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, July 31, 2008

Well here I am. At the end of the road. Well, maybe not a road, more like a long twisting side street of my life filled with bizarre experiences, unique people, and the rather vivid memories that include goat slaughtering and 1 liter of water showers. I arrived in Praia today, the capital city where I will conclude all my Peace Corps business and be on my marry way. Of course I could not have said my final goodbye to the Cape Verdean people without a truly Cape Verdean experience: as many of you know, my landlady is completely crazy. Well, maybe I haven't mentioned this before, but she literally is completely crazy. She spends most of her time in Italy leaving her niece to take care of her apartment building and clothing store underneath. Those were the salad days. Well, unfortunately, she has been back in good ol' Sao Vicente now for about a month and a completely harassing, unreasonable individual. Peace Corps always pays their rent, they rarely have problems with landlords of any kind that I have ever heard of. But she has been claiming to high holy heaven that Peace Corps has been cheating her out of her rent and that she will take them to the newspapers if she has to! Well today concluded the scene with some truly spectacular yelling on both my and her parts in the middle of the road. I had to catch my flight at 12:00 and she was refusing to let me leave! She wouldn't take the keys from me, until she had confirmed with everyone she could that the rent had been paid. She wanted to drive around to her bank, wait there, call her financial person, who conveniently happened to be in the hospital for some sort of finger cut and so on. She yelled to me in the middle of the street that she was a victim in all this and that PC was going to cheat her out of her money! (By the way, Peace Corps of course has copies of all the receipts from deposits and transfers and so on). So I asked her if she wanted me to leave the keys outside the door when I left, if that would be better. She screamed that she was going to the bank and if the deposit hadn't shown up she was going straight to the newspaper to report PC and their awful, cheating ways. Oh brother. Anyway, I'm done with all that. I think it shows how much I've grown simply by the fact that I didn't cry and sit on the stoop in the fetal position.

So here I am, the last leg of my journey and it's like all events in our lives that come to an end. It feels like merely a blip on the radar. But when I stop and think, and examine myself I see that it has had a profound effect on my life and way of thinking. I would like to think that I have had a similar effect on some of the people here, but I cannot be sure. The world is changing so fast for the people here and they're catching up at record speed. Today on my flight, I saw a Cape Verdean man with an iPhone. It's incredible how much things have changed here even in the past two years.

This is experience is something I can't really sum up in words. I hope my blogs have been sufficient to share with you all a glimpse of my experiences, but I know that when I get back to the States, that I will still get pressed for the 6 second sum up of "So, how was it?" Well, it was fine. We all have forms and states of being, and for most volunteers, living here or any other country is simply another state of being. It's harder sometimes, sure. But human beings adapt at extraordinary rates and to adapt to different environments is practically what we were born to do. I loved my time here and no, it was not all easy, and of course having no water isn't ideal. But I didn't quit, which means I proved 100% of the people I know wrong. But it also means that if I can do it, anyone can. And volunteering isn't something that has to be done on a global scale. It can be a simple thing you do locally, but it's more often than not quite rewarding. Ok, I've had my PC poster-child spiel.

But I also want to thank everyone who supported me throughout this whole experience. It was often very comforting to know that people were interested in what I was doing and wanted to read about what I had to say. And of course a very special thank you to everyone who sent me packages and goodies. You have no idea how much easier life becomes with a simple little Ziplock bag :). Honestly, I cannot express my gratitude, and I hope that my blogs and photos were sufficient enough to provide you with a decent understanding of my life. Sometimes it's nice to live vicariously.

So I sign off from my blog, and sit in Praia for the next week, and then it's a nice little vacation in London after that. And then home. Finally.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah-hem, 100% of people did not think you would give up your commitment in CV. Your mom and dad had complete faith you would complete your assignment there. Now that I have return home and have had a mere two weeks of your two year adventure, I can vouch for your fortitude, stamina, and determination. In one hundred words or so I want to sum up what I observed that you learned to live with with grace and humor: uneven and treacherous toenail-robbing cobblestones, laundry hand-washed on a Little-House-in-the-Prairie wash board with skin chaffing detergent, a population that does not understand the concept of waiting in line or for their turn, two liters of room temperature water a day (on a good day), no air conditioning, stray and emaciated street dogs and kitties, spittle (and worse) on the roadways, some of the best bakery bread on the planet, fresh caught fish, subsisting on a limited diet of pizza, pasta, grilled chicken, those pastry thingys with fish in them, and french fries (although the occasional vegetable appears), packages from home with bizarre but often welcome items, KitKat bars as a treat, boredom, repeatedly watched DVDs for entertainment, knowing everyone in your community and having them know you, fleas, daily and constant monsoon-like winds blowing grit in your eyes and teeth, Chinese loggias, a small but extremely supportive community of other current and ex-PC volunteers in and around your island, days when you only speak/think in kreolu, your psyche-saving cell phone, external inconsistency occurring in just about every aspect of your life, both lethargic and enthusiastic students, and now, you learn to leave new found friends, people you have come to love, and colleagues whom you may not see again for many years, if ever. We remain, as ever, so proud of you and now of what you have accomplished in the past two years. Love, Mom and Dad

01 August, 2008 16:14

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I have enjoyed your blogs. Good luck on your future plans, whatever they may be.........I'm sure your left your footprint in CV and with your fellow PCV.

Mom of: Lauren D. PCV, Fogo

01 August, 2008 16:28

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Nadia
Well what can l say but we think that you have done a great job & we are so proud of you. I think that you have done something that a lot of poeple would like to do but have not got the courage to do . You have your self a really good break as you deserve it. Also thank you very much for the post card we were really chuffed to get that, hope to see you when you are over Love Trisha & Rick

03 August, 2008 15:02

Blogger Dave said...

I WISH we had those pastry thingys with fish in them!!

Good luck, Nadia.


20 August, 2008 18:38


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