April 8, 2013 - Life in Togo, Hedzranawoe Marche

hello family
hows it going.  this week has been pretty good.  we didn't get to watch conference or listen at all but the Leavitts (the couple in togo) said that the branch might show a few sessions and the missionaries usually get together one monday night and watch priesthood session, but most will probably be off the magazines i guess.  we get the liahona every month so i'm waiting for the conference issue.  kinda a bummer but at least i get to read them.

this is what an average cour looks like. [A cour is a walled compound.] some are bigger more open some smaller more like a hallway but they have little shacks inside of them like that.  i hope you can see good enough.  

that sounds great about crystal and ryan moving.  you'll have to take some pictures of the new house and send them to me when its all done.  and in the mean time good luck staying in cedar hills.  your trip in salt lake sounded like a party and spring break sounded good.  

[Question from home:  You haven't said anything about power outages.  Are they ever a problem?  How long has the power ever been out for you?]
power outages happen pretty frequently but not for very long usually. it'll go out at least every three days, sometimes more frequently. sometimes a couple times a day. the longest it has been out has been only a few hours, that we have noticed at least because we were home.  the water goes out with the power which is the worst part.  it's gone out a few times during my showers, but luckily i was near the end.  just africa.  you make do.  

[Question:  What does Togo sound like?]
togo usually is not super loud.  at night, especially on the weekends, there are some bar type places outdoors that blast some music really loud or church on sunday there are a lot of preacher guys who love to yell into a microphone to teach.  but whenever africans play music they like to listen to it really loud.  my personal favorite example of this is when someone will get some huge speakers and put them on their porch and turn them outward towards the road and then sit right behind them.  they do it so that they can keep them all the way up...africans.  also africans are way too liberal with the use of the car and especially moto horn.  every little thing people are honking all over the place.  its crazy.  sometimes i'm pretty sure they honk for no reason at all, just like honking at random stuff.  

[Questions:  Your hair looks short.  Who cut your hair?  What is your favorite food from Togo that you have eaten so far?  What food have you cooked?]
 yeah elder mrccray cut my hair pretty short before he left.  its too hot here to have even close to long hair.  im not sure what my favorite african thing i've eaten is yet.  we have had some pretty good meals at members houses, but usually at home it's just spaghetti and chicken or rice and chicken with occasional fish.  i cook, though we rotate cooking for once a meal.  oh and go marci's kid!!  thats pretty much how we do it in africa :)  ...just kidding. and guess what!  i found some cinnamon in our cupboard last week and so i made some french toast on saturday morning.  oh my goodness, that was so good.  the africans weren't big fans, just cuz it was different, but elder hales and i were lovin' it!  speaking of which, i want to make some syrup with some vanilla extract that i found too.  how much sugar did you put in with your syrup mom?  will you send me some instructions.  i heard of an elder who found some maple syrup, and i probably could find some in the market but just in case.  also will you send me instructions on how you make your pancakes with some notes about the absolutely essential things, because i'm going to try and make those african style.  we'll see how it goes, but i need a little variety.  

these three pictures are the view from the church second floor. 

the last one is me and my makeshift bench press.  elder mccray made those weights when he came to hedzranawoe.  you kinda get the weights up on your knees then slide your butt off the front of the chair so your crouching and kinda lean/fall back into the chair and get situated with your head out the back and your good to go....africa.  

well that's all for this week.  love you all have a great week in school.  good luck with the end of school everyone, and have a great week.  
loves Elder Rybin

Native languages spoken in Togo and Benin: