Thursday, December 13, 2007

Kid, you´ll move mountains...

And so, we find ourselves at the end of the year. It’s been a good year 2007 has, despite all the bad press it got when it started, and sure, there was that rough patch during April, but we stuck with 2007 through thick and thin, and it paid off. In fact, I feel like Im ready to do it all again with 2008.

It’s been 5 months now at site, and while there is still a lack of concreteness about what I am doing in terms of doing…um… things are moving along nonetheless. I have brains in my head and I have feet in my shoes, and I can steer myself any direction I choose. So while my Portuguese has reverted to that of nothingness, my Creole has been slowly slowly stumbling forward, learning a few new words each day. And with that, I have started having conversations that go beyond the apparent lack of rain to discovering more of the thoughts, wishes, and desires of the people here. And while I am not having deep philosophical conversations yet, I am learning the deeper side of the culture which is helping lead to create in my mind more ideas of projects to work on.

For instance, a friend of mine sent me the book, The Unheard, about a PCV in Zambia who had a few unlucky experiences, as well as being deaf. Which lead me to researching the status of deaf people in Cape Verde. Well, there turns out to be one school that teaches LGP, the Portuguese sign language, and is based in Praia. This means that if you live anywhere, even in Praia, and cannot afford to go to school, which basically means almost everyone, you aren’t learning LGP. I also recently met a deaf person in town and his communication is SEVERLY limited as all he was capable of doing and all people were capable of responding back was with points and grunts. Imagine if this person had a more advanced way of talking about his world and being able to communicate with people. Hence, I am looking for ways to get people trained to be teachers in LGP, which if anyone knows ASL, is difficult in itself.

Other little things that occupy my mind are ways to improve the efficiency of outdoor stoves, so far I have either thought about using mud/clay or recycling tin cans to surround the fire to make them more efficient. I also want to create a weekend story time or puppet (think marionettes) theater for kids here, as there is not much extra activity that stirs their minds. I really like this idea as it will incorporate young members of the community to help read stories or act out plays, will develop skills as we will have to write proposals for materials or money, and it gives the little kids something rocking to do. Plus, as our house has sorta turned into a little after school nursery, it gives the kids a chance to go somewhere else besides our house.

About our daycare center… I had been sent a bunch of toys, some plastic animals or the farm sort, some dinosaurs, some stretchy lizard things, silly putty, a race car, and a yo yo. Well, no one knows how to use the yo yo, but the little animals are played with a lot, sometimes they pretend to eat the pigs because they know I don’t eat pigs, sometimes they stare in confusion at the dinosaurs because we tell them it’s a cow, sometimes they throw the lizards at other kids to scare them, sometimes we play basketball with the silly putty or play dodge ball, but all in all, we have a bunch of little kids that right when we get home, come running in asking ‘Pode brinka ma brinkadieras?’ To which you of course cannot say no.

I taught my neighbor how to make vegan sugar cookies which he and his family ate 30 of in one night, impressive. It was his birthday yesterday, he turned 20, and they made cake and some food and we sang Feliz Aniversario. He is an amazing futebol player, he and his friends made a little team and played against the official Cachaço team and beat them. This is was great and unfortunate as it highlighted the fact that the official team is pretty weak.

Anywho, ill be going to Mali the beginning of January and will hopefully be attending the Festival in the Desert, a music festival 60km outside of Timbuktu that has the best of the Mali and Western Afrikan musicians performing, with the Sahara desert as the stage. Should be pretty cool, plus seeing a different Afrikan country will be a great experience, to see where some of the culture in Cape Verde comes from.

And so, a friend of mine said something a long time ago which she may or may not remember, but has always stuck with me, and has been repeated by other friends in similar, but varying ways. And is summed up nicely by that master of words, that DJ of poetry, Dr. Seuss…

You can get so confused, that you’ll start in to race
Down long wiggled roads at a break-necking pace
And grind on for miles across weirdish wild space,
Headed, I fear, toward a most useless place.
The Waiting Place…

… for people just waiting.
Waiting for a train to go
Or a bus to come or a plane to go or the mail to come or the rain to go
Or the phone to ring or the snow to snow or waiting around for a Yes or a NO
Or waiting for their hair to grow. Everyone is just waiting.

Waiting for the fish to bite
Or waiting for wind to fly a kite or waiting around for Friday night
Or waiting, perhaps, for their Uncle Jake or a pot to boil
Or a Better Break, or a string of pearls or a pair of pants
Or a wig with curls or Another Chance.
Everyone is just waiting…

Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying
You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing …

… On and on you will hike and I know you’ll hike far
and face up to your problems whatever they are

You’ll get mixed up of course, as you already know
You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go
So be sure when you step,
Step with care and great tact,
And remember that Life’s a Great Balancing act…

- From Oh, the places you’ll go

I learn everyday that if you sit around and wait, or if you always need a sign, things will quickly pass you by. All around us are reminders of the transitory nature of life. Why bog ourselves down with rules, with always needing streets for where we want to go, with the thoughts of others dangling like a carrot? Even Superman didn’t give a hoot about the rules when he tricked Zod…

So what I am saying is that like matter, like those pesky electrons and photons, our life is not predictable, there are an infinite possibilities, so why take the straight line to get from A to B?

