Monday, April 29, 2013

These People are Somehow Happy! Despite the Pate!

Alright... so this week was pretty normal as usual... but I want to start with a little photo story. Hopefully with the Fro's blogging skills, she can get this to look pretty with the photos!

Pate: How to make it, eat it, and "enjoy it"

Step 1: Be prepared at all times for members to ask you to make pate. And just so you know, pate is literally just boiling water stirred with corn flour. Nothing else... that's why it's pretty miserable to eat. But nonetheless, I'm happy and ready to help make it! 

Step 2: Pull up your pants, get in a good squatting position, and let your arms do all the work. It's all about spinning it and getting all the air pockets out... and also so that it doesn't burn on the pot. A lot of times it kinda climbs up as they spin it... so what they do is they dip their hands in water and just skim their hands along the ring of the pot (which is scorching hot) to keep the pate from spilling over. 

As I really didn't have the desire to burn my finger tips off, I let our hosts do that. Oh yeah... and Elder Shearer helped spin a little to... apparently he had better technique than I did because he wasn't spinning it as hard as I was, but I didn't want to look weak so I let my strength loose! POWER!

Step 3: This is the finished product. I'll talk about the actual eating process in the next steps.

Step 4: Grab a handful of scorching hot pate. Usually the outside is pretty good, but as you work your way inside that monsterous glob, it gets, well, scorching hot... which you can tell from my face and how I'm trying to roll it around in my hand to cool it down. I made the grave error of touching the pate with my left hand though... you never use your left hand (just grab the pate and dip it in the sauce with your right hand) because, remember? It's supposed to be the hand you wipe your behind with... yes, that really is the reason. It's considered rude and really, it just makes both your hands messy instead of just one.

Step 5: Scoop up some sauce (it can vary from disgustingly awful to bearable). This is what really gets your hand super messy and dirty. It's all good though because they give you a bucket of water and soap to wash your hands in before and after the meal.

Step 6: Enjoy some deliciousness! Honestly, you can't even imagine that you're eating a hamburger or a hoagie. You just gotta take it for what it's worth. People literally eat this stuff for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I honestly cannot think of a more depressing meal routine... but these people are somehow happy! Despite the pate!

Sooo... that's the story for this week. Hope that little story gave everyone a little glimpse of what my life is here in Togo!

Things have been going good though! We had a baptism this week with Davide, who is actually the brother to Kodjo (who I baptized last month). He's a pretty awesome dude and really loves the gospel! Our branch has been really struggling with membership retention so we've been working with the inactives and the recent converts a lot this week. We'll be having two baptisms coming up this week, so that's good, but I think they'll be the last ones for a while now. Really, our focus is trying to get this branch up and going since it was just made at the beginning of the year. I'm also sending a picture of Davide, our latest baptism... it drives me nuts that Africans don't smile in their photos!!!! Elder Owusu does, but all the Togolais don't! It totally doesn't do Davide justice because whenever we see him, he always has this great big smile on! I don't even recognize him with a frown.

So rainy season? Not sure what people are talking about. There was a HUGE rain storm last Wednesday morning or something. It lasted for like 6 hours (the streets are still flooded of course) but that's it. It's been hot and humid as usual. I'm hoping it starts raining more because the day after that big rain storm was very nice. It was pretty muggy but it was 10 degrees cooler than usual so when the wind blew, it felt like A/C!
I'm sending a few other pictures home. One of them is a picture of fruit and stuff... just wanted to show you the buying power of two dollars here. And I also wanted to show off my amazing Guacomole, which I've been eating semi-regularly over the past two weeks. Gotta say... I make some pretty good Guac... so watch out when I get back home. That whole bowl and the fruit is included in my $2 spending spree.

Also sending a pic of Elder Welsh, me, Elder Read, and Elder Landeen. We're kinda unofficially known as the baptism four because (since we're all junior companions) our comps make us come to the baptismal service every week, even if we don't have one lol... so basically, you can always bet to find us at the baptism. We had to take a picture together since transfers were coming up... but anyway, got to know these guys really well.

Let's see... what else, what else... well nothing much else! The language has its ups and downs as always, but that's pretty much how it is every week. I really need you guys to pray for the gift of tongues this week! Also, me and Elder Owusu were really struggling this week in terms of our companionship. I don't know if something has been wrong with him lately, but he hasn't been talking much this past week. The past few days have been somewhat better, but we'll see how things go. Since he's stuck with me for another transfer (ie 6 weeks) we're gonna have to work through it. So, the gift of tongues and companionship help is really all I need. 

Alright, I know it's hard to believe that I didn't have a lot of time to write my email this week due to the length of this monster, but I've got to get going now! (Pate-making cut into our time at the Cyber as Fro will tell you...) Thanks to everyone who emailed me and thanks for the prayers and support. 


Elder Hawkins, pate master

Note from the Fro:Yes, I was a little panicky when he wasn't at the Cyber when he usually it.  But all is well, and we got a lesson on pate-making!  Raise your hand if you're going to try this delicious dish this week???!  Um. Yeah, not raising my hand.  But I'll be happy to make guacamole! I asked him about transfers, he said: 

Turns out Elder Kunz will be coming into my zone so I'll be seeing him more often! And, because his comp is the District Leader, he will get to come over on splits and stay for a day at my apartment! (since the Zone Leaders are the ones who do splits and live in my apartment!)

Actually got to see him and Elder Gunderson today. Citimart was closed today (no idea why but it was just for the day... of all days!). So me, Elder Shearer, Kunz, and Gunderson went to another place that sells mostly french products (so... it's kinda okay but didn't get the stuff I usually get). They're doing good, but I'm glad Elder Kunz is coming into my zone as well as Elder Welsh who I saw often before but I'll see him regularly again. Nothing is changing for me, but all is well. We're doing good.

Let's hope he and Elder Owusu can hold out another 6 weeks!  
Prayers are welcome, as always.

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