This is my research group in one of the last days in Brenu. After our fieldwork period and before we came back to Cape Coast, we decided to go to Togo! Our primary purpose was to renew our visa, but of course we were curious to go and see another African country. Togo was actually a German colony, but after WWI it was split between Britain and France, so the Volta region became part of the British colony called Gold Coast (today called Ghana) and the other part was under French colonial rule. This have had many effects, one for instance is that the country is very “slim”. There is only 52 km from the border to Ghana to the border to Benin. Another effect of the changing colonial rule is a less developed country than Ghana who was under colonial rule for 136 years for instance. Please notice, I am not discussing if colonial rule is a good or bad thing, that is a very long discussion. This is just something that a lot of people from Ghana and Togo have told me.
So that was a small historical introduction to Togo, now I will tell you about the trip.
We took a small air-conditioned bus from Cape Coast to a busy station right outside Accra. Stepping out of the bus, taxi drivers were yelling insistently to get us in their car and it was quite chaotic. Eventually we chose a car, negotiated the price and drove to the next bus station. Here we got on the bus that took us to Aflao, the city right outside the Togolese border. It was a fun experience to walk across the border, exiting Ghana went smoothly. Entering Togo was also easy and unproblematic apart from the heavy flirting from the male employees at the office.
Being a former French colony there is plenty of French influence on the Togolese cuisine. We enjoyed REAL coffee for the first time since January, it was amazing!!! In Togo most people speak French and very few that we met spoke English, so we had to dust of our high school French and do the best we could. It was a lot of fun.
We spent two days walking the streets of Lomé the Togolese capital just watching everything and shopping a bit in the enormous market that is a big part of the city.
Washing hands in a street “restaurant” before having the most delicious, cheap meal.
Just a little part of Grand Marché.
Lomé is a vibrant and interesting city and after two days we were more than ready to go back to Ghana. Even though the two countries are so close, the mentality and national identity seems different. It is a rather dissimilar experience walking the streets in Lomé compared to walking the streets in Cape Coast.
Both places have its strengths and weaknesses and I would definitely recommend going to Togo for a weekend if you are studying in Ghana. Coming back to Ghana we felt welcome and happy to be “home”, I know what country I like the most 😉