Saturday October 28, 2017
This is a rest day in Bombouaka before we leave tomorrow to drive back to Sokodé. We run some errands in Dapaong, wash the car, meet with the team in charge of the Don Orione Center, exchanging fraternal and reciprocal thanks, before we take one last picture with the whole staff. Some moments of joy with the children, who – like every year – hand to us little notes, touching drawings, and we really feel like being home, but we must leave now.
Patrick runs the last computer training session with the JUMP Lab’Orione group, and then it’s time to meet Richard and Barthelemy in the little bar across the street. After the evening diner we go back to Dapaong to retrieve from Martine the TVT video clip featuring the story about our actions broadcast yesterday by the national TV channel. Then we attend the election of the leader of the teenager’s residence, followed by the official donation of the fridge and the TV set we offered them to improve their lodging conditions within the boarding school.
It is time for the final goodbyes, and we say that in order to come back, we must – first of all – go away. Tomorrow we will wake up very early to hit the road to the South. We thank the management, the staff and the professionals of the Center for their hospitality and for our very good lodging conditions which allow us to complete all out projects during these 15 days in the savanna. Thanks also for their friendly good mood despite the harsh reality of life and which often made our weariness fly away. Again a lot of thanks, and see you next year.
Sunday October 29, 2017
We leave the center at 5:30 PM and head toward Sokodé where Yobé and his family are waiting for us. During the first kilometer we can enjoy the sunrise over the savanna. The journey takes 4 hours, including few necessary stops. On our arrival we are very happy to meet again with Madeleine, Yobé and the kids, as well as Yawo, another Rotarian, who owns the service station in town. We share a chicken fufu with peanut sauce, and washed down with a good French wine, just to remember that our departure is now imminent. After lunch we chat with Sokodé who is visiting us, and bear the stigma of the latest stormy demonstrations of last week, during with several protesters and servicemen were killed. Official buildings like gendarmerie and police stations, banks, telephone companies etc. were totally burnt down and destroyed. It is a heartache to see a people that we love so much, and incidentally so warm and friendly welcoming, to tear itself apart and to kill each other like that in reaction against their government.
Then we hit the road again with Yobé and Yawo toward Asrama in the Highlands region, were we will open tomorrow new computer training room, the 5th during our stay. In the evening Yawo take us to his brother, managing director of the “Cradle” hotel in Notsé, where we have diner before we reach the “Garcia” lodge, managed by the Asrama county chief, where we meet with Kossivi and Elias, and where a comfortable bed is waiting for us.
Monday October 30, 2017
This morning occurs the hand over ceremony for the 5th computer training room of our stay. As usual the Asrama high-school is in festive mood a all the VIP are present : the Principal, the teachers of course, the reverend, the prefecture Secretary General, the head of the gendarmerie, the secondary education responsible, the county chief, the traditional village leaders etc. It is very hot out there, and fortunately the ceremony is taking place under the trees. Alternately speeches follow each other, interleaved by musical interludes played by a folk group of women and high-school students. Eric, president of the France-Togo association is present with his son Thierry. It is Yawo, from the Tandjouaré Dapaong Rotary Club, who facilitated this donation for the school he has been attending in the past. The 20 allocated computers are placed in a temporary room while a brand new computer room is being build, under the initiatives of the Principal together with the county chief. And this room should be equipped with solar panels. Then a reception takes place at the second floor of the county chief’s lodge where fraternity and friendship will accompany the lunch during which each group will perform Togolese and French songs. The afternoon is devoted to resting before we meet again for the evening diner prepared by Yawo’s sister which consists of a fermented corn dough with a manioc flavor coming from the leaves it is wrapped in, and a cold sauce of tomatoes, onions and peppers on the side. And fore the drinks, some excellent beers ranging from Lager to Eku, Pils, Flag, Awooyo and even Guiness. This was another very nice day, full of meets, exchanges and friendship, whose YovoTogo and the Tandjouaré-Dapaong Rotary Club are very fond of.
Tuesday October 31, 2017
Today is the last opening ceremony for the 6th computer training room completed this year. We are in Agbélouvé, at the North of the maritime region, in a high-school populated with 1928 students (707 girls and 1221 boys), and 28 teachers, among which 5 women and 8 volunteers, paid by the parental contributions. This institution, like the Asrama’s one, is planning to build a brand new training room to permanently host the computers. The ceremony is presided by the county chief, a warm and cordial charismatic figure, when the Secondary Education Regional Director is also present, as well as the representative Joseph A. K. Dzene who is in charge of the Togolese “Chamber of Commerce and Industry” and member of the Lomé-Lumière Rotary Club. It is another Rotarian, Paul Kopoudi, director of the Education for the Savannah Region, who worked hard for the achievement of this project in his home village. Here, in West Africa in general and more specifically in Togo, everybody remains very attached to his family and to his home village. During his speech, the county chief called a student and asked him to remind the audience of the motto driving him. The boy stated clearly : “A child does not live his life, a child creates his life”. Talking directly to them, the county chief recalls that these computers hold a Wikipedia file rich of 1.6 Million entries concerning all kind of domains and accessible without Internet connexion, as well as a full array of educational programs. He also stresses the fact that the only thank expected by the donors is an increase in their exam success ratio. We are then invited for a lunch at the home of the representative Joseph Dzene, who manages himself the meal service and during which Patrick presents our projects in the North Region.
Then we hit the road toward Lormé to spend the night with Kossivi. We are a bit tired but pleased with the work accomplished and which will continue for the Tandjouaré-Dapaong Rotary Club and the JUMP Lab’Orione in charge of the training rooms follow-up, for YovoTogo in charge of the training and maintenance, and for Emmabuntüs for the refurbishing and transportation of over 100 computers during year 2018.
Wednesday November 1st, 2017
We share our breakfast with Yobé and Arsène before their respective departures for Sokodé and Kara. Then we are joined by Eric, from the France-Togo organization, and his son Thierry, who brought us pastries very similar to the French ones. After that, Alain Kini and Richard, who are doing some shopping in town, pay us a visit before heading to Bombouaka. We then wander around the neighborhood, but we are defeated by the sun and the air temperature, and a strategic retreat toward the shade and the fans is clearly needed. We spend most of the afternoon on the beach, where the air is cooler and we go back to Kossivi’s home for the evening meal.
Thursday November 2nd, 2017
Today we have two appointments on our agenda to close our stay. The first one is a meeting with the leaders of the Togo Humanitarian Projects, partner of ENACTUS Science Po Lille, to implement a project of building a Sociocultural Center in the Amassoukopé village. This project will include a computer room, thanks to the supply by spring 2018 of 10 to 20 computers refurbished under Emmabuntüs. In the afternoon, we go to the Woélab of Lomé to meet with its leader-founder Sénamé Koffi Agdodjinou. We present our various actions and the FabLab-OrthoLab project in Dapaong to the members who are present, and Patrick made a presentation of his operating system which generates a slew of questions.
Friday November 3rd, 2017
Last moments to taste the Togolese atmosphere before we return back home. Last calls to the friends, who are more and more numerous on this continent.
This is the end of the 2017 Solidarity Journey, and like Marie-Paule says it here : “Togo is … Great !”.
Thanks for having followed us this far, and see you next year !
The original French post of this article can be found here , courtesy of our friend Ordinosor, which was itself written after the diary of the 2017 solidarity journey of our YovoTogo friends friends : https://www.yovotogo.fr/nos-voyages-solidaires/2017/