Monday, July 22, 2013

Inside The Mind From an American in Lome

My hipster pic of the week. Had a little extra time with my scriptures.

(So this week, I thought I would be a little creative and wanted to help people back home know the things I think about while I walk through the streets of Lome. Now, I'm not really sure how this is going to turn out so bear with me... but here we go!)

Keys? Check. Handkerchief? Dang it... where is my handkerchief?

Goes back into room and looks through my armoir.

dirty... dirty... dirty... where is my last clean one?!?! Oh well, guess a handkerchief with a little blood and sweat never hurt anybody. 

Returns to the living room.

Pamphlets? Check. Wallet? Check. Change. Check. Alright, looks like I'm all set to go. 

Walks out to the porch, prays with companion, walks down to the door and then goes out and locks door behind

Dang it! Why the heck does my comp never wait for me?! He knows I have to lock the door behind me. I swear he runs while I lock the door and my back is away from him. I look ridiculous fast walking in my white shirt and black dress pants. 

Fast walks to catch up to companion. 

Wow, let the sweating begin. Glad I brought my handkerchief. I don't think handkerchiefs are supposed to feel greasy before you use them, but... ehhh... I don't really care. If there's one thing I've learned from the Togolais, it's that you gotta work with what you got.

Huge 1930s French diesel semi-truck chugs by with huge plumes of black smoke coming out the exhaust. 

Case and point. 

Finally make it down to the end of the street. Busy paved road to cross now.

If Fro ever had to see the kinds of streets I had to cross every day, I think it would just about kill her. Probably shouldn't tell her that most moto driver's don't have licenses either because there's no way a cop here could ever pull over a moto driver. 

Makes mental note not to tell Fro about crazy Togolais drivers and busy streets. Knows that forgetting this mental note is inevitable. Crosses street.

Alright! Another successful crossover! 

Keeps walking. Sees burning trash pile.

Okay, first of all... why are they burning their trash in mid-afternoon?! That's so not Togo-like. Ugh crap... gonna have to hold my breath through this cloud of smoke. 

Takes deep breath and courageously walks through, hoping to make it through the smoke without breathing. Fails.

AGHHHHHH!!! GOSH!!! GROSS!!!!!!!! That was definitely a little bit of burning hair, rubber, and then who knows what. I'm sorry but I'm pretty sure that whiffing second hand smoke in New York City everyday is safer than inhaling this stuff. At least I'll know how I got lung cancer if I ever do! 

Hears first of many "yovo, yovo bon soir" chants

You know, I actually feel more bad for my companion. He's not even white but he has to hear that every day, just like me! I think it was Elder Mukenga or somebody who told me that people sing it to the missionaries even when there isn't a white missionary! Oh kids... that reminds me that I need to ask Fro to send me some vampire teeth. Haha... that would be soo funny. Go up to a kid singing yovo yovo bon soir and then just show them crazy vampire teeth to scare them off! Oh kids... 

Finally makes it into sector

Ahhh... nothing like walking 15-20 minutes just to get to your sector! It must be weird living in your actual sector. Maybe one day President will bless me with being able to live in my sector. Or maybe he thinks I need to lose weight and therefore puts me in sectors that are super far from the apartments.

Suspicions arise. Walks past candy stand.

Okay, I'll give the Togolais one thing... they definitely do not hide where to get candy! Maybe President is aware of my sweat tooth and knows I need to walk off the calories. 

Buys freaking awesome milk/chocolate lollipops. Intends to share with others, but will most likely forget. Arrives at first rendez-vous. 

I won't lie, I do love the Togolais tradition of offering water to guests. You know, at first I was hesitant of drinking water out of little 500 mL bags, but... gotta say it's pretty cool. Now that I think about it, the Togolais drink everything out of little bags... beesap, their weird maize/barely drink... even Fanice! Gosh Fanice is awesome... it's like soft serve in a bag... ughhh... so good. Sometimes I think I'll miss it when I go home, but honestly... there's real ice cream made out of actual cream, not powdered milk back home! Still Fanice is amazing.

Starts lesson off by a prayer. Answers a few random questions about whether or not respecting Voodoo customs is breaking the 10 commandments because apparently taking off one's shoes before entering someone's house comes from Voodoo. 

Okay... I'm not really sure where people get some of these questions but it's cool... gives me something to write about in my journal!

Starts teaching lesson. 

Gosh I really hope these people understand me through my weird American/French accent. 

Lesson goes out according to plan, which is introducing the Book of Mormon. 

You know, I've got to admit... I really do love teaching about of the Book of Mormon. There's just a spirit about teaching from it that comes from nothing else on Earth. You know, now I realize that no matter what language barrier I face, whether that be my ability to communicate French or their ability to understand French, the Spirit I feel from teaching people about the Book of Mormon is undeniable. It's amazing to see these people gain the same testimony that I have gained of the Book of Mormon. It's just crazy to think how people gain such a powerful testimony of it. But then again, when you know the message inside is true and when you really think about it being another testimony of Jesus Christ, it's actually not that hard to believe.

Lesson finishes up. Closing prayer is said. On to the next lesson.

Alright, one lesson down, 4 more to go... oh gosh, I just hope they're there! 

Hears Yovo, Yovo bon soir again.


Day goes semi-according to plan. Most lessons fall through, but the few members in the sector help to fill the gaps in the day's schedule. Still had to do door-to-door contacting. As night has fallen, starts walking back to the apartment. 

Ahhh... another day accomplished. Oh jeez, what in the world am I going to eat?! I already had my bean sandwich this afternoon for lunch... ugh... that means mac and cheese with hotdogs again. There are only so many times I can eat that... I mean it's good but it gets pretty boring. I did buy all that rice to dry my camera in... I guess I could try to cook that... arghhh but that requires actual thinking in figuring out how to make rice taste good. I'll save that for another day. Mac 'n' cheese it is. Gosh dangit.

Arrives to the apartment. Greets doorman in Ewe as usual.

I wonder if he'll ever figure out that all I know how to say is thank you, how are you and I'm doing good in Ewe. I guess I also know how to say shut up and I'm going to hit you, but I'm not sure how I can bring those up in a conversation with him. 

Does planning. Prays. Makes mac 'n' cheese. Writes in journal. Talks to Elder Haggard about how much of a hipster he is. Takes shower. Says nightly prayer. Turns on fan. Closes mosquito net. Closes eyes. Thinks about America. Misses America. Misses Philadelphia. Misses home. But, misses family the most. Then realizes that despite all that, this time in Togo really have been, are, and will be the best two years. Goes to sleep.


Love you all!

Elder Hawkins

Note from the Fro: Note to self: send vampire teeth.

Pix from this week:

Found some cool bushes while waiting at the church

So....Saturday there will be huge elections going on for the legislature. So, I'm not sure why they picked our road but we've had tons of demonstrations come through our road. At first you'll hear tons of motos honking their horns and then you'll see a bunch of random crazy people spilling out of a van or sometimes a freaking brass band packed inside a van. I've also seen random vans with huge, huge speakers strapped on their roofs and driving around. It's kind of crazy and I can see why Togo is known for being a bit politically crazy.

My cool pine ties!!!! Pretty sweat huh? Got a sister in the Group to make me them. I know Fro is jealous.

A cool shot from the roof of the apartment overlooking Lome. I took a panorama but not sure the internet connection will cooperate with me today.

No comments:

Post a Comment