Friday, November 30, 2007

Thy oster - this keyboard doesnt have the letter after o so youll have to imgine the word i was trying to sell, i didnt sell that word wrong either



There is a new website that one of the volunteers here has created for the park, check it out

http://www.ecosaonicolau.com/

Its chilly here, a certain cartoon penquin would do quite well. Not cold like an NYC winter cold, but after strolling along in shorts and a t shirt on your troical island for aos long, even a little bit of a chill seems like chillier weather than it really is. We have been getting bombarded wiht food galor, from canceled site visits and from friendly vizinhus, and now that the corn season is upon us, we have been getting lots of ears of corn, because, behold, people grew more corn then they can use. It isnt Jersey sweet corn, and really, can anything compare wiht something from NJ, but its decent enough.

Our first eco club, Os Jovens unidos do Eco Clube, will have our first action this 5th by cleaning the two schools in Tarrafal. If you are in the nieghborhood, sto by for all the cleaning fun. And we have been contacted by students in Vila that they want an eco club all of thier own too, so thigns are looking good.

Just a quick little udate here, Ill get another one out in a week or two.









Wednesday, November 21, 2007

23 Skidoo

Very slowly, move your eyes to the right…slowly. What you behold is one of the newest modern wonders of the world. To quote Quinness: This is the finest piece of craftsmanship, the most brilliant display of human intelligence, the single most beautiful object that expresses so much more than what the viewer sees at first, that to include it as part of the world records would dwarf all other records and render our services moot. End quote. I naturally am humbled, yet agree. I feel like its a dishonor calling it a poster, but this poster not only displays for children the rates of decomposition of common items in their lives, but expresses the inner desires of all mankind to join hands together to create a more hospitable world for all creatures. I said I wouldn’t cry…

Anywho, life has been humming along here quite nicely. It is still relatively warm during the days, but the nights have started to get a bit cooler which is nice as sometimes I forget that’s its normally winter. The sun rises and sets pretty much the same time too, around 6:30 ish. As evidenced above, I have been working with Community Development on making presentations for the environmental education aspect of their work. So far, I have made and given a presentation about eco clubs, and we are moving forward with that today actually, having a meeting for the students interested, well see what happens. Lixo is a big deal here, so hopefully it goes over well. I plan on making a contest for kids to collect these little plastic bags that are everywhere because the lojas sell frescina, little frozen treats that all the kids buy, and then throw the bags on the ground. So were gonna make a contest collecting them and then make soccer balls out of them. Next on my mighty list of presentations is global warming, which is most definitely affecting these little islands, sustainable living, which will be hard because by default most people live pretty sustainable, and more to come.

On the eco tourism front I have been doing more work in the EIA for the park, and gave a little presentation for the staff here about what it is, why we have to do it, and how we do it. The next step is to actually do it, and me thinks this will most likely be the hardest step.

For the past two weeks, we had a little War of Food going on. Nightly, one of two neighbors were coming to our house and giving us food. Mostly the food consisted of catxupa, or arroz ma fava inglesia, with the occasion batata or bobra. All good stuff, but we had a hard time eating it all before the next shipment arrived. Naturally, we wanted tot hank them, so we made some food for them. I made my world famous biscuits and sugar cookies, and Nate made his banana bread and cake. They liked it all.. and more food came. All the food would not, and really is not, a problem if we didn’t already have a bunch of vegetables sitting around starting to go bad. Lo, we have finally caught up and there has been a little lull in the food action. Speaking of food, we are going to have our own little Thanksgiving. Not sure whats being made, but I know there will be some mashed potatoes, biscuits ala me and sugar cookies ala me, some cake, and as always happens at there affairs, some type of meat.

And now, onto a little description of one aspect of life here, what do people do here for fun. If you are a child, and by that I men a young boy because girls do most of the work, you do one of several activities Play futebol, throw rocks at things or each other, chase one another around, build little toys cars out of empty montega containers, or if lucky, ride a bicycle. Little girls do house work and if lucky have some time to play with other little girls. Jovens do similar things as the little kids do, just with more vigor I suppose. They also do more work for the family such as harvest animal feed, or panhga, get fire wood, or manda depending on the time of year. Elder men will sometimes play futebol, but most often have to do the hard labor of collecting firewood, manda, getting animal feed. But they are rewarded with lots of time to rest in the shade and passea the day away.

