Archives for the month of: April, 2015

When I arrived at the bank this morning, there were thirty-four people already waiting in line. One transaction could easily take all morning. Still, I have a seat and it’s air-conditioned, so I get out my laptop and continue working…


I’ve always liked the fact that my place is something of a local tourist destination, but we’ve never seen anything like the last couple of days.

Yesterday morning, fifteen people descended on us after mass. Having seen the house from their ground-level village, their curiosity got the better of them, so they climbed the mountain to find out who lives here.

Then in the afternoon, the intrepid ‘Puits de Jacob’ community (who I met in Sokodé last week) became the first people ever to drive a nine-seater bus up the mountain.

And today, 30 teenagers from the ANLP (à nous la planète) club arrived unannounced, but waving a printed program of their Independence Day excursion listing “11h: visit the white man’s house”. They showed off their break-dancing skills on the veranda.

Still no news about my Togolese Residency Card, without which I can’t get a Nigerian Visa to help on staff at the tone orthography workshop in Jos. Only 11 working days left…

This week, I’m in Sokodé, one hour south of Kara, running an oral reading experiment with 40 Tem speakers. That’s four languages we now have data for, six to go.

It was an opportunity to meet the French “Puit de Jacob” (Jacob’s well) community that I’ve heard a lot about from various people.

I am in Lomé playing the Visa Game. In order to get a Nigerian visa for my trip in May, I need to apply for a Togolese Residence Card on Monday or not at all. It’s a tall order to get the 15 required supporting documents together before then, but I’m doing my level best. Any ideas where I can get a current UK criminal record check in a single working day?

I call it the Visa Game because at Wycliffe UK we used to do a simulation with this name for newcomers. Cue lots of bewildered, half-crazed recruits wandering dazedly from one obstructive office to another. What we never managed to simulate successfully was that those offices can often be hundreds of miles apart.