functionkey

Fellows Blog Posts by functionkey

May 29, 2012 TG Togo

Michael Slattery | KF17 | Togo

Is Togo much different from what the 1969 edition of the Encyclopaedia Britannica has to say?  Agriculture still dominates the economy, people still haul in the fishing nets by hand on the beach in the morning, pagnes are still sold in the markets, and animism is still practiced–though this not as much as before.  Pictures don’t define a nation, so read on.

Dusk in Lomé is a special time when people leave their...

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May 4, 2012 KH Cambodia

Compiled by Michael Slattery | KF17 | Togo

Despite the often upbeat tone of fellows’ posting on the blog, I’ll be the first to admit that the position entails some universal hardships.  There is the occasional social isolation that leaves you Saturday night at home with a book and bottle of the local plonk, despite apparently leading a life of swinging exoticism and sun-drenched adventure.  There’s is a lot of driving around, waiting, driving some more, and then getting told some tall tales by people who look at you like you’re definitely one of those foreign imbeciles that...

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Apr 25, 2012 TG Togo

Michael Slattery | KF17 | Togo

My favourite breakfast at the commonplace street-side caféteria. A three-egg omelette made with shallots, tomatoes and spicy green peppers stuffed into a baguette. The café au lait is prepared using instant coffee and sweetened condensed milk. French influenced and yet distinctly West African. Price, 450 FCFA for the sandwich and 150 FCFA for the coffee, or total USD $1.20.

For those who love to eat as much as I do, I salute you...

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Apr 11, 2012 TG Togo

Michael Slattery | KF17 | Togo

“The does, who had never dug in their lives before, enjoyed the work. Both Hyzenthlay and Thethuthinnang told Hazel that they had no idea how much of their frustration and unhappiness in Efrafa had been due simply to not being allowed to dig.” (Watership Down, Chapter 41)

This past week, a paper called the World Happiness Report came out.  According to the report, Togo came in dead last in happiness...

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Mar 28, 2012 TG Togo

Michael Slattery | KF17 | Togo

Football: what more needs to be said?

For the past number of weeks I’ve been training with my microfinance institution’s football club, WAGES FC.  Early on in my stay, I found out that most of the male loan officers I was spending my days with were members of the team.  This didn’t surprise me after a certain point: the MFI was interested in placing me with their best agents.  Well-rounded people are generally active in various...

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Mar 14, 2012 TG Togo

Loan officer AMETEPE Kafui, who waited patiently for the foreigner while he made pretenses to know what he was doing with the camera.

Previous to the Kiva Fellowship, I worked for the Canada Revenue Agency, Canada’s federal tax department.  It was the only job I’ve ever had where I was reluctant to tell people what I did for a living.  While working for the Agency carries with it a certain stigma, the job itself can be described as people management; you learn to understand...

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Mar 4, 2012 TG Togo

Michael Slattery | KF 17 | Togo

Early on in my stay in Lomé I presented the Social Performance badge certificate awarded by Kiva to my microfinance institution WAGES.  I made enquiries and had a gilded frame made for the certificate at a local photography shop, and presented it to the Director of Women and Associations for Gains for Economic and Social (WAGES), Monsieur NASSIROU Ramanou.

Here we are at WAGES' headquarters in...

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Feb 22, 2012 TG Togo

Michael Slattery KF17 |Togo

A constant breeze flows across Lomé, day and night, alleviating the tropical heat.  It is a near constant 30 degrees Celsius at every moment of the day; only around the middle of the day when the sun is highest does the temperature rise. At this moment, people grow languid, traffic abates, eyelids droop, and it is time for the daily nap.

Solving the ills of social inequality requires a thoughtful environment.

Alternately, the beach beckons and seats under the palms fill with all sorts: office...

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