When I resigned from my job last year, the plan was to work with Kailend for a month as an intern. This was to give me the opportunity to help make a difference in my community, learn a new language as Kailend is in a French speaking country – Togo, spend some time with Ellen who will be moving to Cape town soon, connect with other volunteers around the world, gain more experience in my skill and well, indulge in my love for traveling. However things don’t always go as planned so I had to put this on hold till this year.
As I planned towards my trip, I informed a couple of friends with similar goals who decided to join me on my trip. So on Sunday – 16th April 2017, we made the 2-3 hour journey from Tema Motorway Roundabout to Lomé, Togo. The girls (Mary, Afia, Reggie) and I got a hired car (4 passenger) which charged 50 cedis per person and took us right to the border. This was so great as we had many luggages and weren’t prepared for the walk from the main station to the border as the trotro (bus) wouldn’t have brought us that close to the border. We however had to wait for the SASA Group who wanted to spend their Easter Sunday and Monday with Kailend to make an impact and learn more about the social enterprise.
Since the girls and I got to the border earlier, we had to wait for the others for nearly an hour as their bus stopped several times for passengers. While we waited however we got our passports stamped at a fee, made some enquiries and got in touch with the driver who had to pick us up. When the others finally got to the border, we assisted them with the formalities and then left for Sammy’s (executive director of Kailend) family house for a talk. Over there, we introduced ourselves and met Shika – a volunteer from UK who plans on assisting the social enterprise for the next two weeks.
After some laughter and familiarisation, we left for the volunteer house which is around the Airport / Trade Fair area in Lomé. At the house, we were met by the lovely Sylvina who is the housekeeper and chef. Then Sammy explained to us the mission and vision of Kailend and we made plans for the next day. But before sleeping, the girls and I decided to channel in our energy by playing some drums and dancing at the sitting room.
On Easter Monday, we woke up to delicious omelettes, tomato sauce and baguettes then had a little freestyling singing and dancing before setting off for the day’s job. We took a drive through town, and visited some of Kailend’s projects in Lomè starting with the Mama Charity Orphanage where we learnt the importance of not only looking out for ourselves but also for those who aren’t as privileged as us, assisting, encouraging, and praying with / for them.
Afterwards we went on a drive to the University of Lomè where Albert showed us around. Afterwards, we went back home to have a yummilicious meal then headed right back out to the Artisan market where we breathtaking paintings, carvings, bags, jewellery, clothes and souvenirs that depict the history, creativity and modernization of Togo and Africa. We were then sent to Sammy’s family house where we were privileged to watch a choreography, sing and dance, listen to a motivational speaker – Marie Ange and just chill. At that moment, the girls and I realised Togo is exactly where we should be at the moment. After a couple of hours, we had to leave for the volunteer house.
Upon getting back home, we had dinner and a meeting to encourage each other to be concerned about those around us and to help make a difference in our community. As the SASA group were living the next day, we had a little party at the Terrace where we all chilled, spoke about our dreams. This went on deep into the night. Friendships were made; minds were filled with new ideas and implementations; a family was created and love was shared.
As I plan on staying for the next two months, I am looking forward to the adventure ahead of me; the friends I will make along the way; the possible business opportunities; the joy of learning a new language; indulging in my love for travel and most importantly living a mark in the world by making a difference in the life of a person in need.
I believe moving to Togo for a while is a really good best decision and intend on utilising this opportunity to the fullest.