September 2009

We crossed two continents and landed in Togo, a tiny country in West Africa. We had never been to Africa before and were happy that Togo had a little bit of a Louisiana feel: hot, humid, and very colorful.

Here we are on Stacy’s feet, at the port of Lomé where we were supposed to get a tour of an American ship offshore. But, as we quickly found out, things don’t always go as planned when in Togo. So we didn’t get to see the ship.

Here is the Togolese version of McDonald’s: Al Donald’s. Notice there is only one arch on each side instead of two. Things in Togo were never quite right, or never what we were used to, at least, which made it that much more endearing.

This is the Grand Marché (Big Market) on a Sunday when most of the vendors are closed. A majority of the streets in Togo are still dirt roads, the buildings stand precariously, and the average Togolese must toil day in and day out to eek out a living. They are very generous and kind people in spite of such difficult living conditions.

This sweet little girl’s mother sold us some fruits and vegetables. It was the child’s job to carry the produce to the buyer’s car. Education is only free up to the third grade. After that, if parents cannot afford private education, children must work to help support the family.

We were treated to an impromtu concert in the Grand Marché as this drummer-vendor tried to sell us this drum. We bought it.

This dapper fellow is Stacy Lyn’s husband Norm. He flipped the traditional hat to the right to tell the ladies that he is already married.

A mother continues her work in the Village Artisanal as her baby takes a nap on her back. No strollers, swings, and daycare centers in Togo: Babies go to work with mothers.

On her way to the market, this woman carries her wares – and the table on which she will place them for sale. It is not uncommon to see folks transport their things this way.

Togo is a strange, yet familiar place. We Socks traveled around a lot while we were there, and we invite you to join us next time we reminisce about this country with a beautiful soul.

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