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.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

August 2, 2006

The date looks weird to me. Dates and times and days of the week have taken on completely new meanings. Just like many other things here. I am physically and mentally exhausted but somehow I fit here like nowhere else I’ve ever been. Who would have thought, the little princess from Paradise Valley could feel so comfortable in a completely opposite environment? I may be working harder than I’ve ever worked in my life, and believe me, working for my father in his office was no easy task. We have four hours of language per day followed by lunch. After lunch we come back to school where we teach two high school English classes in a row. This is how it has been for nearly two weeks. This time is called Model School, when we learn how to be teachers. Yes, we are basically thrown into the fire and we are forced to create new and imaginative ways to survive. But this whole process has been pretty much that. With language, I was thrown in with a family who speaks absolutely no English, and if that doesn’t get you speaking another language in about 2 days, then I really don’t know what would. It’s interesting though because we teachers have stopped our Creole classes during the day in exchange for Portuguese. But when I go home everyday, I speak to my family in Creole but the television shows are all in Portuguese. And then occasionally in conversation I tend to throw in a Spanish word or two. The French is completely gone, not that I knew much of it to begin with. I’m mixed, just like my emotions, just like my soul. But this thought is definitely not something I dwell on. Though my skin color has become something of a fascination with the Cape Verdeans. They don’t entirely understand that my color is a result of two completely different colors mixing. To them I am just the ‘mas bonita Merkana’ with good hair and interesting skin. The emotions are also churning. Human beings thrust together and placed in an alien environment changes them. They draw close to each other and long for the familiar. I am happy to say we are an extremely normal group of American twenty-somethings, though there are a couple of us who stretch slightly beyond in age. I could not have handpicked a more accurate representation of my generation. We amazingly come from everywhere and have every type of experience you can imagine. And if you put us all together we have, combined, probably traveled over 98% of this earth. And we have mixed into each other, sharing, learning, and teaching and above all, laughing. And we eat a lot of French fries here. I’m not kidding. Possibly more than I ever ate at home.


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