In my last blog “Homesick” I promised that I would share with you some of the things I love the most about my new temporary home country, Togo! So, here goes…
I currently live about a 10-15 minute walk from the beach, which is great! No such possibility in London! Living so close means my husband and I can go for leisurely walks on Sunday afternoons or enjoy the ocean breeze on hot days.
The pets at the Family HouseAt the family house in Lome, there is quite a bit of outdoor space and my father-in-law, an animal lover , has many pets. He has goats and rabbits (which he sells on occasion) a kitten, a budgie a dog (of course) and a monkey, which I love! He says his next pet is a parrot!
Here in Togo, beauty treatments don’t have to be a luxury as they often are in good old London! I can get my hair washed, blow-dried and set for 400 francs (equivalent of about 50p) and a full manicure and pedicure for 3,000cfa (about £4.00)!
Extremely Affordable Tailoring!
Togo is great for getting your own clothes custom-made. The market has a wide range of fabrics to choose from – both African print and European fabrics. The tailoring is so low cost that you could afford to get a whole new wardrobe! My husband recently ordered 5 tailor-made dresses for me. Grand total for workmanship: approx. £30.00!
The main language in Togo is French. All of the signage and billboards are in French and the majority of TV programmes and films have French voice-overs . Instead of seeing this as an obstacle, I see it as an opportunity to learn a brand new (and rather fabulous) language!
Siesta is common practice here in Togo. In the middle of the day many workers go home for lunch a few hours’ rest and then head back to work. Although I find it hard to rest during the day, I think the concept is great and it’s a far cry from London’s rat race culture, where siesta is definitely not a possibility!
Interesting Outdoor Places to Chill
In Togo, you can find many gardens and parks that have been fitted with places where you can go to eat drink and listen to music. These places are great as they are in the middle of nature - surrounded by beautiful trees and flowers and some, near the water! They are great for fun times with friends or chilling with your significant other!
Fried Sweet Potato, Spaghetti and Degue!
Believe it or not I had never eaten fried sweet potato before coming to Togo. In my culture we always boiled it or sometimes even mashed it! In Togo, it’s common to eat fried sweet potato with chicken sausage, noodles and a tomato and onion sauce. I have to say I really enjoy it! Another Togo speciality is hot spaghetti, which can come in a red sauce, with chicken sausage or beef, onions, peppers and mayo. There are places in Togo that only sell spaghetti as it’s very popular
Something sweeter is a favourite of mine called Degue (pron. “deg-eh”). It’s sweet cous-cous with youghurt – really nice J
The main form of transport in Togo is the motorbike! There are taxis available, but most people have their own motorbike or get around on a “taxi-moto” or “zemidjan” as they call it here in Togo – basically you hail down a motorbike, tell the driver where you’re going, agree on a price, get on the back of the bike and off you go! This means there is hardly any traffic on the streets of Lome – the complete opposite to traffic-ridden Accra!
These are just a few things I love, as well as the outdoor swimming pools, night-time candy stalls and more. Indeed I still miss my hometown from time to time, but I am glad to have found these little treasures in Togo!