December 2009

Stacy Lyn took us to Sodo, Togo for an afternoon of visiting local schools. The village chief spearheaded a project to build new school benches for the children, and he generously offered to take us on a tour.

At every stop, the schools’ PTA’s wanted to share a cup of wine with us – Togo style.

They offered their home-brewed palm wine.
The containers they used to store the wine were of questionable quality
(for instance, an old oil jug).

The milky white wine was served in plastic cups.
More often than not, bugs and other unidentifiable critters
were hanging out in the wine.

But Stacy Lyn is a good sport,
and she merrily pretended to drink with the PTA.
Then she posed for a picture with us on one of the old school benches.

This PTA offered to share a midday repast with us,
but we had to press onward to the next school.
So, they gave us our meal for the road –
a live chicken that they would have cooked for us had we the time to spare.

Curious children always wandered in to see who the “yovo” was.
(I think they might also have been impressed by us,
Stacy Lyn’s astounding pair of Traveling Socks!

Each PTA also gave Stacy Lyn a bottle of palm wine to take home with her.
This is no ordinary wine, and the gas in the wine needed to be released from time to time,
otherwise the bottle would have exploded.
So, on the way back to Lomé, Stacy Lyn constantly had to open then reclose the bottles in order to avoid a catastrophe!

Happily, we completed our adventure in one piece, a little richer –
not just because we were the proud owner of a chicken and a few bottles of palm wine –
but because we were able to share a day with interesting people
in a little-known part of the world.

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