Having just returned from West Africa, I would like to warn your readers about the customs personnel in Togo. We arrived in Togo from the Ivory Coast with a large carton of carved wooden masks, all packed for shipment home with our luggage. The Togolese customs inspector insisted that the package be completely torn open and all the contents removed. We were fortunate to be able to find supplies in the market to repack the items, but much to our astonishment, another customs inspector insisted that we open the package again as we checked in for our departure and return home. Only the goodwill of a couple of porters observing the fiasco saved the day, as they were able to put everything back together.
I have never come across more unpleasant customs inspectors anywhere in the world. In both instances they were cold, officious and uncaring, and refused to listen to my explanation.
Please do not avoid Togo. It is a fascinating place and full of warm, charming people. However, do not arrive or depart with any item that cannot be opened and closed easily.
HOWARD I. WILSON,