Wednesday, October 24, 2012


Staying at Le Galion located behind German Embassy just a few meters from where I stayed in June.  Half the price and half the room, but fine with me.  Has everything I need and a very friendly dining room where I am allowed to make myself at home and I do.

Just down the street, there next to the truck.

 Found a parking space just outside the gate to the building my room is in and have staked my claim on it.  Security from other businesses keep an eye on it as a courtesy and I am comfortable with parking there.  Another fifty meters in the other direction and I am on the boulevard crossing to the Atlantic Ocean.
 Not really sure if they do much fishing although I have seen them pulling nets when I was here last August.  Yes, that is how they fish.  Just like biblical times, they row out a little ways in the boat dragging the net with them or casting it to one side or the other.  Circling an area to trap the fish in the net many bodies on shore will help to pull the net in.  Fish are taken by hand as the net closes on them near to shore.  Imagine so many fish that your concern is that the net might break and you loose them all, but it does not.
 Not from a storm or any unusual weather, this is normal surf at this part of the Atlantic.  Seems more than I remember from the Miami Beach mornings.  Beach is far from deserted as there are probably fifty people scattered up and down the sand.  Some of them spent the night on the beach while others are just here.  To the South are another fifty or sixty in a loose formation exercising with an instructor.  No, it is not Tai Chi,  Thought at first that it might be......
Sun is already high and not yet 7:00 am

Remember my walk Tuesday morning from the Toyota Dealership CFAO?  This is the hotel dining room where I had breakfast and then adventured through the neighborhood beyond.
Bar New Harlem Forever is across from Pharmacie Forever and just down the boulevard from Agape bakery.
 Jessie Shanks - thought of you when I saw this on door of store in Lome.

Learned that when I discuss something with FB friend it will soon pop up in my life (only good things).  Patisserie is a title that is earned not just taken.  Again, part of my walk took me here and I left with eight bags of "bread".

Typical meal at Le Galion is steak with different sauces.

Remember, I am used to five or six eggs, toast, juice, fruit and COFFEE at home.  This took the edge off but that is all.  Considering how much I am eating at night, a light breakfast is a good thing.    

For those who remember the blog of my trip to Miami in 2010 to get my passport.  i started a "two feet in the......" and have not really done much to keep it up.  Well here are my two feet in the other side of the Atlantic Ocean, Lome, Togo. West Africa.
.Reminded that the scriptures tell us that God has set a boundary for the oceans and they can go no further than what He allows.  So, it is off to sleep with the surf making surf noises just a football field away.
Good night.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Before Noon

Slept well – no dreams – awake at 0500 up at 0530 and on the beach by 0615  Beautiful surf rolling in and sun already high in sky.  Did not go out to look for meteor shower last night and unless it is going on when I leave restaurant for room will miss it tonight. 
Sightseeing in morning traffic was unintentional.  Realized as I passed US Embassy that I ws too far North and needed to u-turn to get back to Toyota dealership.  Msg. Jerome FLEGEAU was as always most helpful and immediately took charge of seeing to replacement of LF headlight, right side mirror and balancing of front tires.  He said it would be done before noon, and it was. He offered his driver to take me where I wanted to go but I elected to walk around.  When I mentioned that I was looking for breakfast he mentioned that while looking at my blog he noticed that I ate native food and suggested a couple of places I might like.  (Ah ha) So that is how he knew I needed left rear window.  He was following my posts on blog.  I am honored.
Left Toyota dealership and walked to Hotel Eda-Oba for buffet style petit déjeuner. 6500 francs CFA is a little steep but worth it for the comfort and atmosphere of quiet and A/C and view of Boulefard and good STRONG coffee.  Omelet natural, Vienna like sausage that tastes like “potted meat” and small fried yams that reminds me of sweet potatoes.  Good STRONG coffee. 
Back on the Boulevard Eyadema and headed North.  Off on side street and the adventure goes onward.  Part of the mystique is that I am a stranger in a strange land and we do not speak each others language.  Still, we communicate.  Will spend the next hour wandering side streets and alleyways, small shops, stalls and street venders. Everything from soup to nuts, figuratively and literally.  Young boy on a bicycle that is to big for him launches himself from a doorway on my left into oncoming traffic and wobbles unsteadily two city blocks to a side street and safety. 
I cross abandoned railroad tracks and am in poorer section of town.  Strange to see ninety thousand dollar land rover pull up and discharge two five or six year old blond boys (Aryan?) at what maybe a day care center while on the other side of this dirt alley way several men work on moto bikes outside of their garage.  A juxtaposition if there is such a word…. 
Following the railroad tracks on to the main boulevard I pass the neighbor hood Pharmacie Forever and the New Harlem Forever Bar.and come upon a sign advertising AGAPE-TOGO featuring Snacks Boulangerie and Patisserie.  Now the snacks and boulangerie I can walk on by.  But, the Patisserie warrant further investigation.  “Center de formaction professionnelle an boulaingerie-patisserie” claims the sign on the door. 
Just inside is a table with six or eight pastries each in plastic bags.  They are fresh this morning and the young lady says 1000 francs each bag..  I buy all eight and give her a 10,000 franc bill.  Thank you, she says.  Says I Hello 8X1 from 10 means you owe me 2.  She counts the bags, nods yes and says she owes me two.  Got to admit, it was worth a try on her part……
On to the Toyota dealership while fending off taxie drivers who are sure that I need their services.  Truck is not quite ready, so I walk next door to have a couple of Indian Tonic’s while waiting.  Notice a Togolese Army man having lunch and then heading to CAFO dealer.  I leave and go down another alleyway looking for a barber who’s sign says 50 meters that way.  Two hundred meters later make a right  another two hundred another two hundred another right and another two hundred back at dealer.  No barber, no haircut. 
Still a few minutes before vehicle ready. While waiting at service area soldier approaches we greet and he points to my Kobalt folding blade in sheath on my belt.  I give him knife and then take sheath off belt and give him knife.  This boggles his mind.  When I show him my challenge coin (Sergeant of Marines) and tell him knife is a gift from one Sergeant to another, he becomes instant friend.  He is Sergeant Chef Sizing Eyo------ and his writing will have to wait for interpretation but he knows my friend Sgt. Gabriel and promises to call me when he next visits Kara.  Mr. Flegeau comments that it appears that I have made another friend, presents me with bill for work on truck, invites me to Marine Corps Birthday celebration next month at embassy and takes Jon’s generator to have a friend of his check it out tomorrow. 
You know for someone who does not speak the language my God interprets very well on my behalf. ALL B4 NOON.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

TOGO and why I love her.


I know I said I would get her name.......
 You have heard me mention him many times.  Tchaa is my brother and his father, the Chief of his village is my brother also.  Mon Ami.
Tchaa's two little girls.

Tchaa's sister and the new baby

Tchaa, Mazalo, their three girls and Tchaa's sister

Mazalo and baby

This is Bertine

 This is a before and after picture of Bertine's cooking.  She thinks that I am a family of four and cooks accordingly.
This is Christophe, my right hand and interpreter. 
 Monday Morning Jules started off my very busy day with an introduction of his wife to be.  They will be getting married November 17th.
Excited about their soon to be marriage.

This is another of those feeding his face pictures.
Stopped at a small local market about five klicks from church and wandered off on my own while the rest of the crew bought yams, peanuts, chicken (live) and a bag of something.....  Speaking of which, the yellow bag hanging from my left hand is some homemade flavored water from ????  The leaf contains the remains of twenty little dough balls fried in oil over a small charcoal fire and seasoned with HOT. (only 5 francs CFA each)  Just finished some larger variation of the same thing at 20 francs CFA each.  Togolese make fun of my eating Togo style, but I think they secretly like it.  They think my attempts to speak Kabye are equally amusing, but they seem to encourage it also.  So far I have not contracted anything from food or mosquitoes.  Praise the Lord.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Property Survey (sort of)


Road from church to property I am looking at for home site.  Took thirty meter measure and went back out Monday morning to get a more realistic picture of what it consisted of.

The road to the house could use a little work, but so could the house.
The living part of it is nine foot by thirty foot and consists of two  rooms.

Under roof is an additional thirty by sixty foot area.

I picture kitchen, patio, bath, lanai and more out here.

The palm tree is to the North of the property and the direction from which you approach on the road running from North to East past the "brick house".  The sun would be coming up on the long open side of it and setting on the long cornfield side.  Already considering how to finish the inside (cement, plaster, tile and a dropped wood ceiling)  An enclosed skylight over booth rooms and double paneled tin roof.  With out zoning to worry about I would be limited only by imagination and the laws of physics.  Have suspended those laws on occasion and would consider doing so again.
This is really "living off the grid".

This is the road back to church and I would consider hiring some kids to cut the grass.  BTW you might remember that a "kid" is a young goat.  It would take a herd to trim this.  Love Togo and most of the JW's do not go door to door out here.  Baptist do and I have walked with them in visitation to invite people to see the "Jesus Film" and hear the gospel preached in real open air meetings.
So much of Togo is like Israel in the time that Jesus walked this earth as a man.  Farming is much like it was 2000 years ago, wells are dug the same and water drawn.  Roads are not as good as Roman but still dusty and washing of feet is needed daily.  People still get from one village to the next by walking and barter is the common coin.

There used to be a radio/TV program in the 50's called "This Was Your Life" and it was a surprise recap of an individuals life complete with significant people from their past.  I am writing an adventure story that is subtitled "James David Huff - This Is Your Life".  I have no idea how many chapters are left in the book nor the manner of exit at the end.  So far it has been and promises to be yet a mystery, thriller, fantasy, historical and emotional tale of one mans journey.   Screen rights are still available with Anthony Hopkins playing the enigmatic Mr. Huff.

