This is a guide for my family and friends about my life as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Cape Verde, Africa. I teach English as foreign language to high school students in Boa Vista, Cape Verde. Also as a disclaimer, the comments expressed here are solely of the author and do not represent the United States Peace Corps, the American Government, or any other governing body.

Monday, August 21, 2006

August 18, 2006

I have had issues thinking about what to write about. It doesn’t help that I am currently thinking in three languages. The Peace Corps Medical Officer told us yesterday that a Peace Corps volunteer’s stress level was equal to the stress levels of “losing your spouse times 3, losing your job times 5, and a family member in jail times 7.” She occasionally comes up with these ridiculous statistics and other interesting factoids about bizarre health concerns. As far as my actual stress level at this moment, I believe it is pretty low. Tomorrow is Site Announcement day. Here in Cape Verde I believe that this is something of great concern. We get placed on totally different islands. Meaning we have to fly to get to the other part of the country. And those of you in the US, of course this sounds like a ridiculous concern. But flying is expensive, especially compared to a bus that is generally the preferred and cheaper method of traveling in other 3rd world countries. All the islands are different and have their unique qualities which often are cause for greater discussion and believe me when I say that site announcement is ALL we trainees have been talking and thinking about for the past week. I feel lucky in that I pretty much already know where I am going. And the island is beautiful. It’s called Boa Vista, and it is one of the more touristy islands. A guidebook called the beaches on my island “impossibly beautiful.” This makes me laugh. I wasn’t prepared for this. Which is ironic. I was prepared for nearly everything. I prepared for sitting in my straw hut and living by myself in a strange town, I mean isn’t that what you think of when you think the Peace Corps Africa. I know it is. Instead I will be living on the beach on a beautiful island with a good friend of mine named Leiland. He loves to cook too, and we have made ridiculous plans about building a brick oven and an herb garden to make pizza. But you can’t laugh because half of our ridiculous notions are not so ridiculous, and they are completely possible. We don’t have much in the way of materials here. But the ability to improvise is a talent we have all picked up. Especially when your classroom is bare, and the students don’t have books, and are often hurting for a pencil and paper. Their notebooks become their textbooks and you should see them. They are immaculately neat and the translated vocabulary words are in different colors when they can trade colored pens with a friend. The remarkable thing is that I am not in a one-room school hut in the middle of nowhere. I am in an extraordinarily normal-looking three-story high school. But I don’t even have the ability to make photocopies for these children. Either they or I have to pay for them. My situation may be a little different when I get to my site but I doubt the living conditions of the locals will be vastly different, despite the touristy nature of the island. I am looking forward to living there, and being on my own. We have three weeks of training left. Believe me when I say we are all dying to go start our work. I personally cannot wait to start teaching my own class. The kids really are a good time and my new name is ‘teacher.’ Not Ms. Fazel, but just plain old ‘teacher.’ It’s cute the way they say it in their little accents, and I could be called worse…:)


Blogger Danielle said...

wow Nod, sounds like you are going somewhere fantastic! i looked up your future home Boa Vista and found this desciption of the island. 'The island is covered with sand dunes which give it a lunar scenery and it has 55 km of beautiful white sand beaches and esmerald green water.' (, for ur info)this has nothing on Coronado at the Del. I wish you all the best but you are missed! have fun!

25 August, 2006 04:29


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