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 three multi-week stays in 2000-1. 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 are aimed at developing ways to bring American and Togolese educators and students closer together.

Pictures on the left show a colorful blend of traditional and school-related activities in the Plateau Region. Traditional dancers and women parading at the January 13 celebration in Tohoun, traditional chiefs assembled to wish the "Prefet" a Happy New Year, the "Proviseur" and his newly constructed high school in Tohoun, villagers in Tado grappling with US time zones, and a girls' Junior High basketball team from Notse. At the bottom two of Susan's former collegues from Lycée d'Alamé are shown.

  • Weather report in Tohoun

    The dry season came early and many of Tohoun's wells were dry by January, 2001. Sporadic and localized rains have produced highly variable crop yields then September rains flooded some crops.

  • School Update

    Due to the hot weather the Lycée students attended school from 7 AM to 2:00 PM with two breaks for snacks during the dry season. This "continuous day" schedule replaced the lengthy noon break and no longer forced the students to walk or bike to school twice each day. Students in Premiere took the Bac I mid-July and Terminale students took the Bac II at the end of July. Once again, students from this small, remote school performed well on the tough National Exams. September 24 marks the start of the 2001-2 school year.

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