Togo, officially the Togolese Republic, is a country in West Africa bordered by Ghana to the west, Benin to the east and Burkina Faso to the north. It extends south to the Gulf of Guinea, where its capital Lomé is located.
I have been to Togo specifically Lome about three times or more. My most recent visit was in October 2013. It was a trip organised by a colleague to go take part in a Toastmasters meeting and do some feasibility studies on horticulture or flower gardening. Apparently Togo has the largest flower industry in West Africa.
At the Aflao border (the border that links Ghana and Togo). The Ghana side was quite easy crossing, we went through the normal immigration procedures without any stress. However the drama begun when we crossed to the Togo side. We had to pay for basically everything costing close to$ 50, this included cab fares, immigration fee, yellow fever and tips to people who offer themselves as border crossing agents.
The meeting went pretty well, most of the people present were women. The language used was English so it wasn’t much of a problem for my other Ghanaian colleagues. We got the chance to network with young Togolese ladies passionate to develop themselves into good leaders. We also met a Toast master guru popularly know as SisDun or DTM (Distinguished Toastmaster). She was an inspiration to us, she drove us round Lome after the meeting She took us to the flower market, showed us popular sites in Lome while sharing her experiences and giving us valuable advice. She was full of so much positivism.
Our next stop was at the Ghanaian consulate residency. We met a Ghanaian expat working with the Ghanaian embassy. Her display of the Ghanaian hospitality was remarkable, from wine to lunch to paying for our cab fare back to the border. She was truly amazing. It doesn’t take much to be kind to people.
We arrived at the border quite late, when we got there many border crossing agents were waiting for us but from our earlier experience we decided we didn’t need one. Again we had to pay for passport stamping as well as another cost for God knows what to the corrupt Togolese immigration officer. He said, “if you don’t pay you won’t go back to Ghana.” We eventually paid and as we crossed to the Ghanaian side we were intercepted by this supposedly ‘border crossing agent’ holding a huge knife asking as to give him money or else he would hurt us. OMG!!We were being robbed. For some funny reason I just kept calm. I had divided my money into two earlier in the day and kept the smaller denominations in my purse so I showed him my purse and said, “Look, this is all my money.” He greedily put his hand in my purse and took everything. Yesss…..at least I still had the bulk of my money on me. Even though i was robbed I felt bad ass.
All in all it was good days trip. I would encourage people to take trips like this to neighbouring African countries. GO OUT THERE AND MAKE EXPERIENCES OF YOUR OWN AND LEARN!