Friday, March 29, 2013

foot in mouth... if you have a foot

I was at Lula Lounge this week... and on a trip to the ladies' room I was hit with a memory that nearly made me wet myself.

But I was in the washroom already, so it wasn't a problem.

I don't know if you've ever experienced the stalls in the women's washroom at Lula... They're of the tiny variety, the sort where you have to straddle the toilet in order to open the door. We've all been in washrooms like that.

Last time I was at Lula, I was feeling good, I'd been dancing up a storm... so I was chatty. (note to future self: no one likes a chatty bathroom stranger/friend) Chatty self remarked as she was closing the stall door "hey, you could lose and appendage on these doors".

Chatty self became much less chatty on washing hands afterwards with her fellow washroom goer... fellow washroom goer had only one hand to wash.

True story.

Thursday, March 14, 2013


We're back.

(the Royal "we")

Funny choice of words last week "I need to catch my breath". Two days later I was hit with what I thought were allergies, but had to concede it was the sick.

Thursday, March 07, 2013


I want to be writing.
I miss writing.. but I just need a moment or two to catch my breath.

I'll be back super soon.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

Rehash Wednesday

It is still Wednesday isn't it?

Let's have a long one to make up for my lack of posting this week:

                          THURSDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2004

Round the Mountain we must go, OR, Under the Mango Tree

I think I was suppose to write about the trip up from Lome in this post, but then I went to church up North, and I’ve decided I’d rather tell you all about that. Besides, The trip up from Lome was mostly stories about the mountain pass that we travelled, and we had more mountains to travel over to get to church last Sunday.

Grab something to drink and settle in, this will be a long post!

Marv’s mom passed away last Saturday night. He was able to be there with his family, so that’s really good; He should be coming back to Togo next weekend (the 23rd?). I know the whole family will be glad to have him back; it’s been rough on all of them.
Edith came and told me on Sunday morning that she and the kids wouldn’t be going to church that morning (they were pretty upset from the news), so our previous plans for church on the mountain were going to be put on hold. Dave, the missionary that took Lisa and I out to the village last week, is quite involved in a church at the top of the mountain, and we were going to hike up as a group. Rather than go up on my own with Dave, I went to church with the Crocker family. The Crocker’s are Southern Baptist missionaries who are involved with some pretty serious church planting initiatives. God has really opened up some amazing doors for John and Susana and their 4 kids. SOOOO…. North we went, wow. Really, I can’t even begin to describe what this place looks like, the mountains… the villages, the people… life happening everywhere. I just hope that my pictures will do it some justice.

We drove for about an hour until we reached a point where we had to cross the mountains, (out of the bowl!) The cliffs on either side of us… we had to pull over once because a truck had passed so close and so fast it had knocked the chairs (tied to the roof rack) off balance. … Then came the part where we started to come DOWN the mountain.

Oh, better let you know about the traffic signals… turn your right blinker on if it’s not safe to pass, turn your left one on if it is… and if there’s clumps of dirt or branches on the road spaced evenly and slowly pushing you into the oncoming traffic, it means either there’s a broken truck around that blind corner/rise in front of you… or a wreck, and usually you can tell from the colour of the smoke. Wrecks happen CONSTANTLY; people overload their already dilapidated trucks WELL beyond the point of safe, seriously, I’m talking transport trucks loaded, then a second full load tied to the top… and not tied well. Anytime we take the main road out of town there’s a truck on it’s side, it’s load spilled and a crowd gathering trying to salvage the load. And that’s on the flat part of the road! On the mountain passes there’ll be part of a truck at the side of the road… the other part has fallen over the edge. Parts of the pass ride along the side of a rock face, this is BLACK from smoke, trucks and other unlucky vehicles that have crashed into it. And this is the two-lane section!!!!!!

Ok, down the mountain we must go, but first there’s this sign. Roughly translated it says “stop, look before you descend, 10% grade, drive slowly, sharp turn” THEN it had a picture of a truck out of control going down a hill, with the 10% under the truck and at the bottom of the hill a skull and crossbones! AS IF!

Along the road all the way down were chunks of trucks, too big to tow away, or too damaged to be of any use. We passed a slight turn in the road to the left (the road was pretty narrow at this point, edge of the cliff to the left, rock face to the right) and there were scars in the rock from cars and trucks bouncing off the rock and going around the corner. I thought, “well, that’s not too bad; the sign made it out to be way worse” THEN the road got really steep, and took a sharp turn again to the left. I remember looking at the rock-face, and the ground directly below it and thinking “whoa, there’s been a lot of accidents here… Thank you Jesus we made it down safely”. The corner was LITTERED with glass and scrap metal. We made it to the bottom of the mountain and drove out to the village for church. Susana said that there are accidents there all the time because so few people are able to maintain their vehicles and everyone is so overloaded.

On our way back from church we noticed a dark column of smoke near the mountain. As we got closer we saw that there were lines of trucks parked to the side of the road, and then saw where the smoke was coming from. We started off on a different route home. The road was closed for 7 hours to truck traffic; it was opened after 4 hours for small cars. Two ladies that were visiting the centre said they were some of the first through the pass, a tanker truck containing fuel had hit the corner at full speed, it’s brakes had failed, several people were killed with the explosion, they couldn’t be pulled from the fire. They said that when they were allowed to pass, the truck was still on fire, and they had to drive quickly because the pavement was so hot they were afraid the tires might melt.

