13 September 2006
1. An actual lantern. It was a gift from the University of Pittsburgh during a welcoming ceremony. Who knew it would come in handy?
2. Eagles teddy bear. Because soccer just isn't the same. *sigh*
3. My U2 hoodie. Now, the temperature may never drop into the seventies while I'm there, but it's the same as a security blanket to me. All about comfort. Only Maeg and Shelly would understand the joy of gay men dancing.
4. Christmas music. I adore Christmas, and Christmas music is one of my favorite things about the season. So, I'm bringing it along.
5. Wildwood camera-telescope keychains. They remind me of old friends and great times, and I'll bet they don't have anything like them in Togo.
6. My Live 8 pass. It's something small to hang up in my house to serve as a reminder of how decent people can be, even in Philly in 90 degree weather with little shade. "Free hugs!"
I'm sure I'll wind up stuffing a few other things in my bag at the last second, but these ones are all ready to go.
31 August 2006
"Togo's numerous pressing development challenges have increased in recent years due to political and economic instability. A significant percentage of Togo's rural population lives in extreme poverty. Less than 30 percent of the female population has the opportunity for education or training that can equip them to participate in the development of their communities. AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases continue to increase at an alarming rate, with HIV infection estimated to be at nine percent of the adult population. Deforestation and other forms of environmental degradation are worsening as the country's growing population places increased demands on its natural resource base. The Peace Corps works to promote self-sufficiency in the areas of business and micro-enterprise development, environment, health, and education."
My specific program:
"A new Girls' Education and Empowerment Project was launched in 2000. Volunteers work closely with village development committees, schools, and parents to devise and implement solutions to promote improved access to, and quality of, education for girls. In addition, Volunteers help teachers revise lesson plans, adopt more hands-on and inclusive teaching techniques, and encourage female students to continue their studies."
Some facts about Togo:
Population Average: 5,000,000 (roughly the same as the state of Minnesota)
Languages spoken: Bassar, Cotocolis, Ewe, French, Gourma, Ife (Ana), Kabiye, Komkonba, Moba, Tchamba, Tchokossi, Tem (There are more than 60 different ethnic groups in Togo!)
Togo is 4 hours ahead of Philadelphia. Right now. It changes to 5 hours when we turn our clocks back.
You could fit the entire nation of Togo inside Pennsylvania. Twice.
22 August 2006
Countdown: 27 days until Staging
Song of the Moment: "Lola"-The Kinks