Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Sassou rocks the test!

On Monday morning Tom, Meza and I piled in a land rover and headed East to Aneho, Sassou's village. An hour and a half later we came upon pristine beaches and crystal clear green ocean water. It was breathtaking and beautiful!! We were right along the border between Togo and Benin.

We picked up Sassou's father, Efoe, and he directed us to their actual village which was not Aneho at all. It was a small, proper African village down a long red dirt road lined with Palm trees. The village had round huts with thatched roofs, houses all connected to one another, and absolutely no commercialization. It was truly an amazing place.
We drove past the village and went to Sassou's school. It was VERY impressive. It's a christian school and the students wear uniforms. We talked with the headmaster and he went into Sassou's classroom and said

"There will be a white man with a camera coming in here to photograph the class. You all need to continue with your test, and do not cause a scene."

Then Tom and I had permission to go into the classroom. Sassou was sitting in the middle with a pair of Ray Bans on! It was wicked!!! The entire class was so well behaved and other than a few wandering eyes at the camera, they were wonderful. The question for the test, we learned, was an assessment of knowledge. They were to write in their booklets all the main things they learned that year. They sure had a lot to write!!

Tom snapped a few photos, then we headed back to the village to see Sassou's house while he finished his test.

At his house, Efoe gave us each coconuts. We drank coconut juice and ate the inside. My first coconut experience that wasn't shredded from a package :)
Efoe showed us around the village and we met the Chief. He came and sat with us and we had a lovely chat with he and his family. They told us about 2 other kids in the village that could use help from Mercy Ships. Before we knew it one child with club feet and another child with a hand deformity had walked in. We took pictures of them, but told the Chief that the field service was coming to a close and we probably wouldn't be able to do anything to help. It was so heartbreaking to watch this girl with club feet walk---it hurt me inside!!! The good news is that Mercy Ships can help this girl. The bad news is that she may have to wait for the next field service in Togo for that to happen :(

We said goodbye to the Chief and made one stop at Sassou's great grandmother's house which was phenomenal. She was very old, but extremely coherant and very thankful for Mercy Ships and everything they have done for Sassou.

We said goodbye to her and went back to Sassou's school to pick him up. We were taking Sassou and Efoe back to the ship for thier post-op appointment. We talked with the headmaster and set up a group shot of Sassou and his classmates. Then, we were back on the road to the Africa Mercy. I was so happy that we were able to help Sassou be able to take his test! He said it was hard, but he was glad it was over :)

Sassou's village, Agokpame.

Love this shot of the trees at an angle.

A few people from the village.

The precious girl that has club feet, a deformity where her feet grow backwards.

Sassou in his classroom taking his test.

The entire class!

Sassou with his dad, Efoe, and his principal.

Photos courtesy of awesome photojournalist TOM BRADLEY:



  1. I am in awe and in total admiration of you, Claire. I so wish I could figure out a way to do what you are doing and go for a non-profit career. Although we miss you here, we are so very proud of the work you are doing in Togo.

  2. These stories are amazing and so are you!

  3. YAY Sassou and and YAY Claire and Tom!!! You're inspiring so many precious lives I'm just in awe. Keep up the good work and great stories! Loved the vacation pics too!


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.