Day 10 - Weds. July 18th

Some photos added to this message.

Ouf! At last I'm able to get back online in a cybercafé in Kara (where we have been based from Mon. 23rd). Judging by the comments on this blog and remarks made by family members of people in our group, you have been avidly waiting for further news... Well, here I go. I'll try and summarise as much as possible.

Day 10 - Visit to Dapaong and the Brothers' Noviciate community for West Africa

A Noviciate is the first year of training and discernment for any budding Brother. Bro. Romain (from Dapaong), the Head of our school in Mango was in my Noviciate group in 1990. This day we were picked up by a French Brother, Bro. Jean, Master of Novices and taken to the Noviciate for lunch. A visit en route to a retreat centre at Daluag run by nuns near a shrine to Our Lady. Fantastic views.

At the shrine.

With my former co-Novice and good friend Bro. Romain.

We also walked through Dapaong market and were taken by Bro. Jean to see the local hospital.

The edge of the market on the main road.

Paul H. (budding dentist) visiting Dapaong Dental Surgery (2 dentists serve the whole of Northern Togo!)

Can't remember exactly, but I think there are 6 Novices at present as they approach the end of their year, inc. Togolese, Senegalese, Congolese and Madagascan candidates. Wonderful welcome from them, our group asking them questions about their life and why they want to become Brothers. Saw our first monkey (not including Michael :-)... a pet of the Novices.

Together with the Novices. Bottom right = Bro. Jean Herbinière (France - Novice Master) + Bro. Emmanuel Sambiani (Assistant Novice Master - Togo). Top right = our host at Mango, Bro. Romain Somoko.

Driven back to Mango early afternoon for an unforgetable experience watching a First Division Championship football match between Mango and a team from the capital Lomé. 0-0 at half-time... goal for Lomé hotly disputed (offside? We think not). Crowd attack ref's assistant knocking him over!!!!! Mayhem ensues. Officials walk off. Game held up. Arguments, fans all over pitch.... Wow. Game restarts. Penalty for Mango!!!! They score. 1-1. Lomé players refuse to kick off arguing with ref about penalty. Major mayhem again. A security guard tells Bro. Romain that for our safety we should leave before the end, which we did. Didn't feel threatened, but better safe than sorry. In the end the match finished 1-1. Good thing too. No violence at the end.

Mango are in the white.

Days 11 - 12

Craft activities wih kids, football, baseball, storms in the distance, lovely food, group falling in love with Bro. Romain + P.E. techer Mr. Akoh. Want to kidnap them both:-)

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