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Wednesday, September 15, 2010

A Cadeau!

“I got gifted some really nice lettuce and cucumbers this morning!” Those actual words filled with excitement came out of my mouth Monday afternoon while talking to Virginia. She then stopped me laughing pointing out that never in the U.S. would I have uttered those words let alone with such excitement.  But now when it’s a bit of a challenge to find lettuce and cucumbers I get pretty excited just to find them, so you can only imagine my excitement to have been given some of the best quality I’ve yet to see for free by my neighbor who’s a retired gardener.  As I’ve already said several times since being here, the Togolese are just very generous and it still surprises me how much they give especially considering how little they have.  In the last week I’ve been gifted lettuce, cucumbers, tomatoes, an insane amount of green beans and peanuts, bananas, tofu, and a bible (in French). And of course on pretty much a daily basis I’m gifted Tchouck which is their local fermented drink made of millet, which is slowly creating an addiction (tastes like a fermented cider). And in addition to that my gardener neighbor has offered to plant any seeds that I buy out at his garden and he’ll bring me the veggies once they’re ready.  Says he’ll help me plant a small garden in my yard if I decide to do that as well.  He also gets rid of all the weeds that sprout up around my house which helps keep snakes away and just makes everything look nicer.  I find myself on a daily basis just trying to figure out what I can do to pay everyone back for all their help and cadeaux they give me.  I’m really just not sure what I can do yet but it does give me motivation to work as hard as I can to help as many people here as I can even though I know that given the state of Togo all I can really do is make a tiny difference in maybe a few people’s lives.  To really give these people what they need there needs to be some top level changes that we as volunteers just have no control over.  It’s actually really frustrating because I want so much for them after seeing their generosity on a day to day basis.  Well enough with that talk though, not much I can do but do my best and hope that one day those top level changes start taking place.  


Lilia Lima said...

hi Kristine,
again, i know what you mean when you say people has nothing but they want give the little they have.
and if you don't mind, i'll give you a suggestion: when they feel you are happy to receive, they are receiving their "pay back". your gratitude is the best you can give.
and, if you can give them a chance to keep gifting you is another good things.
i am sure your neighbor will be very happy to plant and help you in your garden.
that way you are paying back.
it's all about love :)
thank you
peace and good

Mom said...

Very nice Kristine. I agree with Lilia, most of the time when you give something, you do not want or expect anything in return, but the happiness you see you have caused in the other person is priceless.

I am sure you will find opportunities to repay kindness.

Love you,

sacha said...

yep, they are right. just being yourself and genuinely happy is really a gift in itself. but i think you should start your own garden! it would be exciting and help pass the time and very cool to be able to grow your own stuff, and perhaps "gift" it as well in time...hugs,