Friday, December 26, 2008

Merry Christmas

So yesterday was Xmas, although it hardly felt like it. In what can now safely be called my Christmas Eve tradition, day before yesterday I went fishing in Cruzinha, and although I didn’t manage an octopus this year, I DID spear a glorious red speckled fish. I thought it was a grouper fish, but I’m told it’s something else.
Whatever...it tasted great and I’m feeling like Tarzan again. Something very satisfying about catching, killing, cooking and consuming your meals.

Christmas dinner was an adventure. I offered to cook for all of Benvinda’s immediate family, which turned out to be 11 people, plus me. I had originally intended to make some smoked chicken and stuffing and corn on the cob, but panicked at the last minute and made chicken teriyaki with pineapples and veggies instead, which turned out to be a good decision. There was plenty of food, everyone seemed to enjoy it (16 chicken breasts, 5 pineapples, almost a kilo of rice and a kilo of mixed veggies...and no leftovers!) and afterwards we opened presents.

Beni got me 2 chinese loja DVDs, the first of which was called “Gigantic Super Pilot” and which included 22 Tom Cruise films (all on one DVD). The second was called “Invincible Ugly Woman,” and it turned out to be the entire first two seasons of an American show called Ugly Betty. I gave her the last of the loot I brought back with me from the states. For Nelinda I got a memory card game, for Beli (Beni’s mom) I got a cutting board and a good knife, which I found in Sao Vicente; Cuchi, Vani and Lavinha all got beads to put in their hair, and the rest of the family got tomato, corn, squash and herb seeds. It was over in about 10 seconds.

After that (and by”after that” I mean beginning at about 1 in the morning) there was a dance in the town plaza, with pretty much everybody from town in attendance. Everyone was all decked out in their finest attire and it was the first time I’ve really seen the WHOLE village together...to include the babies, kids, teenagers, adults, old folks, crazy folks, all the folks. They were still dancing when I went to bed at 5:30 this morning.

Dolls seem to have been the present of choice this year, as today nearly every kid in town between the ages of 3 and 13 (boys included) is running around with a little plastic person in their hands. The luckier kids got soccer balls, a couple even got new shoes. There were no bikes, bb guns, or iPods.

Anyway, today everyone is walking around from house to house eating leftovers and wishing everyone well and asking about their Natal holiday. There is a soccer game in the polivalent this evening and yet another mass at the church. (There have been 2 masses a day for 3 straight days now.)

Anyway, hope everyone had a great and merry Christmas. Pic of my glorious catch below!

Big Red Delicious Fish

Monday, December 22, 2008

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Jennifer

In CV, Jennifer is pronounced "j-KNEE-fir"

Lu-Lu

"Cute"does not even begin to describe this little girl's personality.

Iris crying after someone popped her balloon

Beni and Neli in the Kinder Classroom

Christmas School Party

So yesterday was the last day of school before the Xmas holidays and so of course, there was a party. Beni and I spent the better part of the last three days blowing up balloons, making paper snowflakes (the kids had no idea what they were supposed to be) and paper Xmas trees, popcorn garlands and paper tinsel, and generally preparing to spread a great deal of Xmas cheer. I brought my guitar to school and taught them to sing Jingle Bells (it comes out as “jingo bays”) and Beni sewed some Pae Natal (Santa Claus) hats. I remember last year that the food was pretty frako (weak) so for exactly 16 U.S. dollars, I sponsored the mesa (table) this year and there was foods galore. That got us cakes, tortas, pastels, popcorn, crackers, chips, 3 pizzas (made by yours truly and having a crustal consistency just this side of granite) and about one litre of pure-sugar soda per kid. (There are, no doubt, parents cursing my name as we speak.)

At the party there was singing, poetry recital, a reading of The Christmas Miracle in Portuguese, traditional dancing, and, in an attempt to follow up on the AIDS Day information, a question and answer session regarding methods of transmission and avoidance. In general it was a huge success and we were there for about 4 hours yesterday, just having fun.

All did not go perfectly well however. I spent most of this month’s bandwidth downloading Christmas music. (Aside: Did I tell you that in CV you pay for internet per megabyte...4CVE per Mb...rather than just per month...although you pay that too?? Pray that this never happens in the States or you will be forced to seriously curtail your internet usage as 10 minutes skimming the news amounts to about 40 megabytes, or 160CVE...but I digress.) Anyway, I made the school mistress a CD of all that good music and expected to hear it during the party. You may imagine how uncomfortable I was when at the party I instead heard the latest in shitty American rap music to slither its way into Cape Verde. In a particularly creepy moment I watched as dozens of 7 and 8 year olds writhed and undulated and even sang along to lyrics that went: “How you feel me now baby, cuz I can go deeper, I can go deeper, all night long. You already know I’m gonna f*%# you.” Yikes. (Under other circumstances, this phenomenon of Cape Verdians singing the lyrics to English songs they don’t understand is actually quite entertaining, but not so in this case.)

Another problem errupted towards the end of the festa. My 16 dollars got enough balloons for everyone in the school, and despite Beni’s urging to the contrary, I distributed them at the party. Well ael tinha razon (she was right), as that turned into a disaster when the older kids starting popping or stealing those of the little kids. Kiddy-fights broke out, tears were shed, pandemonium ensued, and in the end, I made a quick and unannounced exit, leaving the teachers to deal with the aftermath.

