Monday, April 15, 2013


Sooo... found some sweet sour skittles on sale at Citimart last week... I mean who wouldn't buy Skittles that were on sale!?!? Well, as it turns out, the reason they were on sale is because all the skittles managed to melt into one giant mutated skittle. It tastes pretty good, but it's hard to eat since I keep it in the fridge and it's like a solid rock! Still worth it though!

Yo everybody...

Interesting Africa fact to start of with this email... I know everyone back home thinks yo is just a funny slang way to great people back home, but it's actually how you greet people in éwé which means "hi". Whenever we walk into a parcel (courtyard thingie between houses where people live) people say hi (I actually have no idea what they say really) but I do know that to reply, you just reply with one big "yoooooooooooo". A little slice of home for me in a weird, fro-y way.

So the rainy season has been creeping up slowly but surely here. We're starting to get them pretty regularly every week now. Last Tuesday was crazy though. We had a Reunion de Zone and afterwards the clouds were just plain dark and the wind was starting to pick up... everyone knew that a storm was coming! We had a mangez-vous in Doumassese (Elder Owusu's old sector) and it rained tons while we ate some pretty good spaghetti and hot dog stuff. The storm ended just as we finished eating, but let me tell you, the rest of the day was absolutely glorious! It was nice and cool throughout the day because the clouds stuck around and the rain cooled everything down. If Togo was like that all the time, I would have NO problem with that. Once nighttime came around, our room was at 78 degrees and it was FREEZING!!! I had to pull out my extra sheet and actually had to sleep with a blanket... I even had to consider turning my fans down but I was too tired and the sheet helped a lot. However, as Togo can't actually get cold without any consequences, it was blazing hot the rest of the week... so the cool temperatures were very short lived. 

 Elder Owusu, Sister Juliette Asima, Brother Samson Asima, our Ami Samuel (awesome dude!), and some random yovo (he's an oddball for sure).

We had a baptism this past week, which I'm really happy for! The baptism went very well and I'm really happy about that. Things got kinda shaky the next day on Sunday. What happens is that we have to confer the Holy Ghost on either the Sunday after the baptism or the next Sunday. Or, we have to do the baptism again. Since he told us he was going to the village to see his father (who is sick) the next week, it was imperative that he was at church yesterday. We were getting pretty worried because we tried calling him and calling him right before Church started, trying to remind him to come, but he wasn't picking up his phone. When church started, we pretty much gave up all hope that he was going to be in sacrament meeting... so that bummed us out a bunch. BUT... due to some weird problems in preparing the sacrament, church ended up started a 1/2 hour late... and, as it turns out, he came into the chapel during the hymn right before his confirmation! Perfect timing!! Pretty cool how things like that work out huh?! The Lord works in mysterious ways, doesn't he?

So, on a completely different subject, I wanted to talk a little bit about one of the cooler things of Togo. People here sell tons of things just walking around with little carts or big bucket things on their heads. You can find everything from sunglasses, DVDs, FanMilk products (the ice cream stuff), cell phones, clothes (all types of clothes too)... basically anything. But... they don't just sell products but a lot of people walk around and will do random things for you. For example, during our lesson with one of our amis (who, after months of teaching finally said he wants to get baptized!) called over a guy to give him a full manicure/pedicure thing! The guy completely cleaned and cut our amis nails on both his feet and toes... all for 10 cents! It was pretty cool, but the stuff the guy was using was pretty shady and who knows how long ago it was cleaned. Still... kinda cool though! 

 Pic courtesy of Google!

There are tons of other people too! Some people walk around with sewing machines on their heads so if you need something hemmed or fixed, they are right there for you! (I can just imagine Fro doing that! Haha.) Or, if you need a shoe cobbler, they always walk around hitting a woodblock so that way you know their coming. A lot of women walk around with food too... you can get all sorts of fruits, beans, rice, bread... they can usually make you a pretty good lunch. The problem with these walking around street vendor people is that it can be hard to tell when they'll come back. Like the FanMilk guys I see multiple times a day, but other people it can be tough. Like our ami who got his nails cut apologized to us for having that done during our lesson, but he said that it might not be for another few weeks until he sees him again. So... the people walking around selling stuff is one of the cooler parts of Togo in my opinion! 

Let's see... other than that... not too many other cool things to talk about. Things are going well in terms of the work. We were tied for our second busiest week this week... so once again the prayers for a busier week worked! I would like to improve this week again, but we went from 11 lessons to 17 so I think that's a nice improvement.

For this week, I'm not really sure what I have need of. I think this week, I really want to work on speaking up during lessons and having the opportunity to teach effective lessons. A lot of times, I think I know what to say but I'm never sure when to speak up and share my thoughts because sometimes Elder Owusu just talks forever. So what would be really helpful is to be able to find the courage to speak up. Also, I think Elder Owusu has been having a tough week, so keep him in your prayers too!

Elder Shearer and I attacking each other with our homemade pingpong table! Pretty good workout considering our apartment was somewhere in the 90s with no fans on! 

Anyway, through it all, I'm doing pretty good. Through all the sweat, stained shirts, constant yovo songs, dirt, dust, and sand... I'm still alive and kicking! The time does seem to go by pretty quick though... I've gotten pretty good in getting lost as to what day of the week it is, which is a plus! Now I just gotta start letting the weeks add up and get a good amount of time under my belt.

Thanks for all the love, prayers, and emails! Fro always keeps telling me that everyone really enjoys reading my emails so I'm glad people read through all my rambling! Sometimes I write down things I want to talk about in these emails, but most of it just comes randomly, on the fly.

Got to get going now... Miss you all!

Byebyeloooo (figured if I started out with the typical Togolais greeting, might as well end it with their way of saying goodbye!)

Elder Hawkins

P.S. Thank you Mrs. Hunter for providing for my pure bliss moment of the week this week... I finally opened up that box of Lucky Charms today... my goodness... those things are even more magically delicious in Togo than in America! Oh they were sooooooooo amazing... I never knew so much joy could come out of having a full bowl of Lucky Charms in the morning haha. 

Note from the Fro: First of all, he's COLD at 78 degrees? What??  Wow, I guess he's acclimated to the heat already.  That's so crazy!  And spaghetti and hotdogs?  Oh no.  It's happening, he's becoming a true Hawkins.  Nails trimmed on the street?  Interesting.  Glad he noticed the questionable cleanliness of the instruments and didn't give it a go himself!  And no, I will not be carrying my sewing machine around on my head any time soon (quilters don't hem anyway, ask the Sur!).  I asked him about the teacher strikes going on in Togo right now.  It's kind of crazy down there at the moment, I read that over 20,000 primary, secondary and high school students marched on Thursday to support their teachers on strike!  He said: Our 2nd counselor is actually a teacher and is on strike. The reason they're striking? They haven't gotten a pay raise since 1969 fro! I'm surprised they haven't gone on strike earlier!!  Aside from the one time we saw them marching on the main road, we really don't see much of the protests. Because there's a public school surrounding the apartment, the mornings are so peaceful and lovely for personal study now that they're on strike. So I don't mind the strike at all! 

P.S. Notice the new countdown widget on the sidebar?  Countdown to Mother's Day...woohoo, less than a month away!

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