The Togo Team ’23 has arrived back safe and sound in Ireland. We were very well received by the ‘Agbang’ Benedictine community in the remote north of their country. Though they have few funds we got what we needed: a generous welcome, lots of water, sufficient food, etc. In fact each of us had a private bedroom – though it is only fair to add that scorpions were quite frequent visitors to them, and when the fan did not work the rooms became like cauldrons.
The school at Agbang serves the Funali tribe, as well as young people from the other tribes in the area. Our roles were primarily in the classroom and on the sports field. Four of the team members taught IT; four others taught music and song (tin whistle, guitar, Veni Sancte Spiritus and Hey Jude….etc.). Our peers taught us to play some of their instruments. We introduced elements of hurling and rugby – to their fascination.
The monks organised for us to make some cultural visits. For example we were brought to a base of the nineteenth century slave trade, to a wild life reserve, to a ‘heritage’ homestead’ and to a forge. In the latter we saw how the main farming instrument to this day, an iron hoe, is made by hand! They are used all over that part of the country as if nothing had changed since the iron age.
The ‘Togo team’ received fifteen good quality laptops and €28,000 in funds for Agbang following our fundraising efforts. Every cent of that sum goes to their school. We have allocated €20k to the furnishing of a library for the school; at present they only have the husk of a building (recently
funded through German Benedictines). We spent some of our fund on educational and sports equipment. For example we filled the lacuna of only one punctured soccer ball for the 404 pupils with a dozen Irish footballs, rugby balls, etc. The remaining funds will be spent as worthy objectives
We learnt how fortunate we are in Ireland to have warm water, a clean and healthy environment and lots of food! We learnt from the generosity and good humour of our Togolese hosts and young people. We thank them very much.
In fact the project was so well supported at every level at home
and abroad that it must have been a work of God! Deo Gratias!