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Roger: return to the confinement at the Mon Refuge center in Togo

Here are a few lines on the confinement experience at Mon Refuge

Last year for about two months, schools and all higher education establishments were closed because of Covid-19, in particular to prevent its spread in schools. And during this period, the children all stayed at home.

In order to better control contacts with the outside world, all the young people from the Djagblè household were brought back to the Mon Refuge center with the exception of Joël who continued to go to his aluminum carpentry workshop. Schools have been closed but not manual training workshops and markets.

For a month the road from Mon Refuge to Djagblè was barricaded by the military. And consequences impossible to go to stock up on foodstuffs at the Avèta market or in Lomé. I had to make detours along small bush roads to reach Avèta and Lomé. We thought we were in a period of war or in prison where you have to use gymnastics to find food.

The confinement only concerned the period from 8 a.m. to 6 a.m. This is the time slot when no one was allowed to go out on the streets.

At Mon Refuge we cut off contact with the outside world. Only the staff team could go out for shopping. We have installed a hand washing point and made masks with tea towel papers for the children.

One of the difficulties was having the children at home all day long. Usually it’s over from 12.30 p.m. This forced us to adapt on a rotational basis as we were understaffed for 24/7 control.

But the good side is that we took the opportunity to return to the fundamentals of life in a group, to work in the field instead of renting a tractor, to organize revisions in the hope of a resumption of classes this year, to discover that we have an open space to understand to accept to step on the toes of time. It is true that it was complicated to manage the daily life but the experience of the summer camps, where we have a larger group, helped us a lot.

Here confinement rhymes with closing schools and curfew and suddenly silence is not on the menu of discoveries at this time because 42 young people together all day long screaming and running everywhere, it’s nonsense. The smartest escape vigilance for a blink of an eye. We rather discover how to manage the overflow of time and the boredom that slips in from time to time.

We had struggled to manage the catering for over a month but things are much better.

This time of self-confinement is also lived in fear of the risk that it will resume being so much in the same place. But we are aware that this is a moment that will pass but for now we keep smiling and the joy of living with a thought every day for all those affected by the virus.

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