Had a great time in Cape Verde, but would like to start at the end of the title…computers! The volunteer previously at my site organized the donation of 25 computers to the middle school in Dabo through a great program called the World Computer Exchange. If all goes to plan, the computers will be arriving before the end of the year – the students and faculty are very excited about this! Although the fundraising for the middle school in Dabo was completed by my predecessor, please consider making a donation to the Senegal fund here (click on Donate button in upper right hand side, then select “Peace Corps Senegal Shipment” for Program Designation, and my name in the Dedication field), which would go towards the 10 other schools in Senegal that will have also requested computers, as they are all being shipped together. THANK YOU!!!
Cape Verde was very beautiful, an incredible landscape, very volcanic, and a welcome change from Senegal as the islands are much more European than African, and so we could eat real Italian food made by real Italians etc., as well as actual hills and mountains, also not something I see a lot of over here. I could definitely understand why the Peace Corps program here was “graduating” as it seemed much more “developed” than “developing”. My friend Jesse was teaching English at a university there as a Peace Corps volunteer, but is transferring to Mozambique now that the program is closed, so I was glad to catch him before he left! Overall we did a lot of hiking, beach relaxing, and drinking grogue, the local liqueur made from sugar cane.
Erandy and Adrienne at Baia das Gatas, Sao Vicente
On the ferry to Santo Antao
Jesse and I at Cova crater, Santo Antao
View from hotel room in Pombas, not too shabby
Mindelo, Sao Vicente
Right after coming back I had a summer camp organized by USAID at the middle school in my town, which I was asked to work at as a counselor. It was a fun 2 week-long day camp for about 120 kids that was mostly academic, with revision classes in french and math, but also lots of singing and games. I taught health classes for the kids, which was a fun challenge for my French skills – I did lessons on malaria prevention (including making neem cream), nutrition, hand washing, and, by popular demand, a bit of English as well. The camp was for kids in school as well as kids who had dropped out so there was a wide variety of academic levels. Most of my Michele Sylvester scholarship girls were there so it was great to spend time with them, as well as with the teachers. The kids were divided into 4 “family” groups with a variety of ages, of which I was a co-counselor for one – we ate lunch together each day and competed in all the games as a team – we got 2nd place in the soccer tournament! We also did tree planting one day and cleaned up the school grounds – this was a funny moment – seeing the clean up scheduled on the camp program, I immediately started organizing my kiddies to pick up 10 pieces of trash each, which is how it would have been done at my old summer camp in the Adirondacks – the kids were reluctant though and then I realized cleaning up the grounds Senegalese-style meant removing any and all living or dead plant matter so that the ground was just sand. (The grassy weeds do provide a unwelcome home for snakes and possibly mosquitoes, so fair enough). Trash as such was not really a factor in the clean-up. We also went on a walk through the town, kind of “caroling”, at the compounds of various important people, singing the camp songs they had learnt (and yes, I taught them camp songs from Chingachgook). I have some videos of the kids singing but unfortunately the internet is not cooperating so might try to upload those another time. Another funny thing – the rest of the teaching staff for the camp was completely obsessed with filming – I felt like I was on a reality show with 2 cameras on me at all times. Will let you know if any of that footage surfaces at any point.
Daily program board
And most importantly, my new dog, George Michael! He is very sweet! A volunteer neighbor of mine moved to Kolda city for her new job as a volunteer leader, and so I adopted him! He ran alongside our bikes as we biked the 7k from her village to Dabo when she moved out, and is now happily living in my hut and enjoying being awkwardly petted by the neighborhood kids (petting dogs is not really a thing here).