Many people have asked me, “Is Togo safe?” And the short answer is, “No.” But the longer answer is, “No, but what place IS safe anymore?” to be honest.
We are so thankful and blessed to live in America, where we have certain freedoms and opportunities available to us. Countless people around the world do not know what it means to have freedom of speech, the right to worship the One True God, the ability to bear arms, etc. But, unfortunately, America (and Alaska, even) are not as safe as they once were.
But Togo will be different. Cultural differences have the potential to greatly influence our feelings of safety and security.
And yet, according to the map above, from an article published in the UK, Togo is about as safe as America. Both are in the middle of the Index scale. But I’ll be the first to admit – I have NO IDEA how trustworthy that article actually is, which leads to my next few points.
Growing up, my dad taught me a lot about Situational Awareness, or knowing what’s going on around you. I was told to always be in the yellow zone (above), and know when I had to hike it up a notch or two. Whether we were driving in Anchorage, just walking through the store, or eating at a restaurant, I know my dad ALWAYS knew who was around, who we’d seen several times already, and who looked a little “fishy.” This situational awareness will be critical to our safety in Togo.
- When we’re walking around the market, we’ll need to discern who is following us and why.
- When we’re arriving back home, we’ll need to check for any new marks on our gate, fence, or door that could indicate we are being watched and evaluated as targets.
- When we’re getting ready for bed, we’ll need to see if people are parked outside our home observing our patterns and routines.
- When we’re frequenting the orphanage or the local churches, we’ll need to be aware of anyone following us.
This isn’t to keep us paranoid… this is to keep us and our family safe.
Yes, moving children to another country is scary. But God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. So we’ll rely on that Spirit, not our own.
If you’re interested in learning more about Togo’s level of safety, check out these resources. And of course, please feel free to ask us any questions you may have.
- Travel.State.Gov’s Togo Website, with travel advisories and embassy messages
- Canada’s Travel Website for Togo, with risk levels and safety and security messages
- The UK’s Travel website for Togo, with safety and security information and terrorism threat levels
I will add that ABWE takes the safety and security of their missionaries (and especially children) very seriously. We are all required to participate in a safety training that speaks on situational awareness, what to do in certain situations, and how to protect yourself and your family. They also require all missionaries to take a Child Safety Course.
While we cannot prevent every situation that will arise, we can be prepared. And that’s our goal.