The women aren’t as lucky as they have the bulk of housework to do, which includes cooking the meals, cleaning the house, washing the laundry [which can take a lot of time if you have a lot of clothes, doing it by hand is vigorous] along with helping in the fields. And women do not have the luxury of enjoying a cold brew after work as it is culturally frowned upon for women to drink in public.

Many people have small tv sets which run off antennas, and perhaps by many I mean a few. But lots of people who have tvs will watch the news and novellas each night, on Thursday nights is wide world of sports, and I think on Sunday afternoons that show English movies. The biggest thing to watch, naturally, are futebol games.

Most of the people know in Cachaço do not have a typical 9 -5 paying job, as those types of jobs are very scarce here. Most people rely on remittances sent home from family living and working abroad, and tend their farms and live their daily lives. I think everyone grows a lot of their own food which supplements them for part of the year. 90% of the food consumed in the country is imported as they can not grow enough for themselves. They main crops as I have mentioned before are corn, batata inglesia and batata doce, bobra and fava. There was little rain this year and as a result the crop yield is small, people have been saying that there is little corn this year. It should have been ready by now, but we have to wait more.

Well, I think that’s all for now. As always I welcome comments or suggestions and for people to send me stuff, like cliff bars or other vegan stuff. You would probably be as surprised as I was to learn that there isn’t a huge markets for vegan products here. Huh.

PS: I couldnt load the picture of my poster.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Who mistook this steak for chicken?

I have been wondering as of late about many a things. Some of these involve tap dancing, others involve how much 15 kilos of pork really is, while others are simple day to day wonderings that we all have. My point... I have none. I was simply looking for an opener.

Anywho, two months have now passed since being at site. These two months certainty went a lot faster than the two months during training on Santiago. This leads me to believe that much of the time spent here will go relatively fast, or at least not at the snails pace that PST went by at. We have rumors of having our IST at the end of November, letting us celebrate that wonderful holiday celebrating the genocide of a native race, Thanksgiving. But I digress… if we meet not in November then most likely we wait until March. Our three month moratorium of not traveling out of site or off island soon ends. I have been looking at the TACV deals hoping there will be some magical deal for inter island travel. I am probably more likely to walk through a wall, which as we all know will happen eventually given enough time.

Islands I hope to see, though I want to see them all, are Santão Antão, Boa Vista, and Brava. Islands I know Ill see are Sal, as whoever comes to visit or if I need to fly out of country, Ill do it from Sal, and of course our beloved São Tiago [the proper way to spell Santiago]. Most of these islands you can also take ferries too, which is a lot cheaper and since I have been issued a huge, yellow and red Peace Corp life jacket that I MUST wear when traveling via water craft, it makes the prospect of taking a boat even more attractive.

So, what else if anything has been going on here… The weather remains tropical for the most part. The days are warm and the nights would be too, but in Cachaço it gets a little bit chillier due to our altitude and the mountains. The mist that had been enveloping our town for the first month and a half has slowly been retreating, the days have become much more sunny, which is nice. There are not many festivals happening now, basically there is the festival on November 1st for corn in Faja, and then Ano Novo, the new year which is a two day celebration. After that, it’s a festival rollercoaster. In February, there is the famous Carnival celebrations, and then almost every other week there is a Saints Day celebration. All of these festivals have common themes with the exception of Carnival, which is similar in scope to the Brazilian version. Festivals have lots of meat. Many animals are killed and cooked because as meat is scarce and expensive, having it at festivals is part of what makes it a festival. Then there is the ear shatteringly loud funana or other music, the obligatory grogue and beer, and then basically its like any other party you might go to back home.

What else…what else… I have been asked to work more with Community Development in regards to environmental education in schools, which I have some experience with. Oh, and our community has approached us to teach them English, so soon we will probably start having English classes at night for our town and a few of the nearby towns, which is kinda exciting because it A. helps further our integration, B. Helps us learn me of the people in our town and vica versa, C. Its actually fun to teach English, D. I like this letter, E. we can introduce other things as part of our classes like environmental stuff or health stuff and F. see g, G. they came to us to for this which makes it even better. Lets see what happens…

Not much else has changed, or really for that matter there hasn’t been any major happenings. No meteors crashes, no sudden volcanic eruptions, no new rivers a flowing… Simply falling into the pattern of life here. Everyday it feels more and more like home. Making food from scratch and from food that we either grow or have growing ourselves of often given to us from our neighbors is nice, and going for a hike almost everyday into the park or other areas is really nice too. I am going to start going on longer hikes during the weekends, two day-ers, as the weather is pretty predictable, warm and no rain, and you can sleep outside anywhere without hassle. Plus, there is a lot to this little island I haven’t discovered yet, like the so called elusive east pistol part of the island. Well, I suppose that’s a lot for now. Be well.

