Millicent – First Impressions

The last ten days or so since we have arrived in Togo have been more or less an adjustment period to Togo itself. Coming here from Paris has certainly been an interesting experience. All of a sudden I’m suddenly forced to assimilate to completely different environment. While the two countries may share the same language, they are as vastly different as can be. While Paris was classically beautiful in its meticulous attention to detail and Parisians aloof and for the most part unfriendly to foreigners, Farende can boast rugged and unassuming type of beauty and the locals themselves are warm and welcoming. It’s physically impossible to walk down the street without having an adult or a child (oftentimes naked) greeting you. I’ve found the greetings to be quite complicated especially when people diverge from the only greetings that I do; so I’ve developed the habit of saying yo or alafia whenever in doubt.

The pace of life here is also something that will take getting used to since for the past several months I’ve become accustomed to the fast pace of  city life: Here, life moves at a decidedly slower pace and no one is in much of a rush. This is perfectly and hilariously exemplified by the fact that people here are perpetually late for events. And while I can boast that the cultural shift won’t be as drastic for me as it might be for the other students, given that I am West African, there are certain things that will take getting used to, namely the lack of luxuries such as Wi-Fi and indoor plumbing that I have come to think are integral to my well-being, when they in fact they were nothing more than the amenities of a privileged life. Fortunately for me, I’ve been lucky enough to have electricity in my homestead chez Marie, which I think will help to make the transition that much easier.


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