Me again

Wow. Every time i sit down to write an update I have a hard time figuring out where to begin. My life here is SO amazing with SO many stories to tell that I get overwhelmed.

I will start this update by answering a few questions. Please use the comment feature of my blog to leave questions and comments on what i write! It's nice to know that there are people out there reading this. :)

Kate asked about books that I might like. First, so nice hearing from you Kate! I miss you guys so much! Second, I am reading like a banchee (not sure if that saying works here... you get the point.) I have read around 1500 pages thus far in 4 and a half books. I thought the 3 books i brought with me would last at least the first month. They lasted 10 days. As soon as i cut tv and internet out of my life i found hours and hours of wonderful reading time. I'm now reading a book written by a Harvard Prof about causes and sollutions to poverty. AMAZING book! I never thought i would call an econ book page turning. This one is. Please send me whatever book you think i might like. Send me your favorite book, send me a book you've always wanted to read, send me a book you've never wanted to read, send me anything. I will read it. After i read it i will send you a letter telling you everything that i thought about it. Just send books. I'm tearing through them!

Dad asked a couple questions... Let me see what i can do.

IN TERMS OF FOOD: Dr. Atkins would HATE my diet. The Togolese (and i think a large portion of Africa) eat carbs, and lots of them. Food in africa is a large portion of carb filled, stomach filling, starchey stuff and a sauce. At any given meal I will have a plate full of: rice, fufu, pate, cooscoos (sp?), or pasta. Next to my plate I will have a bowl with a lid. Opening this lid is always a source of excitement. The sauce inside this bowl is always green or red (red being tomato and green being somthing green.) Mixed with this sauce is my only source of protein in the form of small chunks of the meat of the day. I find myself craving anything with protein. Yesterday during a class on micro-finance someone was passing around a jar of peanuts. After a few minutes I realised i had finished about half of the wonderful wonderful protein filled jar.

How does one explain fufu? Imagine a ball of uncooked pizza dough that you eat with a light sauce. Fufu is made from manioc or ignam (Yam). They take one of those two roots, cut it into smalish pieces, boil it, then (in French) "pile" it. To "pile" something is basically using a giant mortar and pestal to grind it down and make it into a dough of sorts. In all the markets you see groups of four women standing around the two foot tall "pestal" pounding it with 3 foot baseball bat type things. It finally turns into the dough like stuff. It really isn't all that bad. In some ways it tastes like dough. In another way it really has no flavor. It is a stomach filler. At that job it does wonderfully. It is eaten with the right hand (NOT THE LEFT! My first time eating it i reached with my left and got scolded by my family.)

This update is already going on much longer than i had intended! There is just so much to say and so little time to say it.

A few other updates:
I found out that I will be posted to Kara. It is a city in the Northern portion of the country where The President of Togo (who is also a GW Alum) was born. I am SO excited to get there and start working!

All that stuff I said before I left about me not having electricty, living in a tiny village and having a mud hut. Ya, that was crap. It turns out that I am the first IT Peace Corps Volunteer to Togo. Kind of funny that no one mentioned that to me until i got here. At first i tried to fight it. I really wanted my village. After thinking about it and talking with the wonderful staff here I realised that I was brought here by the Peace Corps because of the skills that I have. As much as i want to run from it, my skills are with computers and IT. It is there that i can do the most. So it is there that i will work.

I'm going to end here. Today was a very long day with a wonderful hike up a moutain, a couple hours spent at my host fathers mechanic buisness watching the rain fall, and an amazing meal of chicken (PROTEIN). I must be off to take my bucket shower and sleep.

Please, keep asking questions and sending books. I miss you all so much!

13 comments:

Gary said...

Thanks for the skinny on cuisine. Even with all those carbs, I'm betting there aren't a whole lot of overweight Togoans. Want us to send you some peanut butter? Will it get held up in customs? Recent houseguests told us of a new product: precooked, packaged bacon. Doesn't need refrigeration. May send you some if it works out. I hope you're getting lots of pictures.

Will computer work impinge much on the peace and solitude and separation fromt the world you had hoped for? Resist the Internet and he shall flee from you! Will you be teaching IT or helping businesses get set up? Or both? And yes, it does make sense for the Peace Corps to use your skills.

One more thing: be sure to take lots of pictures at the next Togo GW Alumni Association meeting.

Gary said...

One more question: Can I give out your blog address to my Jerusalem letter readership? 'Twould widen your readership, something I would like to do, given the sorry dearth of letters pouring forth from my keyboard these days. (more are coming, I promise).

Gary said...

And, more important, I think people would love to hear about your incredible experiences in Togo.

Erock said...

Hey bro!!! Long time no talk. Im sorry to say this is the first time I have sat down and read your blog. I am hitting my self. Very cool man. I can only imagine what its like. Im kinda (kinda) jelouce.

This whole ordeal is so great. I am super happy for you. I can already tell that you are changing. It is very exciting thinking what you will be like when this is all over.

Well, doing great here. Just chillin with the fam and working. Its a swwet gig and the fam couldnt be cooler. I leave here in two weeks to head home. BEfore I get to New york, im maknig a 4 daqy pit stop in Amsterdam :) Im super stoked.

I miss you so much Aaron. I have watched our China video a couple of times and it always makes me tear up. I love spending time with you and seriously cant wait to be with you again. I will send you a package when I get back to NYC. I Think about you allot and cant wait to read more of your stories. Miss you brother

Benjamin said...

Hey Aaron,

Just wanted to let you know I'm reading! Fireworks were last night and reminded me of freshman year summer. Seems like a bazillion ago.

Glad you're well, embrace the IT!

Ben

Camelia August said...

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Camelia August said...

Aaron,

John Arpino told me yesterdat about your Blog and I am so excited to read about your experience!!!

I'll have a lot of catching up to do now....

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