The Togo Fire Department is only about 25 minutes from that spot, it’s built near the 2nd international airport.. not the one I came in at. No fire trucks came to the crash because there’s no money to buy any. I guess the fire chief sits in his new building during office hours and stares out at the empty truck bays… there’s room for 8 trucks.

We had a choice of two routes home; the first included a bridge that had been closed for the past two years… no one had heard if it was open yet, and the second included a one lane mountain pass… you go up or down, if you encounter someone coming from the other direction, the smaller vehicle goes backwards in the direction it came from. We decided we’d try the bridge. Thankfully it was all repaired, John said as we were getting near that if it looked “kinda” safe, we could all get out and walk across and he’d gun it across in the land rover…Thankfully it was a whole new bridge, so there wasn’t any racing. One hour and forty five mins to church… four and a half hours home.

OK, so that was all awesome, I loved seeing the countryside, watching the people, seeing the differences in the villages as we travelled from one area to another, but church was defiantly the highlight. We had church in a Ditammari village, under a giant mango tree! It was great, we sat in the roots of the tree, there was a nice breeze, people walked by, saw what was going on, some joined in… it was VERY cool. We started with 20 people and ended up with about 35.
True enough, I don’t have the foggiest idea what the sermon was about, and I didn’t know any of the songs… John spoke in French, (I think it might have been about being saved by grace.. not by works…. But yeah, my French is still lacking) and a Tammari man translated. But, it was neat, really neat. The Ditammari are probably the poorest people group in Togo, but they are also the most easily identified because of their homes, called Tatas… When you go to look up info on Togo, there’s usually a picture of one. It’s like a little castle made of mud! With turrets and everything! They are the only people group who make a two-story home.
I guess they started to build them like that because they were often targeted to be caught as slaves; The Ditammari are the smallest in stature in the area. By building their tatas with the high thick walls, it’s more difficult for intruders. They started to build their homes closer and closer together (round huts) then started to build walls between them, these developed into what they are today. They bring their livestock in at night to the main floor, and they sleep in the second part, this way the livestock can act as an alarm system too! The doorways are really narrow (to make it difficult for intruders) and there are small holes out the sides of the building on the top floor for arrows to be shot through. They sill have the central courtyard area, but it’s in front of the tata instead of inside. Until I can spend some real time online to get my photos on here, you’ll have to use your imagination as to what I mean. :)
Ok I could write another two pages worth of stuff from the village, on Idols and Fetishes and Family alters… The grain silos on top of the houses, The meat drying racks, the jewellery…. *sigh * but you’d stop reading because this is already long enough.
Meh Neh Ta Na, (Hey everyone, how’s it going?)
Meh Na Kay (it’s going great [with us])
Alafia (good!)
Deh Behng (see you later)
Ok, I don’t know how to type using the International Phonetic Alphabet on this computer, so just sound it out…. (I started Kabye lessons today)
Write me emails I miss you

Saturday, March 02, 2013


So, back to the topic of FAI and it's goodness.

I've been hearing this name "New Country Rehab" for the past couple of months.. but hadn't had the time to check them out... and I didn't know anyone who'd seen them live.

When I saw how often they were playing on the schedule, I figured I could make it work at least once...  So I sat in on a session.... and then FOLLOWED them around from set to set... Yes, I know I promised myself I'd catch lots of new music... I figure I could have heard a lot more if I hadn't seen these boys play on Friday night.

Sitting in, I recognized all but one of them from other projects they've been working on over the past couple of years... one can not forget Ben Whitely and his giant smile... I felt like giggling thru most of their songs... he's my new favourite folk muppet... (that's right, move over David Gillis!) But then the steely gaze of their singer/fiddle player John Showman would bring me right back into the words... don't look that man in the eyes.. you'll lose your soul to the song.

Plain and simple, they're fun. They're HAVING fun. And they're supporting each other in a style that they all seem to enjoy playing...  I haven't given the album a listen yet, but here's a limited time link to stream it... Go see them live. They're just the right mix that soon you won't be able to catch them playing in a little local gig.

As I posted several times on Facebook last friday night... "NEW COUNTRY REHAB, that is all".

Friday, March 01, 2013



I was trying to think about the last time I was so excited to go to camp... there were the joycamp years- I went as techie support, running the sound system for the jr youth program and creating a "year book" of sorts for them... oh dear, that was fun... but not "stare at the clock every two minutes" type excitement....
That hasn't happened since the MCCR years.

(side note: is anyone listening to CBC2 morning this morning? Tom is hanging hard to the Newf accent this morning... it's KILLING me.)

I think I'm going to have to do some digging in the old MCCR picture files... whew, I've just been hit by some memories.

Anyway, I'm forever in debt to the amazing Eve Goldberg for this opportunity. I've wanted to go to this even for the past 4 years, but every time I'd start saving for it- something would come along that needed the money... eeeeeek!

Shutting down the social media for the weekend...