First Impressions

by Sara Savary (Fisheries '82-'84)

It was my first farm visit as the new fisheries volunteer. My Togo counterpart led me down a narrow path into the woods. We had already passed the farm and I wondered where we were going. As a child of the city, certain things crossed my mind, but I forced them back and tried to assure myself that these were friendly people. Still, I was a bit apprehensive.

My major concern with this assignment was how were the local farmers going to accept a female trying to teach them something new? I hoped I wouldn't run into too many "cross-cultural" problems.

My counterpart and I turned a corner and we came to a very small shack with many men inside, sitting around, drinking. They were all looking me over and I felt very much like the new kid on the block. I noticed the "Hawkeye-like" still in the hut and had an idea what they were drinking. The poured me a shot glass and watched closely as I took it a peered inside. It smelled very strong. I looked up and saw their grinning faces. I knew I had to pass this test or they would probably not accept me in my ag. extension role. I took a deep breath, downed the clear liquid in one gulp and said "C'est tres bien." We all had a big laugh. I turned down the next glass with the explanation that I had to drive.

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