was first settled by the Germans in the 1800's, then later turned
over to the French. Togo won its independence from France in 1958.
French is still the official language but many people speak some
We were welcomed to Lome by a group of musicians and dancers. Leaving
the port we drove along the beachfront and watched as groups of
people dragged large fishing nets from the water. Unlike other West
African countries we visited, we didn't see any buses on the highway.
Instead, there were motor bikes everywhere, usually with two people
on them. We learned these serve as taxis.
Like the other countries, stalls are set up on the street and women
are walking along with buckets on their heads and babies on their
first stop was to Independence Square where there is a beautiful
monument dedicated to people who fought against colonization. The
man's arms are raised as though breaking his shackles. A woman carries
a torch and faces east to signify a new day is born.
then drove for about an hour into the bush. This is a lush area
that is the agriculture center of Togo, with huge forests of Teak,
Palms, Kapok, coffee and cocoa and various fruit trees as well as
crops like yams, peppers. We
visited a bush school that was originally built by the village before
the government started building schools for the children. The school
rooms are thatched roof, open air dwellings with rudimentary benches
and tables. The children were very excited to see us, singing and
dancing and showing off their studies. Some were learning French,
others were doing math. We walked through their village which has
mostly adobe dwellings with thatched roofs and common outdoor cooking
final stop was to a mountain village of one of the native tribes.
We were greeted by the chief of the village, then the villagers
performed a dance that celebrates a successful harvest.
Our guide explained that Togolese people believe in a supreme God,
but believe he is too great to be addressed directly. So they have
other lesser gods they revere, including storms, harvest, etc. And
they believe that the spirits of their dead ancestors are still
around so they have rituals around that belief. Voodoo is commonly
practiced and one of the tours was to a voodoo ceremony, but we
decided we really didn't want to see a chicken sacrificed!
This was a very interesting tour though it was a long drive out
and back. The worst part was the bus driver constantly used his
horn to alert anyone walking or riding along the side of the road
that he was coming through. And the horn was loud and shrill. No
sleeping on this bus! Thankfully it was air conditioned as it was
quite hot and humid out in the sun.
To view more photos from Lome, please go to Togo
Photo Gallery. To read about the next location visited, go to
Locations Visited Photos Map