March 4, 2013 First week in Lome, Togo

Bon soir family,

thanks for all the letters.  dad thanks for the update, those are some major miracles and i'm glad things are working out there.  

there is so much to tell that i hope i can remember it all.  and so i'm going to jump right in.  i am great.  the flights from the US were long and hard.  we didn't really get any cool opportunities to teach besides that one guy on the first flight i told you about.  

On the drive from Cotonou, Benin to Lome, Togo
first impression of africa is that it is sooooooooo hot here :)  i wasn't even off the plane and i could feel the humidity wrap around me like a big old blanket in the middle of summer.  it was dark so i couldn't see much but i could definitely feel the heat.  the people here are awesome though.  so humble, so giving, and happy.  even though when you are walking down the street everyone looks angry, but you smile and wave and say hello and they get this big old smile and wave back, at least most people.  the kids are my favorite.  the song the sing is "yovo yovo bon soir ca va bien merci".  sometimes they just sing "yovo yovo bon soir" over and over.  it is great though, every single kid does it.  i get it at least 10 times a day by groups of kids probably on every street we walk down.  some will run up and grab my hand and laugh, others just laugh. [yovo is white boy in Fon]  all the kids are just playing soccer all the time in the streets too.  sorry this is bad spelling but this keyboard here sucks and i am trying to go fast to get more in. [And I am trying to correct the spelling!] 

Bedroom with mosquito nets and fans to help 
them sleep at night without getting bit
the french here is really different though, at least the accent.  but it is coming.  some people i can understand pretty much everything they say and others nothing.  i have some pictures i will send to you too. my companion is elder ouonnebo pronouced "wan-eh-bo"  he is from the Cote d'Ivoire.  so is elder gomen.  elder mukenga is from the congo.  elder gomen is elder hales companion and the district leader.  elder mccray and mukenga are the zone leaders too. elder mccray used to be the assistant, and he goes home in less than three weeks.  its weird to have us newbees and him there, but really helpful.

Elder Ouonnebo
our appartement [French spelling] is old, but pretty big, not bad though.  we have a roof we can get on and it is where we work out in the morning,  i have some pictures from up there too.  cold showers are not bad at all.  they are actually really nice because it is so hot all the time. 
rooftop views


we finished our laundry a little bit ago and that was an adventure.  my fingers are raw in some places. it took me and elder hales forever.  but ca va aller (they say that all the time here, especially to me haha).  
"White" shirt after one day :)

Elder Ouonnebo and the "laundromat"

Gulf of Guinea
the drive to togo was long but good.  we got to see a lot of stuff like the ocean too.  i have some pictures of that too.  the members here are awesome, but there are a lot of less actives.  we are pretty far from the church and so it is hard to get investigators to come to church. we eat pretty much chicken and noodles or chicken and rice.  we just got back from the marche where we bought some fish too.  i bought 4 pineapples for 900 cfa, which is just under 2 bucks. they are a little smaller the ones we have in the states but they are soooo good.  they taste like candy.  especially since we have no candy.  haha.

yesterday elder hales almost died fasting, and i wasn't far behind.  i brought some water to drink once we were done because we were going to finish before we got home, but elder hales had to drink it in church because he was about ready to pass out haha.  i drink so much water here, because i am constantly sweating.  so once we walked for a half an hour to church and sweated out everything we had in us we were dying, but we made it haha.  

its ok, we are all fine here.  so much to tell but i have to go so i can send pictures too.  but love you all, the questions help me focus my writing so thanks for those.  and tell everyone they can email me.  thanks so much.  love love love.  oh ps they didn't have a refill for the scripture marking pen i have at the mtc because they were all out, so when you send a package will you squeeze that in there.  no rush and don't feel obligated to send me stuff.  i can get pretty much everything i need here, but when that comes that would be helpful.  thanks again.  love you all.  Elder Rybin

love you all.  have a great week.
love, elder rybin