Guess this does not help my sanity defense much........  (this from a man whose systolic numbers range from 79 to 158 in a 24 hour period)

"Always wave to the children. 
They will discover soon enough that this World is not always a friendly place.  
I  purpose that they shall not learn it from me."
j d huff

Monday, October 15, 2012



Sunday morning at the village of Tchandida I took a little walk from church to the property I have been looking at as a possible home.  It is only a few minutes down the "road" and around the "bend".

The corn is about done for this season and the potatoes are planted.
On the trail to the Brick House.

Seen from the road it is not impressive.
 Negotiating for 25X25 meter lot to include building.  (that is about 81 foot frontage and depth)  Bigger than the 8X22 foot home I own stateside.
Up close it is not impressive.

Good thing I am not trying to be impressive.  I do believe it has a lot of potential and picture living/dining/entertaining/den/library/reading/recreation room on right and sleeping area on your left.  Would put kitchen, bath, etc. in outside area.

This is the view from out front.

There is a bird up there somewhere that is welcoming me home and teasing, by hiding from me, at the same time.

Met this neighbor and his dog on my way back to church.  There are no strangers here, just people that you have not yet met.  Politeness and RESPECT are the norm.  Maybe one of the biggest reasons I love Togo and it's people is that word R E S P E C T.

On the way back to Kara I stopped and for this view of the road back to Tchandida.  I love this place.

"Always wave to the children. 
They will discover soon enough that this World is not always a friendly place.  
I  purpose that they shall not learn it from me."
j d huff

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Saturday Morning Guests


It is Saturday morning and four young ladies come to visit.  

Two of Bertine's daughters and two of her sisters girls come to say hello and we share a little treat.  The cakes were appreciated, the juice enjoyed and the ice, well the ice was the best part of it all.  Then on to coloring.

The dog says "Ruff".

The lamb says "Baaa".

The cow and pig "Moo" and "Oink" of course

and the rooster "Cock-a -doodle-doo"

Children everywhere are so much alike and so are the adults.  We just need to take the time to get to know each other.  We all have the same basic needs.  We are all on this rock, flying through space, together.

RULE:  Always wave to the children.  This World is not always a friendly place and I do not want to be the one the children learn that from. I want to be the happy face they remember.....  I'm just saying.

On A Walk Down Memory Lane

I was a guest and sat next to the old man who was at the head of the table.  It was a Thanksgiving meal, probably the last he would be on Earth to eat.  His children sought to honor him and had spared no expense to set a beautiful table.  The china was the best of Noritake and the silver glowed in the candles gleam.  The turkey was ready and all the trimmings.
The old man was radiant in his joy yet looked around as if something was not quite right.  Being closest to him, I leaned toward his place and asked “What is wrong?”
“My plate.” He said, “Where is my plate?”
“It’s here.” I said, “Here at your place.”
“No!” was his soft answer, “MY plate.”
I turned to his son setting next to me and repeated the exchange I had with his father.
“Oh.” He replied as he got up from the table, “How could I have forgotten?”
Bringing and old and chipped plate from the top shelf of the china hutch he exchanged it for the bright new plate before his dad.  “This is dad’s special plate.” He explained, “Ask him to tell you about it.”
I did, and as the meal progressed this is the story the old man shared with me.
When he was first married, one of their wedding gifts was a set of china.  It was pretty but obviously not expensive.  He always thought that it was from the free dishware that was offered with the purchase of a ticket to the Saturday night movie in the small town he grew up in.  They used to do things like that back in the old days and his wife’s parents were frugal re-gifters.  Whatever, the dishes held a special place in their marriage as the first meal his new bride prepared was served to him on this very plate.
“See this chip on the edge, here by the rose.” His old finger traced it with remembrance.  “Katie was washing the dishes when I crept up behind her and wrapped my arms around her.”  “She was so surprised, that the dish slipped out of her hand and back into the soapy water.”  “We did not discover the chip until we finished the dishes much later.”
“And this chip over here.” He continued.  “Someone told me that if you balance a china plate on the tips of the fingers of one hand and strike the edge with a knife, it will ring like a bell if it is good.”  “Never could get this plate to ring and broke off a piece trying.” 
“The china got put away after we started having children and only was used on Thanksgiving.”  Over the years the plate had become cracked and the rose faded and each of the imperfections seemed to hold a special memory for him.  I noticed as he traced a large irregular line the scar from an obviously major break that had been repaired by gluing two pieces together, that a tear was forming in the corner of his eye. 
“Katie was setting the table for Thanksgiving dinner when she had her heart attack.”  “The plate and her hit the floor together and they both broke.” 
“There is no fixing the damage.” He spoke the words softly.  “There is only moving on with life and letting the scars be gentle reminders of what we have survived and what we have shared and what we have become.”
When I left his home that night I took with me a lesson that has changed the way I perceive the damaged things around me.  They all have their own story to tell.  His were fond memories of love.  Some have damage from anger and hate.  Some from the normal wear and tear of life. Listen to them and learn from them, without judgment.