Oh… and Im getting a bike….

yo

Monday, October 15, 2007

Lucky Update Number 9 (hooray)

I have been battered by people with questions about life in Cape Verde, about what my dia a dia is, are there really elephants in Cape Verde and if so, how high can they fly off the ground, is it true that they have an inside out verison of blue, these among many other questions i hope to answer in this next exciting installment of "Janelas: Ka pode fechada!!!!!"

(For this update, i have used the very old form of listing that the Afrikans used way before the time of Jesus or pita bread, they called it bullet points. Ancient huh?)

  • Since my commute to workis under a 5 minutes walk, i for some reason get up earlier than when my commute was an hour bike ride through the mean gritty streets of NYC. Entao, i get up about 6:30 and do a little workout jam session untill about 8 ish. Depois, i get some stuff ready for work and then read untill 8:30 when i leave my house, take a few steps and wa la, i'm at work
  • I have just created a plan for the nextthree months of work here, basically i will be working on a few things with room to maneuver to help out other sections or do fun stuff that seems to pop up every once in a while, like last week, the school here had to harvest a bunch of vegetables they wanted to sell. So, me and Nat went on over to watch and/or buy, As they kids were standing around getting restless, i would pick up a vegetable and ask "O Que e que li?" or "Tomat verde e mais sabe do tomat vermelho?" And then all the kids would scream out thier answer. Twas fun.
  • Anywho
  • My three main areas of focus for eco tourism are:
    • Creating a management systems (and quality system) for the eco tourism section
    • this is harder than my brief description makes it sound as i have had to create everything from scratch minus what i have slyly copied and pasted form old ISO documents i made
    • creating a simplified EIA framework for park projects to adhere to. This is basically to help ensure that bio diversity and local communities are not harmedwhen projects are undertaken...and lastly
    • english classes!!! thats right, not only was it my major in college, not only do i rank #3 in 2007 for Worlds Best Speller, but now i am teaching my superior form of english to the guides and eco tourism staff two days a week. Fun
  • After work, which ends at 3:30 offically, i have been hiking. Moslty, its a hike in the park, which wiht its limited number of trails is slowlybecoming very known to me, or something. other times, i hike or catch a ride to Vila where i can buy most of the thingsthat you cant buy in Cachaco, like vegetables and dryed chickpeas, thens it an hour and half hike up hill, and when i say hill, i mean pretty sheer volcanic mountain, tis grueling at times. Vila is also the magicaly town where the post office is for all of you wondering
  • Then, we make dinner.
  • hmm, thought thatd be more exciting
  • Then its more reading or other stuff, and to bed around 9:30 or 10. I bet you are surprised, just as i was, to realize that the night life in Cachaco isn't as robust as they advertised. But alas...
Anything else, well, thats my basic kind of day. The weekends are very similar except i dont walk to work, i just hike alot longer, or we go to Tarrafal, where a few of the UN volunteers live. Its hot, very, in Tarrafal so not only do we get a break form the mists of Cachaco, but we can bringout clothes and dry them, go for a swim in the ocean, and other stuff that PCV's and UNV's do when they hang out.

And the elephants, always buzzing overhead wearing summer dresses of the most striking inside out blue you have ever seen. Tis a sight.

Monday, September 24, 2007

The Daily Grind

The work day here is from 8:30 till 3:30, mais o menos, as lunch takes a bit of time. Anywho, since I dont have any real defined role as of yet, I come to the office at 8:30, a 3 minute walk from our house, and for the time being, i might go online, or i might read one of the books about the park they have or a report done by the UN, or kinda just sit around. This week we´ll be doing alot more of field work, hiking the trails with the guides to assess the trails, or in my case, how we´ll implement an environmental impact assestment (eia) to new trail work, and slowly develping a waste management and sustainable management plan. Ultimailty, that will be a piece of my work for the park, developing these systems.

Another piece is the Peace Corp piece. As the park is working to develop its eco-tourism, once our language is a bit better, we will go out and interview potentila famalies to either provied meals for tourist or to be homestays for tourists to stay at. This will be really good community development work and very inline with what the Peace Corp likes to say its here for.

So for now, work is wishy washy as we are still learning the park, they are still learning our skills, and as everything just takes long to happen here, but alas.

Once i start doing more defined work, i suppose ill have more to say about it. In the meantime, there is this nifty feature on the blog called comments. I welcome people to use it, and by welcome i mean, USE IT.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Hiking in our backyard

Well, literally our frontyard, but either way, here are some pics from a hike i took this past weekend up the peak of Monte Gordo
This is a view from the peak, Cha do Monte Gordo. Basically, the mountain splits the island, or at least the middle section, into two different climate zones. On the cachaço side, its green and misty and windy, then on the Tarrafal side, its hot and sunny and not misty. Though, this first picture is an exception as it lies on the non misty side, or nisty side as i like to call it. This next picture (which i used the medium format for to add dramatic effect) is, um, where was I? I think this is also from the peak, pretty much looking at the same area.


