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, November 16, 2006

I know it has been a little while. The truth is, I haven't felt that I have had much to write about. My life here has become exactly that: a life. Anything I do here doesn't seem out of the ordinary because to me, it no longer is. Everyday has become a routine and it seems I have adapted fully to this way of life. My mentality has accepted that this is my life, this is the way it is and so I have stop questioning what happens to me on a daily basis. To me, it is just another day. Adaptation is such a wonderous thing really.

Last week I gave my students their first test. And their abilitites to adapt to the art of cheating astound me. They spend so much time and effort cheating that it is a wonder they don't use these creative skills to study. This is usually a comment that many a teacher makes, but it's true! I was never a serious cheater in all my years of school, and the lengths that these children will go to is amazing. They sit in desks of two, so it is very easy to copy off your neighbor. So I thought I would be tricky and make up two different tests. In essence two different tests for each table. And when they received the test back with some answers marked wrong because they were the answers of their neighbors questions, they still didn't understand why I had marked them wrong even though they had written the exact same thing as their neighbor. It's funny. But I have found that sometimes the common sense is just plain lacking.

So my weeks are pretty regular now. I go to the market on Monday mornings usually after my first class, so around 8:30. It's the best time to go as the vegetables are often fresher and they have more of a selection. I usually buy from one woman named Luz. There are about 6 or 7 vendors in the little marketplace but she usually has the most selection and fresher looking veggies. You can get pretty much everything here. I usually buy carrots and cucumbers because they make a wonderful snack especially now that I have been given the gift of ranch dressing (thank you Melanie, and mom of course). But you can get squash, zucchini, eggplant, potatoes, just about everything. I usually don't buy those veggies unless I know we will cook with them in the next couple of days. Things tend to spoil quickly. We always have onions, garlic, and green peppers in the house; Leland is a big fan of all and they cook well in things like BBQ sauce (yes we make our own because you can't buy it) and spaggetti sauce. We buy fruit very rarely because it's so expensive. It costs about $5 a kilo, which turns out to be like 2 or 3 oranges. That might not seem like a lot to you, but that same amount of money can also buy me a kilo of carrots, half a kilo of onions and garlic, and six eggs. Soooo, needless to say, fruit is something of a luxury. Going back to the BBQ sauce, we usually make a big batch of it and then use it for making a large batch of shredded BBQ chicken. This goes great on sandwiches, or in a quesadilla. I make tortillas about once a week. It takes about a half hour and they are so good and last about a week or so. Cheese is something that is readily available here, we even have parmesan! It is expensive, so we only buy it occassionally. There is a lot of pasta as Italians are a plenty here as well. For dessert I have perfected the art of making fudge, although the last batch I made for some reason will not freeze, so we have taken to just scooping it out and eating it like ice cream :)

Last night Leland and I made pizza and invited Helena and Tony over along with their two kids. The pizza came out quite nicely, considering Leland had to hand make the dough and I the sauce. But with the BBQ chicken on top, it was delicious :) So food is no trouble here. And we have become creative in the ways that we buy and cook food. We have tried to stop keeping left overs here, as nothing has any kind of preservative in it and things tend to go bad quickly, even if they are put in the fridge. We hand make a lot of stuff that can last such as tortillas, bread, fudge, BBQ chicken as this makes our lives a little easier since it is so much effort to prepare a meal. Also we have hired an empregada or a maid. The Peace Corps allowance allows for this and I figure that cleaning has not always been a favorite of mine to do, and the money PC gives me isn't really mine to begin with, so I might as well give it to a woman who can do the job better and needs the money more than I do. But the way, she will also be doing our laundry. Nice. Now that we don't have a machine in this apartment, we would have had to hand wash it. No thanks. Anyway, this blog dragged on longer than I thought, I am sorry if you were bored about all that food stuff. But things are going well, we are just waiting for the carpenter to finish our furniature (there is no local Ikea of course) and things will be just lovely! Hope you are all well.


Blogger montchan said...

Hi there!
In 2 weeks my friend and I will visit CV. We don't speak Portuguese, never been there before, and are totally excited! We are booked in Santa Maria on Sal, but plan to take a boat to Boa Vista, or Sao Vicente.
Do you think it's doable? We have 1 week, and Sal doesn't look like a place where we want to spend a lot of time.
And I have SOOOO many questions!
Is it Ok to email you?
I bookmarked your blog.

By the way, my friend and I are both American and female. Is that going to be a problem?

18 November, 2006 23:37

Anonymous Danielle said...

your babble is fun to read, keep it up nod!miss ya

19 November, 2006 04:31

Blogger DeAnna said...

Nadia!!! I think that wanting to come home is fine.. and wanting to stay there is even better! You are doing such amazing things and I am so proud of you. I would really like your address or whatever it is to send you some things. I'm sure it takes forever to get there..but everyone loves mail!

Love you!

20 November, 2006 15:13

Blogger Natasha F said...

Nod pod, you are going to be a first class chef by the time you come home! :) It's amazing all the things you're cooking with what little (or maybe not so little...i dunno) you have. It's really exciting, i only wish i could visite you! I can't wait till we do :):). Anyway, i love you and miss you lots.
Love, tasha

20 November, 2006 17:46

Blogger Valerie Fazel said...

Personally I think this is one of the more interesting of all your entries. Sometimes it is the ordinary experiences we forget about later on and having a written memory of plain ol' life will mean so much to you one day. The food stuff was not at all boring! I sent you a "Christmas" box today, hopefully it will arrive before the holiday. Love, Mom

20 November, 2006 20:57


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