Sunday, June 5, 2011

K to O

K: Kids

People have way too many kids in Togo. Here’s a quote from a teacher that sort of sums up the situation: “Here, people might have fifteen kids. It’d be good if they would only have five.” When five is an improvement, there’s a long way to go.

L: Latrine/Lome

Latrine: A muggy, mosquito-infested poophole where volunteers do their business.

Lome: The capitol of Togo. A muggy, mosquito-infested poophole where volunteers do their business.

M: Malaria

Malaria is a big problem here. It’s difficult to get people to believe that mosquitoes give them malaria, because they might not speak French, and may have no conception of how a disease works. Their understanding of diseases is mostly symptomatic, and because malaria has the same symptoms as basically every other run of the mill disease, there are all sorts of things that are believed to give you malaria here. Take for instance, eating too many mangoes, being in the sun, or working too hard in the field. All these things can make you feel shitty in much the same way that malaria can, and consequently, are often viewed as the causes of malaria here.

N: Neem Tree

The Neem Tree is an awesome tree that contains a powerful insecticide in its leaves and seeds. It can be used as a pesticide on crops, a preservative on stored grain, and in mosquito repellants. It grows incredibly well here in Togo. Unfortunately, it was brought here from India by German colonialists, and no one here knows any of this. It goes unused despite it’s status in India as a “miracle tree.”

O: Ou bien?

Ou bien is a phrase that means “Or what?” It’s used to signify that you’re asking a question, it’s a sort of verbal tick here like saying “like” over and over again, and it also can be used to ask something like, “Am I right, or am I right?”

1 comment:

  1. So are you pooping in holes ou bien?

    P.S. my mom read your blog and likes it a lot