...1968 to where? SAHARA Algeria / Tchad / Cameroon / Togo

Dadja 1968 - 70

1970 - 75

1968 - 1970 

SlideShow: TOGO 1969

"Stranded" in Togo 1968

Industrie Textile Togolaise, ITT
Datcha (Togo)
After arrival in Douala (Cameroon) I worked for a while at a seaman's hostel but was soon picked up by the police and ordered to leave the country because of lack of documents. I had nowhere in particular to go and my finances were at a low as usual. I bought a flight ticket to Lome in Togo and "organized" a Visa. I had never heared or cared about Togo before. The immigration men escorted me to the airport and after som quarrels I could border the plane. We landed in Lome in the middle of a heavy thunderstorm and I trekked to the beach where I could find a spot to lay down. I had now where to go and was a bit lost, no cash or much other possessions. No idea where I was and even less of what to do next! I made it to the beach and looked for a suitable place to lay down. Next morning I got up, hungry, wet, full of sand and disoriented! Not unusual but always a bit unsettling. I was looking for the "Foyer des Marins" since it proved to be a good address in Douala and hopefully also here in Lome. Naturally, they could not send me away and instead offered me a small empty room to stay. Not bad for a start. I got information about a Swiss, Mr. Biedermann, Director of Industrie Textile Togolaise in Dadja and I went to contact him.
He was a very friendly man and offered me a room in his house. Later he drove me to the mill, situated 170km North of Lome, and introduced me to the German Mill Manager, Mr. Tasche. I got a job as Assistant Spinning Manager under Mr. Kriegel a German "bully". Nevertheless, it became one of my best time in live. I met a local girl, Jeannette, my later first wife for 18 years. Soon she born me a son Marcel. We lived in the guest house of ITT (Industrie Textile Togolese or later Togotex Int. SA. ), Dadcha, which was situated near Atakpame, Plateaux state and 150km North of Lome.
I was soon at home and made friends with the mostly German staff. I needed a transport and I found two old DKW Mungas (2-stroke engine). I got permission to repair one working with the available components. It was quite some work but with the help of my mechanics we got one exemplar up and running. This gave me the freedom to roam around the bush and even to go for a weekend to Lome.

Later I bought a new Renault to make such trips more comfortable.The roads where not tarred and the dust and rain was not conductive to the well being of our baby, Marcel (born 20.03.1970!
The roads where not tarred and the dust and rain was not conductive to the well being of our baby, Marcel (born 20.03.1970! I liked the Plateau where we visited Jeanette's father with his 4 wives. The climate up there was cool and a relief to the otherwise moist heat. We undertook trips in the surrounding areas and also went fishing in the Mono River. There Kriegel and his friends liked to us Dynamite to make the wait short!

An excursion to Ganvie (Lac Nokoue) in Benin (Dahomey)
Horror strikes: The Gillain Barre Syndrom

All happiness but, as in many cases in my live, things changed. This time in form of a strange sickness which slowly paralysed me from bottom to top. It started during a visit to a Disco in Lome. My legs just gave way and I lost also control over my hands, letting beer mugs just fall to the ground. All thought that I`m drunk but that was unfortunately not the case. Next day I drove Jeanette back to Dadja. It was a hard 3 hours drive and than another 2 hours to the German hospital in Palime. There I couldn't leave my car. My voice also failed and I had to struggle to get attention and being carried into the hospital. The German Doctor made it clear that I have to be transported as soon as possible to Switzerland. They feared that vital functions might also fail, which than also happened later on. At the University Hospital of Zurich they diagnosed the Gillain Barre Syndrome, a form of Polio which is indeed very rare. Why can't I win the Jackpot instead! After some very trying months, where I laid motionless and blinded in my bed. Hooked up to all kind of instruments, common to intensive care units and waited for betterment. I could not speak, I could not hear, I could not move, I could not feel, but I could hear. At times it was horror. Than, one day, I suddenly felt a faint sensation of temperature change from the liquid food, administered through a tube to my stomach. I sensed that this can be the return of feelings and it was! Slowly but steady the feelings and motions returned and with help of all kind of therapies and tortures I came to live again. - That changed a lot, my friends could drive me in the wheelchair to the next pub and this gave my recovery a real boost and my nurses nervous attacks. After leaving Rehab I was searching for a job and was lucky and got me a contract with IPTC (West Africa) Ltd. and a few months later I was on my way to Nigeria to face a New Challenge: NIGERIA!.

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