23 Jul

Togo 2010 Update 4 – Sent on Thursday 22nd July

Hello families and friends, sorry the updates haven’t been very extensive, due to an upset laptop we couldn’t send any emails whilst in Bassar, so bit and pieces were sent via texts. However, we have just arrived safely back in Lomé to take on the last couple of days in a bit more comfort.

I’m just going to bring you up to speed on what we been up to recently and then below you find plans for the next 2 days and flight details of our return journey.

FRIDAY
In the morning we put our feet up, had a late breakfast and took time off. We wanted to reserve our energy, because in the afternoon we were about to become famous. We went to Radio Reveil, Bassar Christian radio station. After a few introductions with the manager of the station, all 8 of us (plus Samuel) piled in to a very small room, probably made for 2 people, and they hit the record button. Steve made
a little speech about why a bunch of English students had come to Bassar, and then we sang Light of the World. This may be Samuel’s favourite song, or just the only English one he knows!

SATURDAY
Suddenly, we were all thankful for the restful day yesterday, because we had a rather early morning, with breakfast at 6. We had a 3hr journey to Kara and we wanted to start early. Kara is probably the biggest city near us, and it’s where groups go for a fun day. After a quick stop off at a patner organisation’s compound to meet up with our friend Becky. She was to be our escort to the Kara market, where we bought some nice cloth; Becky has been in Togo a few years now and really knew how to barter in the market.
The highlight of the day came next as we went to Hotel Kara, had a great lunch of pork/steak/chicken/guinea fowl and CHIPS, so nice to have chips again. We then chilled out in or around the swimming pool there.

SUNDAY
Got to go to Samuel’s Church today – twice. In the morning we went to their normal service, the pastor was away, but Steve was already prepared with a message about our calling to be more like Jesus. As a team we all introduced ourselves, sang a song and made an attempt at a tradional dance of theirs…looks very much like a chicken dance, we got a lot of laughter in response.

MONDAY
A couple of the girls went into town to buy a bit more cloth, was nice to stroll into town for one of the last times. Samuel and his wife had invited us round for lunch, so at 12 we made our way there, enjoy some
great beef and rice and a very rich red sauce. Was good to spend some time with them just being.

TUESDAY
The other couple of girls wanted to go into town this morning, this time to buy sweets. Then it was round to Samuel’s for lunch again (2 invites in 2 days, we’re doing well). In the afternoon we filmed a few
clips of language learning and Samuel’s teaching to put into a video we hope to produce, and then at 4pm the committee that oversees the translation project, ACEB, came to say goodbye to us. Was a pleasant
meeting, they introduced themselves, sang some songs, prayed, let us ask them questions about what they do. Then we introduced ourselves and thanked them for their work with the project. After another song
and prayer we cracked open some cokes and biscuits.

WEDNESDAY
Time for the trip from Bassar to Lomé. All our stuff was packed up, the last bills were payed and we were ready to go….but no driver at 7am. Our bus was in the garage for some repairs. Poor Samuel was not
impressed, but the team did a great job of killing 3 hours whilst waiting. The 8hr drive was actually pretty uneventful, thank you God.

It is now very nice to be back in the guesthouse, to just relax and not have to do the washing up!

Here’s what the plan is for the last couple of days.

THURSDAY
A few meet and greets and farewells in the morning, we’ll visit the Bible Society where the consultant for the translation project is based. Then we’ll go to the Wycliffe Togo office, where we will meet Napo, who has been involved in the project for a long time, he is actually a native Ntcham speaking, so has a keen interest.
The main part of the morning will actually be spent in the Lomé tourist market, where the team will have opportunity to buy you all presents (no promises).

In the afternoon we’ll begin our team debriefs, where we’ll talk about returning to the UK. After spending 3 weeks in Africa certain things can take the team by surprise when we return, so we do an extensive
job of preparing them.

FRIDAY
We’ll continue debriefs and do some feedback sessions and pack our bags. Late morning we’ll check bags in, and then we’ll take the rest of the day easy until needing to be at the airport again for 8pm.

