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, July 11, 2007

Well I feel a new entry is once again long overdue. I mentioned before that July 4th is Boa Vista's municipal holiday. And they (please excuse the expression) balls out. The festivities began the weekend before with theater groups, and yes even our own Miss Boa Vista Pageant. How could I miss such an opportunity? There were 10 contestants ages 16-21 or so, and three of those 10 contestants were my 11th grade students. Nice. Well, of course it was not your typical beauty pageant. I expected (why I even create expectations for these things is still really beyond me) the ten girls to be shown in various outfits, along with maybe a talent contest, or something that would verify their respectability and reason for holding such a contest, other than to ogle the physical attributes of various (barely) adult girls. Of course, I was mostly wrong. The girls simply came out in different outfits, including bathing suits, while the same music played on repeat, people yelled, and random guys rapped in between sets. Of course, the two guys who rapped were from two different posses who of course got in fights. Although, I must say it was entertaining. None of the girls from my class won, although one did receive runner up. So congrats to her.

The festivities continued Monday night with the inauguration of the new polivalente. Tuesday night the island of Boa Vista was blessed with the (relatively) famous singer Gil Semedo in concert. He performed two nights in a row. He's considered the Cape Verde Michael Jackson. I definitely could see where they got the reference from. He prides himself on his dance moves, which I must say were amusing to say the least. In all the festivities, barracas are also set up, sort of vendor stalls that sell grilled chicken, pork skewers, french fries, and beer. They stay open all night. Everyone gathers in the area before the concert and activities begin in the polivalente and eat, drink and be merry. The night of the 3rd at exactly midnight (so technically the 4th) they displayed a fireworks show. Let me just explain to you that there are a few things in this world that make me completely happy. A fireworks show is one of them. The fact that I was standing in the middle of a BBQ pit watching fireworks on the 4th of July made me completely content for the 15 minutes of the show, and I almost pictured myself somewhere in America at the time. It made me so happy, my little piece of home. I like these little reminders. Well Thursday and Friday were spent recuperating. The Thursday the 5th was Cape Verde's independence day, but this island is so pooped from their municipal holiday that absolutely nothing happens on that day. I'm pretty sure everyone simply sleeps through it. I know I did.

Since Friday was our year anniversary in Cape Verde, Leland and I decided to go out to dinner to eat lobster. It was delicious. Too bad my stomach didn't think so. I spent the whole following weekend in bed very very sick. Poo. Well I'm better now, although I have a slight aversion to the thought of lobster at the moment.

Well, in my life in general, I am still giving my little summer school make up sessions, they end next Monday. this Saturday we are blessed with having three newbies coming to visit us. The new group of trainees arrived a week or so ago, and they are sending them to various islands to get a feel for what it's like out here. It's a nice idea, something I wish they had done for our group. Anyway, we are being sent three newbies to entertain and (according to my mother) "taint their minds." They are to follow Leland and I around for four or five days to get a feel for what it's like to be a volunteer. Although I do really think this is a good idea, and in theory it should work, but I'm not doing anything at the moment. I am not really teaching, just having a few study sessions and they end Monday. School's out. The education volunteers aren't really going to get a feel for what it's really like. I spend a lot of my time on the beach these days :), or at least more than I used to. Oh well we will try and show them what it's like to live like a volunteer, and who knows, I may (of course completely against my better judgment) go to the discotheque again.


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