Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire companion Matt reports:
“I recently had the chance to go and help out at the Emmaus in Togo, Africa. I stayed for three weeks; it was an amazing experience and I’d like to thank the Emmaus UK Companion Training Fund for helping to pay for the trip.
After a very long journey which included changing planes in Belgium and Ghana, I was driven to Emmaus Togo. The people there were very friendly and welcoming. Unlike in the UK where the focus of Emmaus’s work is on homelessness, Emmaus Togo works to provide education for local children. I visited Addugblewou Forest School which they set up in the village of Noepe, as well as an Emmaus shop which helps raise funds. The school provides a free education to children of poor families who otherwise wouldn’t get access to education.
Life out there is very different. The temperatures are hot and the level of poverty is noticeable. There are no tarmacked roads so travelling by car is a very bumpy experience. Houses are mainly made of mud and thatch, and are quite basic. Water is collected from a community pump. No-one in the area has access to electricity after 6pm each day, so you have to get used to very dark surroundings in the evening.
I brought gifts from Emmaus Coventry & Warwickshire with me, and handed them out at the school. They were particularly pleased with the stationery and sports equipment.
I tried some local foods – some of which were a bit of a shock to the taste-buds. I enjoyed the citrus coffee they produce by growing their own citronella.
It would be good to keep in touch with the people at Emmaus Togo. I met some amazing people and I hope we stay friends.”