And laslty, we have a birds eye view of Cachaço

Monday, September 17, 2007

Milho


Corn is everywhere and everything in Cape Verde. The majority of people´s lives is centered around the planting of corn, cultivatiing corn, harvesting corn, and eventually eating corn. The main difficulty is that as a water intensive plant, this is one country that doesnt get much water. This poses a problem. Additionally, corn isnt the most nutrious food, which adds to a lack of proper diet.

Just a quick note on one aspect of life here in Cape Verde. Corn is king, in fact, it´s what makes Cape Verde green when there is enough rain to grow the corn. Basically the entire islands become corn fields.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Ribeira Brava, Sao Nicolau


Ribeira Brava, Sao Nicolau
Originally uploaded by guberman313
The idylic little town i had the honor of staying in for a week waiting for our beds to arrive. This town has a very European feel to it, small winding streets, speeding Hiaces, little bread shops and Hina Lojas everywhere.

So, just a quick how do you do, i plan to go into a bit more detail of what i am doing for Monte Gordo, what life is like in our little community of Cachaço, and why my sheets are always wet. That and more to come in the enxt installement of: Peace Corp Cape Verde. Life in the slow lane

Friday, September 7, 2007

Monte Gordo - Sao Nicolao


So, Ill be working for the National Park on Sao Nicolao, Monte Gordo, kinda helping with eco tourism and will be living in Cachaço, a small little community on the top of the mountain, my view is of the park, my backyard looks down into the valley. They call the weather here fesca, but so far its not that cold. Tons of brufa though, it rolls in and out all day long. Anywho, been living in a Pensao for the last week since our house doesnt have beds, but now we think they do and now we think we will move in tomorrow.


Our swearin in ceremony was all over the television for about a week, people reconize me as i was in the front rwo, so basically everyone in Cape Verde will at least reconize me, and some parts of Afrika. Well, ill have good access to email, as somehow this park has the ebst internet in all of Cape Verde. I also have a new mailing address, so if you want it send me an email


Anywho, once si really start working ill write more, or once i start to get to know my new community. i alreayd had one meeting, in porteguse, about the newsletter for the park, and i was able to understand about 50% of what they said, not bad.

Monday, August 27, 2007

O Nosso Projecto em Ribeirao Manuel

We had a trash pickup, after MUCH effort in our town this past Sunday and it went awesome!!


The group and some PC peeps limpa some lixo


Some of what we collected, we collected in total about 100 bags of trash

Me, Nat and our LCF Jeremais with some of the kids who helped. Our chant was, Nu ka kre lixo mas!
All in all, we learned alot about organizing an evetn in Cape Verde, and I know i was surprised that we actually pulled it off and it went so well.


Saturday, August 25, 2007

One more thing, Im using Flickr

If you search for people, my name is guberman313, ill be loading pictures on there, slowly, but hey, take what you can get. or as they say in Cape Verde, Se Ki Ta Da.

So long and thanks for all the cachupa

So this is most likely the last blog from Assomada as next week is the end of PST. Sure, it’s been fun, sure I’ve eaten more food in two months than I would have eaten in a normal year, and sure there were ups and downs with all the aspects of training, but am I happy to see it end? Am I? YES. While I have more than enjoyed my homestay family and the community in Ribeirao Manuel, its time for this galinha to fly the coop. So I’m off to Sao Nicolao to do something and live somewhere, none of which I know right now. All I do know is they speak a slightly different type of creole, so we can add that to the list of languages I speak poorly.

Next week is pretty much a roller coaster type weeks if weeks were classified as types of amusement park rides. For instance, I have my Portuguese test on Monday, a meeting with the Training Director on Wednesday, and then from Thursday on we all meet everyday and on Saturday we swear in as volunteers and they whisk us away to Praia and then to our sites.

We had a potential lose the beginning of this week, but they decided to stay on as they were offered a different opportunity in CV, so we are still 27 strong. Me and Nat have the columniation of a few weeks work this coming Sunday as we hope to have a trash pick up project actually come to fruition. For the past few weeks we have been trying to arrange a trash truck, trash bags, trash gloves and some money for snacks to have a trash pickup in our town for the 26th. We wrote professional Portuguese letters and everything. Then we spent every single day chasing after the people in the local Municipality to see if they would help provide us with materials. Basically, what it comes down to is it seems the average work day is like this:

Wake up around 8.
Think about going to work around 9
Go to work at 10
Go to lunch at 12.
Don’t come back from lunch for the day

So, its sorta hard to try to schedule things and arrange things when people are never, ever at work when you go to speak with them. But alas, something will be happening this Sunday and we have even heard a crazy rumor there might be a television camera.