FLIGHT DETAILS

Departure City Arrival City Departure Flight Dep Arr
Lomé Paris CDG 23-Jul-10 AF0861 22:00 06:10
Paris CDG Heathrow T4 24-Jul-10 AF1680 07:30 07:50

We’re due to land at Terminal 4 at 7.50am; we hope to get through
security and the baggage hall in 30-60mins. Please be at the arrivals
gate in good time.

See you all soon.
Steve (on behalf of the whole Togo team)

16 Jul

Togo 2010 Update 3 – Sent on Thursday 15th July

I’ve just had a series of text messages from Tim as Samuel, the local translator’s computer has broken. It will hopefully be up and running again sometime after the weekend. Your prayers would be much appreciated as it’s not only used as a communication tool for us and the team but it has a lot of hard translation work on too. Thanks! So the update below is from Tim, extended to a legible format!

Monday – relaxed in the morning to recover from the bustle of Sunday’s church visits. Churches on Sunday were brilliant. Afternoon in the office recording some testimonies for the radio.

Tuesday – final session of language learning (Ntcham) in the morning. Went into town using “what is this?” type tool to practice what we’d learnt. We spent the afternoon in the office learning about the translation process and making more booklets.

Wednesday – spent the morning in 2 teams visiting families. Challenged to create a word list of all the word’s they learn. We also experienced a day in the life of what it’s like to live with a family in the visits, mostly spent cooking lunch! In the afternoon we relaxed and in the evening the tailor came round with all the clothers the team had ordered, very exciting!

Thursday – Teams swapping which family they are with, using the word list now as a competition between teams. Now relaxing and a couple of people go to the farm later.

13 Jul

Togo 2010 Update 2 – Sent on Sunday 11th July

Monday 5th
Pretty much the whole day was taken up with travelling to Bassar. We and all our bags piled into the minibus and headed off at 0700! We arrived about 1500 and promptly prayed over the building our beds and then the rains came! Boy was it loud, pretty awesome! Hanging mosquito nets is a bit of a mission when you are hot and sticky, but they all got hung and supplies bought and we started to settle in!

Tuesday 6th
Day 1 in Bassar involved a little walk into town to visit the police station
to let them know we are around in town. The Chief Constable, Raymond there is always very welcoming and open to hear about what we are up to this time on our visit. Wondering around the town is surprising hot and tiresome for us ‘yovo’ (white people), so after a lovely siesta we sat down with our resident linguist, Ruth who taught us some of the basic linguistics we need to go on and learn some Ntcham. This mostly involved trying to figure out how we make all the various sounds in English, only to find that Ntcham has so many others that we aren’t used to making!

Wednesday 7th
The morning had in store for us our first Ntcham learning session with Samuel. We learnt about the different sounds in the Ntcham alphabet and then all the various greetings. We moved onto to have a wander into town practicing those greetings with everyone we meet along the way.
The afternoon was spent chilling out hope for the big rain storm to come our way. It didn’t.

Thursday 8th
This morning was Ntcham class 102. 0900 in the office with Samuel learning our new Ntcham names. The pronunciations can be a challenge!

Tim- Gbati
Steve-Ubootu
Ruth- Damba
Megan – Jabii
Aimee – Saai
Lizzy – Jeeti
Miriam – Jaai
Hannah – Ajaa

We learnt how to introduce our selves and ask “what is your name” we also learnt a few more ‘survival’ phrases like, I’m sorry, thank you and I don’t understand. Once again, we took a wonder around town practicing the things we have just learnt. It is so much easier than learning a language in school. The freedom to go and apply what we just learnt is a real advantage! After a wee siesta in the afternoon we headed to the office to help Samuel produce some booklets of the scripture portions he has translated. We hope to distribute these in the various church meetings we visit while we are here. Every night after dinner we get together and have devotions. We take it in turns to lead based on one of the passages about Jesus ministry. The session includes a bit of singing, praying and sharing about our day, what we have found good and what we have maybe found harder. A great time to explore scripture together and grow closer to God and be challenged in ways that maybe we didn’t expect.

