Off to Togo!
We (Patrick, Marc, and Max) wanted to be in Togo a whole week this time, to see and document the orphanage’s progress – and of course, to have more time for Mother Charity, the kids, and the rest of our projects. This was the plan… so that we could leave on Monday and meet Martin, a good friend and photographer, in Lomé on Wednesday. But thanks to the excellent scheduling of our airline, we had to spend another 2 days in Lisbon (missed the connecting flight), and then finally arrive all together in a plane with Martin in Lomé.
Large irritation of the customs officers when they see approximately 300 kg of donated goods distributed on 12 bags, which pile up in front of the X-ray machine. As expected, some bags are immediately pulled out, opened and checked. But as we explain to the chief of customs officials that the children’s clothes and toys are for the orphanage, a smile comes on. He finds our project great, thanks us and lets us through with the remaining bags immediately. That was the easiest customs clearance so far! Anjel and Blaise are waiting for us at the exit. They pick us up with two cars that have been checked by TÜV Süd. After 10 minutes of baggage and human Tetris, the driver skillfully launches the car somewhere behind the spray water tank and bonnet hinge. During this time, four of us were trying to open one of the 5 doors on the other vehicle. By the way, only after 3 days the first of us managed to get out of the vehicle without Togolese help.
In order to minimize the travel distances to our project destinations, Blaise and Anjel have arranged an accommodation close to Blaise’s apartment. We are welcomed by the neighbors and friends of Blaise.
After a short night, due to the limited scheduling, we immediately go to one of the most important projects of our journey. We meet Mother Charity and Christopher, the president of the Fondation Secour Universel (FSU), in their office building. The FSU is the NGO that was founded by Mother Charity in 2003, which now organizes the entire project around the orphanage.
They tell us about the progress of the last year and we discuss the costs for the upcoming work. The most important steps are the completion of the electric installations and sanitary facilities on the second floor. After the meeting in the office we visit the children in the orphanage. Meanwhile, they live in the new building on the ground floor. We are excited about the extreme progress of the building and inner courtyard. The children no longer have to play around the dangers of the construction site, but have a nice, large playing area.
The shell of the second floor is currently stagnating for financial reasons. We decide to cover the costs of the upcoming work on the spot. Because of your financial donations, we are able to transfer the sum of around € 11,000. Immediately after receiving the money, the construction works will be continued by FSU and building company. This will allow the children to move into the new dormitories soon. The second floor will contain 6 bathrooms and electricity in all rooms.
Toys: Highlight for the children
The big highlight for the children are obviously the toys, which we brought! The newly built courtyard is becoming one big playground within a short time. Since we are now familiar with playing as young fathers again, we immediately joined …
Soon we will inform you about our future plans for the orphanage. A short documentation will follow as soon as possible.
Marc, Max, Pat & the Seelevel team
BTW: Thanks to Blaise and Anjel for the great time schedule in Togo. And of course a big thank you to Martin Erd, who shoot all these great photos!
- 300 kg of newborn and childrens clothing, packed in 12 large sports bags
- 3 sports bags with toys, mainly made of wood
- around 11000 € financial donation for the completion of the 2nd floor, especially for the electric installations and the sanitary area (6 bathrooms)
Thanks to Martin Erd!