Anywho, oh, a word again on mail, Ill have anew address soon, so hold out on sending those weights and/or elephant babies until then. Also, if you happen to be sending anything worth anything, try not to say that on the customs slip.

Hmmm, I suppose I haven’t really given much new information about life here or whats going on, but I’m not really sure what to say about it. So if you want to know something specific, let me k now. If you prefer to simply here me stutter and ramble, then just read these writings.

So until Sao Nicolao, ate logo.

PS: As of yesterday I leanred i have some matilda on nha corpo.

Monday, August 20, 2007

And the winner is...


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/S%C3%A3o_Nicolau Sao Nicolau. Ill be leaving on September 3rd and do not know exactly yet where our house will be, but we think either in or right outside the park, Monte Gordo. It will be me and Nathan together working for the park, again, we dont know in what capacity it will be. But, thats all for now, a quickie, more before the end of PST.


Peace

Friday, August 10, 2007

Tigers are not deers


I suppose I should squash all those rumors going around that I am paralyzed, because I am not. Though I had some pretty good plans for what I’d do with a nice battery powered wheel chair, alas, I can walk. I had some tingling there for a while, but I think I have narrowed it down to the extreme excess of azeite, oil, I have been eating everyday. So I took a bit of a fast, or the best way I could describe it in Creole was similar to Ramadan. Either way, my body is feeling better than it was. Food in general here is much different in regards to the food pyramid and what they value here. Me and Nathan (the other EE trainee) made tortillas from scratch. Beans, rice and this tomato/onion/garlic/pepper mixture for our families last Sunday night. It rocked beyond belief, but lo, it didn’t have the key ingredient that Cape Verdeans hold so dear: lots and lots of salt and oil. So while they pretended to like it “Mmmm, sabe” we know they didn’t. At least we ate a pretty good meal.

In other news our site assignments have been pushed back to week seven, so I still have no firm idea of where I’ll be heading for the next two years, though its been hinted that itll be sao nicaolo.

So what else has been going on here? Well, last weekend we hiked to Ribearo de Barco and it poured on our way there. As this island is very dry, the slightest bit of rain causes havoc, so we could hear and see large rocks crashing down from the cliffs. And we got pretty wet, but they LOVE rain here as they get so little of it. The people here get inot a very festive mood, they sing and yell and splash around and will swim in almost anything that contains even the smallest amount of water. Even water tanks with lots of dead frogs. And then they throw the frogs at each other. But that’s another story.

Me and Nathan have been learning about the environmental outlook of CV, what has been going on, what problems there are and what they would like to do in the future. For instance, in Assamado, they have had a trash collection for many years. However, since they only have two trash trucks which break down often, trash still gets littered all over and when a trash bin isn’t collected, its sometimes turned over…for some reason. Another issues, one of the biggest, is the lack of water and the quality of water. They have a dam here that is meant to trap rain water for irrigation use. The one flaw is this dam now stops water from going down stream to other farms. So while they have built the dam, they haven’t finished the pipes which will carry the water further down. Outside of Santiago, trash is not as prevalent in the flora as it is here, possibly because there are a lot of people on Santiago. They are thinking of building an incinerator and suing the burning trash to power a desalination plant. Oh, water.. Most of the potable water comes from wells which collect in tanks and is then distributed to surrounding zones. However, because these wells are drawn upon daily, they have begun to draw water in from the sea which salinates the water and renders that well useless. Outside of the “urban” areas, some people collect rain water in cisterns or on their roofs, others buy it from a truck, and many have to go to cheferiz’s to collect water from public wells.

Our second ET occurred last week,. So we are now a group of 27, but as always, everyone’s spirits seem to be high, and as I can speak only for myself, all seems good and all are ready to be done with PST and get to our sites. If not only to start our service, but to get some semblance of our own lives back, being able to cook, have your own space, etc. Hmmm, oh, took a test on porteguese last week….i need to study more. Creole isn’t too bad, I can get by fine, but as we all know and agree, porteguese is much more difficult..

I suppose that’s all for now. Oh, mail. Thank you to everyone who has sent mail as it rocks to get mail. If you happen to be planning on sending me any books or large chemistry kits or harmonicas or other things, it might be best to wait until I get to site. Taking what I already have with me on a plane in this country is a task. The less I am dragging alongside me the better, I already have two bags, a large water filter, and once we swear in, we get a large, yellow peace corp issue life jacket. So don’t send me a life jacket either. Any mail you send me now will still get to me, they will send me mail to my site if it arrives after I swear in. so, hope all are well and as always, questions questions questions. If it’s a good one,. Email it to me and not in a comment, I don’t check those comments too often.

N ta fala ku nos mas tarde, e n kre un dia nos bem ali. Kuando nos bem, n ta odja todo ilhas para bu. Ti logo,. Txeu..


