Website of Joe Landsberger

When we are unable
to find tranquility
within ourselves,
it is useless
to seek it elsewhere.
Francois de La Rochefoucauld,
1613 - 1680, French author

Travel Index:

A young man in Africa

Life's journeys are not destinations but rather processes, acts and thoughts within and through experiences.

 This was my first international trip as a volunteer with the Peace Corps/Corps de la Paix. My life before this adventure was pretty much confined to the boundaries of my city, Saint Paul, Minnesota. We were a large working class family with no experiences other than visiting trips to the farms of our extended families of my mother and father.

Departure for Togo West Africa from the Virgin Islands
Departure for Togo, West Africa
from the Virgin Islands, 1968.

She was the girl friend of a prospective volunteer who did not continue onto Togo. I just love this photo.

Arrival in Lome, Togo 1968
Months later, at the
Peace Corps Hostel in Lome, Togo


My first assignment: Sanguéra, Togo near the capital city of Lomé.
Lomé is on the coast of the Bay of Benin.

My assignment was to provide materials for the digging of wells and grain conservation. Most of the wells were completed by my predecessor, and conservation was thwarted by established commercial interests.

Here are scenes from a sacred forest of the Éwé  people near my first assignment in Sanguéra, Togo near the capital city of Lomé. Lomé is on the coast of the Bay of Benin. This animist celebration took place on the same weekend of Easter 1969, and from my compound I could hear the drumming throughout the weekend.  Some photos were "blurry" since I could not wear my glasses (or clothes except for a cloth on my waste) in the forest. Sanguéra is now a voodoo tourist destination.

After eight months I moved up country to Soutouboua which was a crossroads of the Tem/Kotokoli, Kabiyè, even Éwé tribes. I loved it there as a more interesting and remote town. I was the only "white" inhabitant except for the Catholic priest. I rarely spoke with him but had many friends.