Monday, August 7, 2017

Foot Fetish Mosquitos

[Note from Kaelyn - I think Riley would rather be teaching, but that hasn't worked out very well lately. Instead you get some stories about the area.]

Well I didn’t really do any thing this week so I just thought I would try to let you all in on the weird things that are everyday life to me in Benin and Togo. If I said some of these things already it’s because they are still true. Let’s see, thoughts about Africa. Now when we talk about Africa it is a very diverse place and I have only lived in two countries on the west side. However, two countries that aren’t very diverse from each other are Togo and Benin. You can see how this is the same people just long ago some white people drew some imaginary lines and a people got separated and little differences popped up in there. Different languages and they both always brag about how they are better than the other even though they are really the same. Well what kind of things do we see, for example this week I saw a young guy who is twenty years old and the equivalent of a junior in high school. For a summer job he works at a restaurant where they cook only spaghetti and gets paid the equivalent of one dollar a day for about 12 to 15 hours of work. Is that work? no that is slavery, with money to get to and from work.

I still eat tomato sauce and rice every day, every day for both meals with cookies or bread in the morning, the food here is one of the biggest trials ever.

The mosquitos here are horrible not only do they carry malaria and I have to take daily malaria medication the mosquitos here have a weird foot fetish or something and they only bite my feet and ankles, and it drives me crazy. I get bitten at least twice a day on the feet it looks like my feet have leprosy from all the mosquito bite scars.

I’ll let you in on a little secret of this mission there is something here called tithing where the old missionaries collect money from all the younger missionaries they knew on the mission their last transfer to buy stuff. I have been subject for this many times it’s a tradition I hate but what can I do they paid it when they were young missionaries so now it’s their turn to collect. But because I’m such a nice guy I became friends with like everyone in the mission and 14 missionaries or so are going home this transfer including three of my old companions. My dad and many other friends so I don’t know what I’m going to do because the requests for tithing keep coming in and I’m only one guy. But I can handle it just fine.

Anyway an interesting thing about the church here is testimony meetings. Often times whole families will go up and bare their testimonies together. Like they all stand at the podium at the same time the wife goes and the husband will testify what his wife said was true then add some stuff, it’s different and kinda funny sometimes with bigger families or families with little kids.

This place is very unsanitary and many things that happen here would make my mom die along with all other germaphobes, especially where we buy our meat. Talk about "the jungle" but in Africa which sounds kinda of funny but no one wears gloves. The guy who cuts it always seems to have gone to the bathroom right before touching our meat with his bare hands, grabbing a machete off the ground, sloppily cutting our meat as it flies across the room and picking it up off the floor puts it into an already used bag and we take it home. But hey it’s normal here.

Every time a kid touches my white shirt it immediately gets stained.

Lots of people in Africa hate the French, some people ask me all angry about why the French can’t leave these countries’ alone then they find out I’m American and they like me a lot more.

Also being white helps you get all the ladies, not that you even try, but I get marriage proposals on a daily basis. Everyone thinks marring a white man means going to America to live in peace and die without problems for the rest of their lives. Interesting fact, if a lady gets pregnant here abortions are a thing, but if a black lady gets pregnant by a white guy they will never ever have an abortion. When I heard that I found that super weird but hey it’s just what happens.

White people means money apparently, so everything I try to buy is way more expensive. Anything anyone tries to buy around me becomes more expensive. And I get asked for money by everyone. Almost every conversation I have ends or starts with “yovo, you brought what for me?” or “give me 100 franks.”

I still wash my clothes by hand and I have gotten down to wearing the smallest amounts of clothes possible. Like two shirts a week, the same pair of pants the whole week, two or three pair of socks and just changing my underwear every day. It sounds gross but cleaning by hand is so time consuming and boring. I do it twice a week for an hour and half that is with doing my clothes conservation technique so I can’t imagine if I changed clothes every day.

I see some of the funniest things every day I see motorcycles carrying tons of stuff like other motos, cars, and caskets for dead people.

You speak the real language of any person here they light up and that works for all nationalities so I try to learn a little bit of every language.

There are so many more things that I live and see and if you have any questions about what life is like here please ask my mom and she can send the questions to me because I see a thousand and one crazy things a day that I don’t recognize as crazy.

A little piece of my heart will always live in Togo and Benin although it’s weird and I suffer a lot I have found another family here and I’m so glad I got the chance to come and serve them and show them the light of the gospel.
Mosquito bite on the pinky toe

I jerry rigged a toilet lid

Togo church building

With glasses I found in the apartment