The picture is a view from my house

Friday, July 27, 2007

Middle of PST


Today is the end of week four here in Cape Verde, so PSt is aboutish half way done. The frist week went super slow, and now these other weeks have been going by almost at the normal amaerican speed. i have a language test next week for both creole and portuguese, and basically i need to be able to describe day to day activities, which i can do no problem in creole, but portuguese, much harder. there are over 20 conjucations for verbs, it s acrazy langauge, but hopefully after two years i can speak some of it well.


anywho, i have been able to slowly revert back towards vegetarinism as i can better communicate with my family what i like or dont like. plus, i finally figured out i can push my bed back and now will be able to do some push ups and stuff like that, which will help burn the millions calories of starch i eat everyday.


our group is going well, with the exception of one et, but we think it was for the ebst for her. otherwise, we are all going strong, no major illnesses wiht me or anyone (yet) and no one has gotten married which the embassy says will happen, for at least two of us.


laslty, not sure what else to say. i do better with questions, so fire away if you want to know something for sure. this picture above is a shot from my village, Ribero Manual, in Santa Catirina.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

My trip to Fogo



Please excuse the not so good picture, but this is the volcano i was sleeping next to for the last four days. We had what the PC calls demystifacation week, which is the trainees staying with a volunteer to leanr and see what life is like at site. what i leanred was alot about hiking, spulunking and eating really good food. we hiked this volcano, than hiked a smaller one which erupted in 1995, and then the enxt day climbed into a lava cave which cuts everyone up cause its really sharp. today, we made our way back to santiago and waited for five hous in the airport due to wind. not sure why. but, now its back to hopefully learning some language, my donkeys, and soon enough site assignments. my creole is ok, my portuguese is horrible.

so far, everyone who came is still here, and everyone seems to be doing fine. ditto with me. miss everyone, ti logo.

Friday, July 6, 2007

nha dia

i get up a few times during the night usually becuase either our cow is having a nightmare or the donkley across the way is mkaing whatever sound a donkey makes, but louder. about 5:30 or so, the roosters go off. actually, they go off all night, but more so in the early morning. we try, and by we i mean the three ee volunteers, to go fazi cross, jogging, each mroning at 6. we have to walk thorugh town becuase the dogs will growl and chase us if we jog through.

our town is a single cobble stone street with some houses lining the street and others, like mine, off the road down a dirt path. we are situated above the river bed, and the river bed is no longer a river. we are near mountain brendi, which is a really cool volcanic brute of some sorts.

i come home to take my cold bucket bath, no running water, or electricity in the morning. then my mom has breakfast waiting. breakfast is small, only some cookies and bread usually with coffee. they try to get me to eat all the time,. but i have to refuse all the time too. then i have school at 8

so far we ahve met outside for class. we review basics of creole, though starting monday it will be porteguse, for a few hours. sometimes we will have a applied langugae thing were we go to the single mini market and ask the clerk, how much does something cost, how much does something wieght, and laslty, how long is something. and we tasted his salt for some reaosn. then, lunch

for almoso, lunch, its usually something similar to dinner, rice and fish or potatoes and green banana stew thingy wiht rice. always rice. always white rice. always. i eat some, yes, i have eatten fish, i still find it disguting as it certainly is not served as nicely here as it is back in the states. they throw the bones to the cat. i try to talk to my mom, and sometimes my dad, but we still havent yet found our niche in communicating. vivi, my brother whos 15, walks wiht me everywhere. he goes jogging wiht us too. he does not like joggin i think

then, we have either more applied stuff or more lessons, or we have to do stuff wiht the family. like, i used the washboard to wash a towel. oh, the dad thinks its the funniest thing thaat i dont use sugar in my coffee. he laughs everyday about that.

dinner, simialr to lunch. we all sit in the kicthen, the inside one. the outside one is for slow boiling stuff using wood. outside is also where our chickes, pigs, and cow are. having a cow means that the family has some money. cows are a status symbol here, like cars too.

my mom and dad desperalty try to get me to eat lots of food, so thats really the struggle everyday, to tell them in broken creole that i am a small man, i do not eat much.

anywho, enough for now. n sta bai ribero manaul.

Friday, June 29, 2007

Bom Dia

hellow from Cabo Verde in Afrika. Still not at site yet, and by site i mean the homestay. We had a meeting with the US Ambassador this afternoon and he wished us well. We even got some peanuts and stuff to snack on. There are lots of mangos and papaya here, which is nice. I´m not sure what i can say right now as i do not have lots of time, nor really know what to explain about whats been going on. If you want write me letters, please email me and i can send you the address. but for now, Bo Noite. Thats creole for good night.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Last Dance...


All packed up and ready to go. Who knows, this might be my last post untill i get back if for some very strange reason i can never access a computer again.

