Thursday, December 10, 2009

Market Day in Kougnohou

By the time I was up, it was apparent that I was the laziest person in all of Togo (though how I slept so well in such a hard bed, I don't know.) Our entire pile of clothing had been washed, Ortencia had made breakfast, and there was a boy outside in the yard who had cut down pretty much all the growing things. I was treated to oatmeal with melted chocolate and bananas in it and after that was over, my sewing showed up. For the first time in a couple of days I was wearing completely clean clothes, with no rips in them, after a warm bucket shower (Ortencia heated the water up both mornings we were at her place and it was really, really nice.) Hilariously Ortencia was wearing a dress that matched her sofa - the dress was made with the leftover material back when she had the sofa cushions made.

Friday is Market Day in Kougnohou and that was our plan - to go to the market. It's very much a see and be seen sort of experience. I bought some panya (local cloth) and belly beads to bring back as my gift to the PMS Hash. We drank chuck, which is a fermented beverage of some sort, and ate sodja, tofu with very spicy sauce. After that, we decided to go visit Komi, in a village nearby. We went home first and there was a big debate about our laundry - we were leaving the next day and we wanted everything to be dry. The debate was over whether or not we should move the clothes inside or leave them out to finish drying, but risking that it might rain while we were gone. They were almost dry and there were possible storm clouds... We decided to risk it.

We took motos to Kotora and the view was incredibly beautiful. If there had been a way to take photos, I certainly would have. Being in the mountains of Togo really is perfection. Minus the fact that I was not wearing a bra that was at all ready for roads that bumpy and it started to rain. When we arrived, Komi wasn't in his room, but a small boy offered to go get him while we waited. A large group of children gathered to stare at us and one of the babies was quite scared of us. When Komi arrived, we chatted in a mix of English and French, before going for a walk around the village.

The village was in preparations for a big funeral that night. As a result, the village was quite busy, with guests arriving and people out cooking and getting ready. We walked around greeting everyone we met. The kids all wanted to shake hands, though I did manage to scare another baby as well. We were invited to sit in a gazebo and drink some boxed sangria with some of the older men, one of whom was Komi's uncle. More and more children kept showing up to shake hands.

Komi's younger brother and a friend were enlisted to drive us back to Ortencia's village by moto. It was a much nicer ride - I suspect because Komi insisted that they drive very carefully. So, when the rain started, they insisted we stop and take shelter at a compound along the way. That seemed a good idea, as we wanted to go to the bathroom. The family pointed out the shower room and as I came out, there was a little girl standing there. She held her arms up, so I picked her up. She immediately stole my glasses and put them on. The rain stopped for a bit and so we set off again, though it did drizzle for most of the ride home, which is why we got to see a beautiful rainbow and then a sunset highlighting the trees against the mountains.

When we arrived back, it was almost after dark. A man working with Ortencia dropped by and as she talked to him, I watched the end of the sunset and lightening flashing. We walked with her coworker to see his new offices, though since there were no electric lights, I wasn't able to see much. We went to the Marche just as it was closing to grab some bread and onions and then went home to hang our now soaking wet laundry inside.

When we went to bed, electricity was still on. However, once 11 p.m. hit the loud TV in a nearby compound was finally quiet and I could hear the funeral band in the distance - it's an odd change in culture to think of a funeral being the most happening place in town. Oddly, I spent the night dreaming not of the snakes that Ortencia kept mentioning, but oddly of being attacked by a bear.

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