Friday 9th
A more chilled day today, Ruth wasn’t feeling so great yesterday and woke up feeling worse today. The team did a great job of reacting with prayer for her! Whilst the rest of the team headed into town to greet people and check out some cloth and negotiate with the Tailor, Tim and Ruth popped next door to see the doctor. The result is that we are currently treating her for malaria. It is far more precautionary than reactionary; it is very simple to treat here. She is fairly chirpy when not asleep but she has rested well, drank lots and even eaten some. We thank God that she is already doing better at the time we write this. Please do pray that her recovery is quick, the team miss having her around! After lunch, some of the girls got their hair braided, it is certainly an experience! You’ll have to check out some photos after we are home.

Saturday 10th
This morning we headed over to Samuels house to learn about making African Donuts! First job is to make the batter. We then headed into town to explore market day. Town is much busier than any other day we have been in, and the market was packet with everything imaginable included smoked fish on every corner. Ruth is doing better today; she managed to join the team for breakfast. After lunch we headed back to Samuels house to cook to donuts having given the batter time to rise over lunch.

05 Jul

Togo 2010 Update 1 – Sent on Sunday 3rd July

Hi folks, sorry for the lack of contact, we landed fine, managed to eventually get visas in Lome airport and found all our bags with no problems! The first few days are always tiring, due to the travel and the change in climate, but everyone is doing really well. Saturday was spent getting used to life here, drinking lots of water and hoping that Steve could get all the supplies we need. Thankfully he did, and we managed a short wander down the road near the guesthouse.

This morning we headed out for our first church meeting of the trip. The service started at 0700. Yes you did read that right! The church has 3 services and the 0700 service is conducted in French and English. The next 2 of the morning are conducted in French plus one of the local languages. Long and warm is not a great combination for staying awake, but a wonderful experience being with several hundred of God’s people worshiping together!

This afternoon we hope to head out to a small party with some of the other missionary families who are around at the moment. There has been some trouble here the past couple of weeks. The petrol prices were hiked up and several groups of workers held strikes that led to localised protests. Things have been calm since we have been here (I doubt it is our influence!). You could pray for continued peace and that our plans aren’t disrupted!

Tomorrow we head up to Bassar, a 5-7 hour minibus ride. We are all looking forward to getting up there and getting settled in.

– Pray for continued good health

– Pray for safe travels

01 Jul

I'm off to Togo tommorow!

As tempting as it might be to make all the To-go to Togo puns, please don’t bother, I WILL have heard them all before! I’m currently sat in my bedroom having led a VERY full of day of orientation for the team who are heading out via Paris tomorrow. My brain is a bit fried, I don’t feel like I have really stopped since the tour. In fact, I know I haven’t, one of my last jobs yesterday was to finalise the list of ‘follow up’ opportunities to pass on and even this morning was a teleconference about a possible tour in 2011! I then had to get my head very quickly in the game ready for the Togo team. I was mostly very pleased with how the day went, until a text from Ali at 2100 mentioning that I had left my packet of anti-malarial meds on the table at home. Thank goodness I am only 12 minutes drive away from home!

I’m tired. I don’t think it is a big deal, I’m not grumpy yet, but I can feel the tiredness from running around on tour! At the same time though, I am REALLY excited. This is the Togo trip that I didn’t think was going to happen. A chance to see the people one last time, a chance to properly hand over to Steve, a chance to get my knife back! I don’t express excitement very well verbally and I’m not sure the team think I am excited, but I know that as soon as I see Samuel in the airport, things will start to get real!

We had a fab time of sharing earlier, and I shared that one of my hopes on this trip was to get away from ‘normal life’ (whatever that is!) and try to make use of the extra time and space such a trip provides to really take hold of the depression issue and give it back to God. I’ve done a great job of analysing it myself. I know myself far better now than I ever did. I have things in place to avoid the dips, Ali is better equipped to cope with me! BUT even amongst all that, I need to allow quality time for God to do some deeper work in me. Weeding a garden is a great analogy when it comes to this stuff. I found the weeds and pulled them out, even dug a bit to find the roots. However, for the garden of my life to be fully restored, some of the underlying soil needs to be modified, balanced out to provide a better growth environment. Such a trip provides some excellent retreat time in the afternoons!

Pray for me at this time;

– That I allow God to do an awesome work in me.

– That the team all stay healthy and safe as we travel and do our thing.

– That handing things over to Steve goes smoothly.

– Pray also for Ali and Dan, for protection over them and a good time until I return.

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