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, December 11, 2006

And it's Monday. The first day of the last week I actually have to teach anything this trimester. We have the last round of testing this week and then next week is spent doing Christmas activities. I have some American Christmas music I will be bringing in and teaching them. Basic stuff like Jingle Bells and Rudolph the Red Nose Reindeer. Maybe they'll be entertained. And if not, someone famous like Mariah Carey singing Oh Holy Night should at least pique their interest slightly.

I just wanted to take a moment and reflect. I feel as though I have completely settled into this life. I have a routine, I have a house I take care of, a job and friends. There are material things that I noticed I lacked, that I don't notice anymore. Things like Ziplock bags (luckly Leland brought some with him when he came and I had a few also, but we have since run out) How many times a day do you use a ziplock bag? They don't sell them here. Iceburg lettuce. How many times a week do you eat salad? I haven't eaten a proper salad in 6 months. Not that they sell Ranch or Caesar dressing here (but of course thank you Melanie and mommy for sending some). Television. Leland and I don't own a television. We could buy one if we wanted. But they are expensive, and except the occasional American movie or program, it's all silly soap operas from Brazil anyway. Microwave. How many times a day do you use that? I think you could buy that here too, but again, expensive and not many people have them. The shopping mall :) Everyone knows how much I loved my shopping. But these are all things I have learned not to love anymore. Things I no longer rely on. It's amazing how much stuff you can live without.

Hot water. Let's talk a little bit about the hot water. This is the exception. Something I don't think I can forget about. It is very cold outside. I wear long sleeves everyday to school, and in the evening I have to layer my clothes. Taking a shower in this place has since become a bigger pain in the rear. We have no shower curtain and the shower head is hand-held. It's basically a shower base that we stand in in the middle of the bathroom. So needless to say, water inevitabley gets all over the bathroom floor. And we don't have hot water. The cold water showers used to come as a relief after the very hot and dusty days. But now that it's cold outside, let me just tell you how miserable the cold showers are when you are already cold. So I just don't shower very often now. I know that's gross sounding. But I figure that I am also conserving water. Showering is an effort and takes mental preparation and planning because it's cold and miserable, and the bathroom gets completely covered in water afterwords. So the showering isn't done as frequently as normal.

Other than that, I had a very slow weekend. I mostly stayed inside and read. Leland went to Mazurka Saturday night and said it was about the same as last time. I just wasn't up for going. I went to the market this morning (early Monday mornings are always the best time to go) and Tony's aunt was there. She said she and some other ladies come up from the North on Monday mornings to sell what they have grown in their vegetable garden. Which isn't much. Usually watermelon, cucumbers, tiny carrots, and very large squash. Today they had kale, which is a type of lettuce, bitter like romain but very leafy. But I buy what I can from her and her friends, because anything else that they don't sell, I go ahead and buy from my main lady who always has everything else, Luz. She imports other fruits like oranges, apples, and bananas, and occassionally pears and grapes. She has all the basic other veggies like potatoes, onions, peppers, garlic, eggplant, and tomatoes.

So that is all, I will try and post some photos of our AIDS day this evening. Are you guys excited for the cruise yet? :)


Blogger Valerie Fazel said...

All Nadia wants for Christmas is some zip-lock bags???? That IS a big change from all Nadia wants for Christmas is some zipped -Coach bags.

12 December, 2006 01:37

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can certainly relate to the lack of hot water situation. We did not have a hot water tank either where I grew up and I had to boil our hot water in a big pot which I then poured into a big pail. I would then take that to the bathroom, add cold water until the temp. was just right and used a large mug and filled that with the water and poured it over my body. So we had to make do with that one pail for our 'showers'. Maybe you should try that :) Glad to see that you are getting used to life in Cape Verde. I hope you are getting some exercising somewhere in your daily routine. How about introducing soft ball in school? Did I tell you our biology teacher was a Peace corp volunteer from Memphis and he introduced soft ball in our school. Patients always ask about you - today Buddy Vosler came in and sends his regards.

13 December, 2006 02:32


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