Day 17 (part 2)

Before continuing with an account of what we got up to later that day, here are some more photos of the mango tree planting:

Once this was finished, we were taken on a tour around the grounds of this out-of-town part of the orphanage. They work the land very hard and also keep animals for food (chicken and other wild fowl, goats, pigs, etc...). We were shown their church which is quite a large, but as yet unfinished building with a bare earth floor, bare walls, a few benches, no altar or sanctuary area... Basically they do not have the funds to finish it off. Francis and I both felt that trying to raise money for its completion would be a very worthwhile venture. Bearing in mind the depth of faith we'd witnessed at the Evening Prayer on our first night at the town Foyer, we knew that its completion would be very much appreciated and that it would get lots of use.

We were told where the name Foyer La Pierre Du Pauvre comes from (Pierre as in "stone" rather than the name "Peter"). "The Stone Of The Poor" takes its name from the traditional idea in the local Togolese culture that you should always put aside a bit of food from every meal (no matter how little you have to go round)and keep it for any unexpected guests. This food would be kept on a stone pillar in the middle of the extended family's group of huts (following the common layout of a number of huts linked to roughly form a circle with a common area in the middle). This tradition shows the importance hospitality in their culture, even for those who have little for themselves. The Foyer director, Michel, related it to the story from the Book of Genesis of Abraham and Sarah being visited by 3 messengers from God. Abraham invited them in to eat, having a goat ready in case of emergency which he and Sarah quickly prepared with some other food and drink. As strangers being welcomed wherever we went, we certainly felt such generosity ourselves time and time again, and it was most humbling.

Young David next to "The Stone Of The Poor".

After a lunch accompanied by violent thunder, lighting and rain from a storm very close by, we took a siesta underneath the thatched roof of their "apatam": a kind of round, all-purpose meeting area, reminiscent of a small bandstand, where people from a village or local town community would meet to socialise, have meetings, gossip and generally set the world to rights.

About an hour later, we gathered up the children and started some activties with them. First up, some singing and dancing to get the siesta out of our systems: see below for the Highland Fling part of the ever-popular Music Man.

This was followed by a mini 3-team football tournament for the older boys and more songs, ball games and soft ball for the other children. All this went down well, though a few of our team were maybe starting to show signs of fatigue. After all, the trip had been pretty intensive and almost all of us had by now had at least one 24-hr bout of "African tummy". One of the few exceptions was Bro. Francis, who I always knew had a very strong constitution, but even he was to succumb a day or two before the end of the trip.

The previous day, after our trip into the mountains for the initiation ceremonies, I treated the group to some cans of cold drink using money from the common fund each person had contributed to. I bought them just around the corner at a little shop that the nuns where we were staying run with local volunteers. This was our first such "indulgence" during the whole trip and I felt that the group very much deserved it. A simple pleasure but much appreciated by all.

The following day, as it was my feast day (July 25th, the feast of St. James), I thought it my duty to do something similar. This time a few of the group put in requests for some sweets they saw on sale in the shop to go with the cans. Fair enough, I thought. Little did I know that in terms of taste... well, let's just say that some of the sweets didn't taste the way we'd expected! In particular some milk-flavoured chews. Sophie, Andy and Francis were the last to taste them. See below for the "Before" photo.....

.... and now for the "After" photo!

Need I say more!!! :-)
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