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, May 07, 2007

Last Tuesday was International Laborer's day. I decided to go to the Norte, specifically the town of João Galego. I've talked about that town before, Leland and I have been once. But several of the teachers that work at the high school live there, so a couple of them invited me to spend the Tuesday holiday with them. The town is almost on the other side of the island and there are beaches on that side. When Cape Verdians have the day off, they tend to have grelhas on the beach. A good friend of mine and some friends invited me along to theirs. Let me just explain something: when I think of grilling on the beach, I think of taking as few items as possible, the less to carry, the less to hassle with. Cape Verdians are the complete opposite for some reason. We left for the beach at around 9am and they brought everything, and I mean everything. Pots, and pans for cooking, dishsoap and sponges for cleaning, a plastic table to set up their "kitchen" and all the ingredients to all the food unprepared. It was remarkable, I couldn't believe how difficult it all seemed to me. I'm sure they have their perfectly logical reasons for doing this, I just didn't feel comfortable asking. For example: little tuna croquettes are made with canned tuna, mayonnaise, and spices. It is something that could have been mixed earlier at home and then brought all ready to cook. But instead, cans of tuna, jars of mayonnaise, and the spices were all brought separately and prepared there.

Anyway, it wasn't my picnic, so I just followed along and helped where I could. The first thing they did when they got there was set up their "kitchen" and prepared breakfast. We had two fires and a portable gas tank to cook meals for 10 or so people. It was some intense cooking. But the Norte "é sab" as they say here, meaning it's good. And it is good. The towns are small and so friendly. It's calm and quiet and everyone knows everyone. You go out for a walk and you end up staying outside for hours cause you find someone to talk to and you just sit there and talk. You remain on the stoop of a house, or in the main square on a bench or in a bar, it's just so cool.

This past weekend I decided to go up there again. Sunday was May Day, so Saturday night they held a party at the discoteca in João Galego. During the day, everyone just relaxes outside and talks and laughs. We would get a car and go to the other two towns that are in the same zone. Tarrafas has "world famous" ponche de mel a type of thick drink that's made from local grogue and honey. So Saturday, me and a few friends bar hopped around the towns, it was a good time. Saturday night was the big festa where there was of course more food than anyone could eat and fun music. Sunday was spent sleeping in. In the afternoon me and three other girl teachers around my age decided to go a little crazy and let go of some steam. We, four intelligent, composed professors were headbanging to Metallica and jammin to Snoop Dogg for two hours. It was great. I don't really even like Snoop Dogg. But these weeks are becoming stressful for us, we have so many tests to make up and grade. I gave my eighth graders their test last week and 40 out of my 60 students failed. So now, I have to make a make-up test of sorts so that all my students don't fail miserably at school. I'm exhausted and ready for the school year to be over. I have about a week left of my children's class which is just wonderful because as much as I love the little ones, it's a strain on my time and energy. The class ends next Wednesday and believe me I'm counting down the days.

In other news, my student Patricia was chosen to do the program in Praia. She's the only one on Boa Vista, and I'm so happy for her. I think she's a little nervous, and the people in charge of the program haven't been too forthcoming with the information about when it's going to be held and where specifically, so we're both a little frustrated at that. But it's the Cape Verdian way to leave everything to the last minute, so I'm sure it'll all work out in the end.

Well, I'm tired so I hope I didn't ramble too much. I hope everyone is well.


Blogger Mykah said...

You're right about the "Cape Verdian way" :)

Thanks for what you're doing there!

08 May, 2007 17:40

Anonymous Anonymous said...

nice journey

Just some explanation. As capeverdean I have to say that usually we like the meal prepared just in time to eat (tuna maoynaise and other ingredients).
This is the opposite of americans, that don't care if the meal is reasonably 'fresh' or not. It's cultural.
In CV also we comment the american way of heaving meals.
But I have to say it again, its cultural.

My whishes of nice stay in CV.


08 May, 2007 18:28


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