On May 22 this year, devotees in the West African city of Lome, Togo, inaugurated their new vegetarian restaurant with a celebration and feast.
The restaurant’s origins go back five years ago when devotees, encouraged by their late guru Bhakti-Tirtha Swami’s directions on simple living and high thinking, established an active Food For Life program in Lome and surrounding areas.
It became a curious yet common sight to see people rushing to form a long line for Hare Krishna food aid on Lome street corners and road-sides. Food For Life became so popular that Lome University soon requested the program to extend its charity to their students, who often had to abandon their schooling due to hunger.
As awareness of Food for Life and its delicious meals continued to rise, members of the public who preferred a vegetarian diet but found it difficult due to the lack of appropriate eateries began to come out of the woodwork. The demand grew for Food For Life-style vegetarian meals that could be bought at any time of the day. So in 2007, Lome devotees began constructing a restaurant as an offering to the memory of Bhakti Tirtha Swami.
With the help of generous donors from the local Indian Community, the dream was realized, and the restaurant began operating in June 2008.
The official inauguration was delayed until May 22 this year, when the restaurant held a feast in honor of the father-in-law of Mr. Sunny, a prominent donor to the project. All donors were invited, and expressed their satisfaction after enjoying the delicious subji, curry soup, puri, vegetarian kebabs, samosa, lassi drinks, and a host of other dishes.
Devotees now have the option to buy the town lots on which the restaurant and nearby temple are situated for $200,000 US dollars. Local donors have already raised $40,000, and have promised to finalize the deal once the temple has raised an equal amount.
For more information or to offer assistance, contact Varaha Dasa at Varaha108@hotmail.com