But for now, so long and thanks for all the vegan food.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Packing and having babies

I've been busy the last few days getting all my stuff together, figuring out last minute things i thought i had or realized i needed. But lo, the end is near, and i have double checked my list and have arranged everything for packing. So, as promised, here is an excruciatingly detailed list of all the stuff i'll be taking with me:

Clothing
(6) collared polo shirts
(6) non-political t-shirts
(3) long sleeve shirts
(2) long sleeve collared shirts
(2) ties)
(a bunch) underwear
(a bunch) of socks <----though i hope to not need them
(1) rain jacket <----- i doubt i'll need this
(1) pair of shoes
(1) pair of sandals
(1) zip off pant things
(2) pillow cases
(2) sheets


Health type items
(2 years i hope) contact solution
(2) pairs of glasses and repair kit
(1) thing of chewable multi vitamins
(5) spice boxes: garlic powder, Cajun spices, turmeric (yum), paprika, and oregano
ok, no more counting stuff...

shaving cream and razors
lotion
chapstick
headache medicine stuff
homeopathic stomach stuff
bug repellent stuff
hand sanitizer
toothpaste
soap
ear plugs
mouth guard <---- no, not in case i play hockey
floss
sunscreen

Other Stuff
notebooks, pens, envelopes
plastic document holders
a handy dandy atlas
uno and regular playing cards
magnetic chess board <---thank you New Zealand
a squishy frisbee
(2) nalgene bottles
hair cutting scissors
a knife swiss army thing
a can
dle camping thing with replacement candles
a shakey flashlight <----- Best flashlight ever
duct tape
index cards
tons and tons of cash and travelers checks
sewing kit and a small survival kit (has a whistle)
a stretchy workout thingy
sunglasses
camping cookware, steamer and a little sponge
small bottle of dr. bonners soap
power converter
buddha statue
ipod
fuji finepix F30 digital camera <---- really good, not too expensive camera
a watch
a pack of incense
Books: Leaves of Grass,
The Illuminatus, Demons, Instant Portuguese, Say it in Portuguese
a letter from a friend

Thats basically it. There are maybe a few othersmall things i'm throwing in there, but you get the gist of it. I haven't actually put the stuff into any luggage or bags yet, but the picture shows it laid out, it's not that much i think, hopefully i can squeeze it easily into my backpack and a small luggage thing.


In other news, my brother, via his wife, had twins. Sam Nathan and Henry Jacob. They are pictured below:

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Less than a week to go (AKA - Like a tv with snow)


I'm down to under a week...finally. I've been waiting to actually leave for the peace corps since Thanksgiving, and even now, it seems just as distant and unreal as it did back than. But, on to snow. Recently, i have had to say goodbye (over and over and over again) to many people. Sometimes, i have a flash in my head that a goodbye for a long extended period of time will be this grand thing, but then it turns out to be a handshake and a "See ya" type deal. But mostly, it's like a regular goodbye is, awkward.

Sometimes, i wonder how much we take a relationship for granted, or our so called sense of time. We say goodbye all the time, when we really mean see you later, which confirms in our head a few things that A. This person will at some point show up in our life again and that B. You will have a later to get to that point. So what am i getting at? i don't know.

Oh, yeah, i wanted to talk about snow. A very good friend of mine asked me a few nights ago about snow, do the people you say good bye too seem like they are or will fade over time? I suppose the question could be opened to memories in general. I didn't answer then, and i don't plan to now, but it's an interesting question, and i look forward to seeing what my answer turns out to be.

So far, only one person has cried. And when i say cried, i mean, she hasn't stopped crying. It's ruining said person's life. sad.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Limbo, not the bar mitzah version


I figured since i have plenty of time to practice Portuguese, why not do none of that and instead practice writing blog entries, which is much more important. Limbo. To go from having a routine you are used to, a place, a life, formality and to than take it all away, its difficult. that's what i expected the peace corps to be, but instead, i'm practicing it, like my blog writing, by being home for two weeks. maybe it would have been better to go right from a job and apartment to the peace corps, but lo, it did not work out that way. so while i have things to do, i do not feel that urgency i perhaps would have felt or should have felt otherwise. regardless, i've been researching packing lists and i plan to make my own, and like everyone else i've found, i'll post it on here because what could be more entertaining than reading about what i put into bags to take with me.

i have about two weeks till i leave for atlanta.

oh, while i'll check my spelling here and there, for those of you who are teachers or stiklers for grammer, i simply refuse to capatalize most words. refuse i say,

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

I'm posting and I haven't even left yet

So I'm still working out how to best use this blog, the ins and outs of what i can do on here, for instance, putting pictures in the middle of a posting which i hope to figure out. Anywho, since i have only invited my family to view this as of now, it's kinda strange to be writting anything, but alas. Six weeks to go till staging.

Ahh, i just figured out how to put a picture in a post. easyil done. Ohh, and they have a spell checker.