So, I left Friday morning to fly to New York. I may have mentioned before that I didn't know anyone going into this trip other than my leader but I quickly met Darren here in Tampa and so by the time I boarded the plane I already knew my first friend (little did I know, one week later he'd be reviving me at the boarder crossing and become my lifesaver).
We flew from Tampa to New York where we met the rest of our team and after a long period of waiting boarded a flight from JFK to Accra, Ghana. After landing in Ghana we would travel over 5 hours by bus (with 2 stops to fill out border paperwork) - finally arriving in Togo on Saturday night.
Sunday we attended church, locally. You all would have loved my trying to sing along the in the local language (note the hymnal below)...
We spent Monday - Thursday on our building project. To give you an idea of our day - we woke at 5 am, did a quiet time, had a cup of coffee, and was on the work-site by 6 am. We'd work 6 am- 8 am and then break for breakfast. Work from breakfast to lunch, break. Then from lunch til 3pm. After that we'd shower up (you'd be amazed how dirty we got), had dinner, did a group devotional time, and I tried to drum up nightly spades games, of course.
Before I get to the pictures of the work-site here's a little scoop: we went to lay the foundation (primarily block work) for an aquaponics center. We built 9 vegetable tanks, 8 fish tanks, and on the ends of the fish tanks, small tanks for waste which will fertilize the veggies. We're building this on the campus of a school for the blind and they will be able to eat some and sell some of the fish and veggies that will be farmed within the system. The tank will hold about 8,000 tilapia total and I'm still not sure which veggies will be grown. But you get the idea. Here's some visuals:
We finished our work on Thursday so Friday was our free day. We spent the morning touring the hospital and I tried for the second time ever to give blood. Someone should have told me before I signed up how much bigger the needles they use in Togo are...then I would have known to fake sick beforehand but I succeeded:
Yeah, this happened.
After the initial needle part it wasn't so bad.
We even got a shirt.
For the rest of our free day we hiked up to 'the castle' as we call it but it's actually called chateau.
That was pretty sweet, and I took tons of photos. And then we went to a local waterfall and played.
Since we got food poisoning later this same day, the pictures end here. Although I took about 400 so I'm sure I'll share more along the way, especially of the scenery in Togo. But this kind of gives you an idea of what we were up to while we were there. This trip was very much a service based trip, the goal of which was to build something lasting for the community to encourage the missionaries and the gospel in Togo. We didn't have a ton of interaction with individual people while we were there (that's been one of the big questions I've been asked).
One other occurence worth mentioning is that I was described by a Becca at the school for the blind for her classmates. Since we shared the same name it was a perfect fit for me to be the volunteer. What they didn't tell me is how...thorough this process is, including a full body pat down with detailed description! If only you all could have seen my reaction when the hands went before the neck!
As I said before, at a later time I will be sharing more of what the Lord was really laying on my heart while I was away but I wanted to start by giving you a little taste of the trip.