YovoTogo Diary 2018 (Episode 5)

Saterday October 27.

We spend the day in Dapaong.

We pick up Émilie et Marie-Jo (they are sponsored by our association) at the Mô-Fant boarding high school of Dapaong, to basically take a walk to the town market. Like every year we use this opportunity to buy them few things to improve their daily lives. This time, we give them some cash that we let them manage by their own, and thus, they walk from one shop to another, browse the street stalls, and buy cleansing and care products, bags of vegetables, some “gari” (kind of breakfast cassava porridge), buckets and other utensils …

Jean-Marie and Claude will dare to taste the fried caterpillars, in front of amused street vendors. Well, you need to really appreciate the nutritious virtues they are supposed to bring to your body, because according to our friends, there is a long way to go, from the taste point of view …

Then we walk to the snack-bar where we meet Afo, the JUMP Lab’Orione FabLab manager and his 3 years old son. Then Émilie’s mother and uncle are joining us to take a picture of the whole group. There is a lot of guests during this day of market and the service is rather slow. We take this long waiting time to further communicate with the young girls, and then, after lunch, we bring them back to the high school.

Next, we take the direction of the “Yendube Children Hospital” staffed by the Sisters of the Hotel-Dieu. The Director Sister receives us and also accepts to guide us through the institution she manages, and where many children are hospitalized.

Back to Bombouaka where we spend the evening with the teenagers of the Father Sebastien lounge, who had prepared a meal with the food we brought them, according to their own shopping list. A warm and friendly evening together, extended by the traditional “dust ball”, conducted by Isaac, the DJ of this event.

Sunday October 28.

Devoting this morning to sport, with the disabled young people of the Father Sebastien lounge of the Saint Louis Orione Center of Bombouaka : the association hands over a tennis table, together with some equipments like rackets, balls, nets, score panels, as well as sport clothes collected and donated by a couple of associations in La-Roche-Sur-Yon, city of Vendée.

The afternoon is dedicated to the Women Leaders of Tandjouaré (AFL-Tan). These women put together their energy to raise funds to finance the local micro-credit. They manufacture in group the Néré mustard and liquid soap. Their main revenue is the contribution of 2 000 FCFA (3.05 €) per month and the interest on the loans. These three-months loans , are renewable as soon as they are repaid, and are mainly used for health care, children’s schooling, and starting up a new activity to generate some profits. Marie-Paule is a member of this group since several years and was recently joined by Françoise, Clémence and Isabelle.

A communication concerning feminine hygiene and honey patches received a great deal of attention. It was also an opportunity to dance and share Togolese local dishes, accompanied by some Tchapalo (kind of Sorghum bear).

Monday October 29.

We meet very early with Georges MOUTORE, secretary-general of the OCDI (Charity Organization for an Complete Development) Caritas Togo of Dapaong, and like several years now, we give to him the collection of 2 000 eye glasses, which then will be calibrated, indexed and refurbished for the most disadvantaged people, by César BOUKONTI, the technician of the “Light Road” optical workshop in the Dapaong hospital.

Today we make our last visit to a family where disabled children are monitored by the Center. We go to Christine’s and Merveille’s places.

Christine consulted the first time at the Center in May 2016. It resulted from this visit that she suffers from a tetraplegia and a lateral decubitus. This girl is very smart and despite her disability she goes to the local high school of her village. She cannot seat down, but the Center gave her a chair more or less adapted to her handicap, which enables her to attend school. She is also very nice girl, but she needs a lifetime assistance, because she does not have the capability to carry out activities of daily living. However, she speaks correctly and stubbornly refuses to go back to the Center, and prefers living within her family. It is a very complex situation to manage, for both the family and the Center following her.

Merveille suffers from a bilateral equinus foot deformity, a congenital handicap. In a first step she received successive cast corrections, and then she was operated during a mission of orthopedic and plastic surgeons, organized in 2008 by the ” Saint Louis Orione” Center. She was hosted in October 2012 in the “Padre Pio Village” boarding school of the Center, for a better care of her education. Today she is 11 years old, she walks almost normally, and attend the high school with no difficulty at all.

Tuesday October 30.

The project, including assembly, welding, painting and finishing touches, being completed, at 8 PM this morning, the young guys of the welding workshop rush to bring their art works on the intended location in the Don Orione Center. Previously, they had loaded a cart with red sand which is then spread out on the floor to install their works.

Unanimously, this set of art works is called “Back to the fields”. A villager on his bike, another standing up, and an imaginary little animal, form this original scene …

Finally, each other in turn, or all together, they pose for a picture next to their designs. 

It is a very positive feed-back : the young welder and Maxime thank me with drawings and words which, most of them, carry happiness and self-appreciation values for having learned how to make and discovered now things.

They expressed their wish : the design project must continue. And, in return, I also learned a lot about their way of life and their daily work, with their own means …

Jean Marie

In the mean time … After the completion of the various job descriptions, we organized a well appreciated meeting with the nursing staff and the physiotherapists, to propose a new work organization. This could allow a continuous attendance in the Center, a better monitoring of the histed people and the optimization of the individual support.

Then we exchange ideas with Father Pierre, about the Center operations (work organization, management, children of the Cottolengo lounge , security issues, etc.) and we explore ways to improve. This meeting unveiled the necessity and the desire to change the current practices.


Together with Tchaou and Maurice, in the social service.


Extracts from : Voyage de solidarité 2018 de nos amis de YovoTogo

Image Source : YovoTogo