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.

Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Well, well where to start. I apologize for not having any pictures this time around. But I am going to take them tomorrow, so I hope to post them Friday. I have just finished reading The Kite Runner. And yes, it was good. My mother sent it to me in one of the many much appreciated packages that have arrived. As my entire family had read the novel (including my father!), and because I was sick in bed, I decided to give it a go. I usually have to prepare myself for books like this. They are no Jane Austen material (i.e. readable at just about anytime). And I have to say, it went as I expected. Heartbreaking, and an incredibly emotional story. I think I would have edited the book slightly differently, there were some rough spots grammatically but all in all it was a good book. And as a first time writer Khaled Hosseini does well. Now I sound like a book review.

Speaking of reviewing books, with time on my hands I was considering doing a type of book review of sorts. Many of you have heard me discuss the possibility of doing an intensive religious study. I have found that I have significant time on my hands these days. With classes going well, and our lives being placed comfortably in our new surroundings, I have found a type of idleness I am not used to. Training was so intense, we were kept constantly busy; and moving here, we hardly had time to think about any extra activities. But the dust has settled and I find myself looking for hobbies and other things to keep my interests. I think I have decided to delve into religion. Examining the three main religions of the world for their similarities and differences has long interested me. This is something I will not take on lightly. I understand that a religion is not simply based on it's main religious text. I also understand that without speaking the languages the texts were written in originally, I quite likely loose significant details and translations that may be crucial to understanding. But I am now physically in a place where I can conduct research with little interference.

The religion here is mostly Catholic. There are a few 7 Day Adventists and some Muslims sprinkled here and there. But unlike other countries, the people here practice their religion quietly. They go to church on Sunday, but it is never a question asked of someone. Maybe because they simply assume that everyone is Christian. But maybe it's that they just aren't as concerned as other populations. My point is that I am unlikely to be influenced by any people here. Or the blatant placements of religion in matters that are more or less unrelated. God is not mentioned anywhere on their currency, it is kept completely out of schools, and rarely do I see symbolic representations in their homes. This is a country that has religion, but it doesn't govern their lives or make excuses for their behavior the way it does elsewhere. And perhaps some may say this could be a reason for the rate of teen pregnancies. But I doubt the fear of God would change these children's minds about sex. Violence and crime is so low it's barely significant, and I doubt it's because the preacher told them that steeling is bad. (Don't get me wrong, there is crime here, theft being among the most common, but by no means as significant as one would expect of a supposed third world African country). It's an interesting dynamic, to have such widespread religion and yet so little vocalization about it. No one presses you, no one influences your religious beliefs, no one looks down upon you when you mention you are not Catholic. They shrug and say "oh." So I believe that I have found a good place to conduct my research, and I will begin here in the next few weeks, I hope.

But on my life in general, things have been going well, there is nothing much happening although I was just informed that Leland and I will be throwing a party at our house this weekend. A dinner party no less. Good to have a social event planned. Bad to have to clean up after it.


Blogger Valerie Fazel said...

Sorry you had to be sick while reading Kite Runner. I actually found it very uplifting in the end; the promise of tomorrow and all that. Life is about contrasts, as you can well attest to; sometimes one cannot recognize the good without knowing the bad. Enough philosophy! I would think that if you plan on investigating the three major monotheistic faiths of modern humanity you would have plenty of material support from your London family-Mumdi Uncle is most knowledgable, and has many resources, on Islam.
You must read the Torah, the Bible and the Koran. Where does Buddism fit in scheme?

How kind of Melanie to send you some home goodies!
Love, Mom

26 October, 2006 17:14


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