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 03, 2007

Well, this time around I am writing you all from Mindelo, São Vicente, my new home for the next few months. Mindelo is the second largest city in Cape Verde and so much more exciting in many ways. I have to say that I was not very happy about my "evacuation" from Boa Vista, as I had really enjoyed my time there. They tell you it generally takes about a year to fully settle in to your site and then the second year is always more comfortable and more fun. I must say that it is very true. But just when I thought all was comfortable, I was yanked out of my comfort zone and thrown into a brand new, much larger place. Mindelo is easy to get lost in, not just literally, but figuratively as well. This city is so alive and you will hear many people tell you that Mindelo is the smallest big city in the world. Everyone knows each other, but it's big enough that if you want to avoid someone, you can. The grocery stores are virtually unlimited and (gasp!) even open on Sundays! I can't tell you the exact population, but it's fairly large and just so alive. The change from Boa Vista is like night and day. When discussing my future options with Peace Corps, they were nice enough to let me basically have my choice of locations to go. I chose Mindelo because I had been here once before (last February for Mardi Gras)and loved the feel and ambiance of the place. It's large, but it's not Praia which I find too large and the shadow of the Peace Corps staff right over my shoulder. Here I can still walk anywhere within a maximum of fifteen minutes and the stores are plentiful and cheap. My apartment is very nice, it has two bedrooms and two bathrooms and I live in it by myself! Which is a little scary, and I'm thinking (to the objections of my mother) of getting a dog. It will keep me company and hopefully prevent a break-in which is unfortunately fairly common here. Anyway, I'm still thinking about it.

As far as my job goes, I will be teaching at Institute Superior do Educação (ISE) which is like a teaching college. It's where students go to school to learn how to be teachers. It is a higher education institution and I will be teaching a class that I may not be 100% qualified for, but most people tend to have faith in me, so I'll do my best. The class is called Cultural Literature in English Speaking Countries. Let's all give a round of applause for the fact that I may actually be using my college degree!! (I majored in English Literature). But I am nervous because, while the students will be easier and actually want to be there, they will also be my age and so I fear for my control of authority. But today is my first day and so let's hope that all goes well. I will just be giving introductions and doing a short little exercise. I will miss my students at the high school in Boa Vista, especially my new little 8th graders. They were just so cute!! But there is nothing much I can do about it really, and I'm sure they will have very little problem finding a new teacher.

Well as far as bad situations go, mine could have turned out worse. I never wanted to leave Boa Vista, but the outcome of this whole thing really worked out ok. I am in a city I think I will grow to love, expanding my teaching skills by teaching at a higher level of learning, and meeting new people which is always fun. Also, there are three very good friends of mine who completed their Peace Corps service this past summer. They stayed here in Mindelo and have opened up a English school of their own. Their business is going well and I'm grateful to have them here. Casey taught at ISE for the past two years and so she has been a tremendous help. I am just grateful that there is someone else here who has been through the same experience and is willing to help me through. Oh yes, things could be worse.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Nadia, you know my objection to you getting a dog stems from the fact that you will have to leave it behind. I cannot imagine how Wembley would react if his people all suddenly ditched him. Love, Mom

04 December, 2007 01:22


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