Serendip's Togo connection

  SUSAN WHITE, Associate Professor and Chair of the Chemistry Department at Bryn Mawr College, worked with the Peace Corps in the West African nation of Togo from 1978 to 1981, teaching physical sciences in public high schools in the Plateau region. While working on her Ph.D at The Johns Hopkins University and during subsequent postdoctoral work at Yale, Susan remained in touch with Togolese friends and teachers. After joining the Bryn Mawr faculty as an Assistant Professor in 1991, Susan returned to Togo for two weeks in 1994, for a quick visit in 1998, and for four multi-week stays in 2000-2. During each of these visits, Susan talked with teachers, school administrators, and government officials about how Americans and Togolese might work together to enhance educational opportunities internationally. During the latter trips she spent much of her time in Tohoun talking with local political and educational leaders. Materials presented here (see directory) are aimed at developing ways to bring American and Togolese educators and students closer together. An emerging priority, both to foster development and to make rural life more attractive, is to bring computers and computer education to the children who live in small towns.

Generous colleagues recently donated money to the Lycée for the constuction of a well. The photos of the well construction to the left were taken during Susan's January, 2002 trip. The well is being dug by hand by one well digger assisted by two apprentices and his wife. Initial excavations to a depth of 8 meters went quickly, but progress has been much slower due to a thick layer of hard, white rock. As of May, 2002 the depth is 21 meters and no water has been found. The site for the well was chosen by traditional dowsing methods and is next to a lush spot with a large mango and several palms trees ... so there is hope. Think water!

  • Other Recent Developments

    Togo's political and economic crises continue and the legislative elections, originally scheduled for October, 2001, have yet to be held. Many young, well educated Togolese are emigrating to neighboring countries, Europe, and the US. The US Diversity Lottery has made it possible for numerous Togolese to come to the US.

  • School Update

    Due to the difficult situations in which many families find themselves, school attendance was down slightly this year. During the dry season, afternoon classes were held at the Jr. High School in Tohoun so neither teachers nor students would have to endure the long, hot walk to the Lycée de Tohoun. The Director of the C.E.G. de Tado was transferred to Tohoun and Bruce Esseh (French teacher and web page author) was promoted to be the new Director of C.E.G. de Tado .


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