Thursday, August 21, 2008

Inspriron


Seems like I’m chock full of anniversaries. As of September 1st, I will have been on São Nicolau for one year. That’s one year at site, working at the park, living in my community in Cachaço, etc etc etc. What’s it all mean huh, what has a year serving in the Peace Corps meant, etc etc etc

Well, I, like all other PCV’s, certainty have my thoughts on the Peace Corps as a whole and also on my local level in Cape Verde. In general, I believe that PC is trying to get older people to join, which I think is definitely the right move. After 40 years of grass roots development, the majority of places that PC has been now need a higher level of development beyond digging wells. This means more people trained in small business development, older people with skills in forming organizations, marketing, production, etc etc etc. It’s good that it seems PC is leaning more towards this now. Lo, PC is and always will be a governmental organization, which is very apparent in the way it is run and how it interacts with volunteers.

After one year here at site, my close neighbors feel very much like family, and I believe they very much view me as family as well. They provide for you if you need anything, they help take care of you if you are sick, they teach you things you need to know. Perhaps the best aspect of my service so far has simply been the people I have gotten to know here. One year at the Park and, well, lets just say I await to see what this next year will bring. There have been several good things that have come so far from my work at the park, like a health workshops, helping develop several local families to provide food for tourists, working with the guides and monitors, and my continuing work on creation of a new protected area. Did a few trash clean ups as well.

Outside of the Park, I have had community English classes. That was three months of work, and if and when I do it again, I hope to take my lessons learned into consideration. But everyone loved them and ask when there will be more classes. Working on the bike project has been a slow processes. I now have my proposals done in English and Portuguese, and will now go to the local organizations to get their full support and hopefully some money from them too. (Buy a t-shirt!!!!! Or donate!!!!!! Or both!!!!!). I imagine that over the next year a few other small projects will pop up, but I realize that while being a PCV is certainly about the work you do, its equally about the relationships you make and the exchange with the people.

Come the end of September new 1st year volunteers will be shipped out to the islands. For now PC is keeping volunteers in the dark about the new trainees. I am hoping we get a small business volunteer though. A news report yesterday said São Nicolau is the poorest island of Cape Verde, so we need to help create development for the people here.

PCV’s from the mainland have comments about the Cape Verde post as an easy place for volunteers. While it is certainly not difficult living in Cape Verde (not using a latrine, I typically always have electricity, etc etc etc) the difficulties arise in other ways. Such as it is harder here to at first see the need for a PCV, or where and how you can make a difference. The challenges PCV’s face in Cape Verde are very different than those on the mainland, but I think make being a volunteer equally as hard.

Anywho, some Cape Verdean music artist that people should check out are:

Ildo Lobo

Tito Paris

Tcheka

Bau

Bana

Etc etc etc

My favorite of the moment is Tcheka, really good music as it’s a combination of Cape Verde and a slight hint of west Afrikan music.

Alright, that’s it. Stay tuned for more exciting blogs about my adventures in Cape Verde, about the bike project (BUY A SHIRT!!!!! DONATE!!!!! TELL OTHER PEOPLE!!!!!!) and other things, etc etc etc

And remember, will money pay for all the days you lived awake but half asleep?