was reality. I groaned, checked my watch, rolled over and as he faded into the distance, went back to sleep.

I awoke again, this time a little before 6:00, to the sound of a blaring muezzin calling Muslims to prayer. Such calls used to me made by a solitary caller who would climb a minaret and sing out by voice alone. Now the calls are recorded and boosted with amplifiers and speakers. It takes me a few days to be used to them and not be awaked by the early morning calls. This morning it acted as my alarm clock.

At 7:00 Pierre and his wife Honorine and Kofi came by to say hello and to give me a cell phone with a local sim car I will use while in Togo. There are no phones in the rooms in this little inn so one must make his own arrangements. We chatted briefly and then they were off to make arrangements for our festival which will be observed up north in Kpalime.

A strong morning coffee was delicious. As I sipped and savored it, I listened to the morning sounds: birds chirping, motorbikes, cars and trucks buzzing and rumbling by, honking horns, children crying, an axe chopping wood, water being poured somewhere, a vendor hawking something indistinct; Lomé was waking up and starting a new day.

I spent the morning working on my laptop. At noon I considered going someplace new for lunch, but I had quite a bit of work to do, and business hasn’t been too good lately at the hotel where I’m staying, so I decided to eat here a medium rare “steak-frites" (steak and fries) a French staple for lunch.

The afternoon was also spent working, until 6:00 pm when Guy picked me up for the evening Bible Study. Traffic was heavy and snarled and we made our way through the broken streets. Motorcycles made no pretense of obeying traffic lights; some seem to be testing fate, or may even have a death wish the way they charge through intersections on red lights. Guy told me the wildcat moto-taxis are crazy but they stick together. If a car driver complains about the driving or any other behavior all the moto-taxi drivers nearby will gather, shout down, intimidate and threaten the driver. It gives them a free hand, and a feeling of respect to be feared; which they are.

After 45 minutes we arrived at Guy’s house and after I greeted everyone and asked their news, we started the study which lasted a little over an hour. Noah still wasn’t feeling well, it’s been confirmed that he’s down with malaria, and he’s being treated. His temperature had hit 104 so his parents needed to act quickly which they did. He lay on a blanket on the floor during the study.

We talked a bit more after the study, but I needed to get back to the hotel before they closed up for the night, so we drove back through fairly empty streets which meant the trip only took about 25 minutes.

As I walked in the hotel, Didier, the hotel owner, asked me if I would help him “beta-test” (that’s actually the term he used in French) a new recipe on which he was working: thinly sliced chicken in a creamy mushroom sauce, onions and potatoes in a terrine with breadcrumbs on top. I agreed and greatly enjoyed my 9:30 dinner.

Tomorrow we will head up to Kpalime, it will be an exciting and a full day.
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Tess Washington on

Thank you Mr. Meeker for this interesting blog. I was really wandering about your intro. Thankfully it was just a dream! We'll continue to pray for the success of your trip, yours and the brethrens protection.

Beverly Lofty on

thank you for the post :-) the chicken actually sounded good :-) may your Feast be wonderful and joyful :-) may the rest of your journey be safe :-)

Ted Franek on

Thanks again for your blog with descriptive waking of the new day...felt like I was actually there. May you and all gathered there have a blessed FOT.

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