Other than that, the only new thing is the weather. Although it has lately cooled considerably (it’s in the low 60s during the nights) it doesn’t feel anything like Xmas weather. You wouldn’t know it from looking at Cape Verdians though, as people in town can often be seen shivering and walking about in full-on, fur-lined winter parkas made for Antarctic exploration. It’s a nice change form the heat though, and I’ve been happy to get to use my one sweatshirt I brought with me. I think all of the other volunteers from my group that live on my island have already left and gone home to the States for Xmas so now I’ve got the place more or less to myself, moda m kizer (which is as I like it). Later today I’m making a wooden sign that says “You have arrived at the Western-most part of Africa.” Tomorrow I’ll start the day long-hike to get there, plant it in the rocks, spend the night there, hike back, and wait for the tourists to start queueing up.

Pics of stuff below.

The Home Team

Dress for the Weather

Low 60's qualifies as "bone-chilling" in CV.

Soccer on the beach is fun!

Arlet

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bomberos!

So today was definitely one of my most interesting in Cape Verde so far, and there was bokuat moviment (a lot of activity) in Cha de Igreja, which is rare, to say the least.

I guess the first thing is that my valley got our very own ambulance today, courtesy of a really varied group of non-profit organizations working together, including a group of Jeep and 4x4 enthusiasts in South Africa, various hospital coalitions in Portugal, and a professional sports team from Brussles. Amazing really. Their deal is buying old model Land Rovers, restoring them to mint condition, and then donating them to countries in Africa. Pretty friggin’ cool. It’ll serve all of us living in Cruzinha, Garça and Txangreja, and all the scattered houses in between. Anyway, the president of the kamera was out to inaugurate it, (they’re coo-coo for inaugurations in the country. Last month I witnessed the inauguration of a crate of wheelbarrows.) and to officially swear in the new class of Bomoberos Voluntarios (volunteer firemen) de Frequesia de Sao Pedro Apostolo.

Most of the movimento was surrounding the one-day training event that one must undergo in order to become a member of that prestigious group. The ambulance came roaring into town at about 10 this morning light blazing and horn blaring and I thought we were at war. It actually came straight to my house where his Excellencio Senor Commandante de Protecion Civil asked me if I would take pictures of the day’s training, which of course I was happy to do. I was very interested to learn how one goes about fighting fires in a country that has no water.

Except that, apparently, the main thing you have to know how to do if you’re going to be a firefighter on Santo Antao is repel off of cliffs...which is a handy skill indeed in these mountains, and not one easily mastered, as I can now tell you from firsthand.

Now, it should be mentioned that by the time my dad was my age, he’d probably jumped out of a couple hundred planes, and I’ve never done anything like that, and I’ve always been a bit jealous of him about that, so I REALLY wanted to try it out. I wasn’t sure what the Peace Corps policy is regarding volunteers going repelling, so, I did what every good volunteer would have done in the same situation, which was to check the Peace Corps Volunteer Handbook, where I found nothing specifically prohibiting it, and so at the insistence of the president of the kamera, and under the guidance and expert tutelage of Senor Commandante and his staff, I took the plunge, and it was excellent. It would have been perfect but for the fact that we were descending into the town’s garbage dump at the end of the ribeira. I was subsequently told that this exercise was to practice for the event of a garbage fire, which didn’t make much sense to me since there are garbage fires every couple of months here and I’ve never seen an ambulance or a firefighter come rushing to put those out, at which point it was explained to me that the firefighters have to repel into the crevasse in order to SET, not PUT OUT the trash fires. Ohhhhh…of course.

Anyway, getting back up was, for me, difficult, to say the least. I saw all the other guys (and girl) doing it and it involves putting of one foot through a loop in the rope, and your hands together on a sort of climby-clamping slider and then orchestrating a fluid, graceful, caterpillaresque movement to pull yourself up the line. It is a movement that my body is apparently unable to perform. What took them 8 or 10 minutes took me 20 and by the time I made it to the top I was drenched with sweat, heaving, exhausted.

Some hours later, having recuperated, I came out to see the whole town in the plaza to watch the kamera president swear-in and congratulate the new group and inaugurate the ambulance. He spoke for 39 minutes. Afterwards, was the Simulaçao de Emergencia. The object was to simulate a fall victim (which was good, since that happens all the time here), and here’s how it went down.

Sgt. Sabino (see photo below) hollerd out some things and four of the guys jumped in the back of the ambulance and another guy jumped behind the wheel. They started up the truck, fired up the emergency light and siren (did I mention it’s an old-timey hand cranked air-siren?) and, in a cloud of blue smoke and dust, drove about 20 meters down to the bottom of the steep hill in the middle of town, where another fireman (the simulated victim) was laying. The town rushed to watch the four in the back jump out with a stretcher, and in a careful and practiced manner, load him in the back on a stretcher stand, which was when the trouble started.

First, to get itself pointed back towards town, the ambulance had to make a 26 point turn. (something I’d think you’d want to do before you loaded the victim) It stalled out a couple of times. The back door popped open twice. The air siren blared throughout. In short order they got it running again and about halfway back up the hill, the driver, apparently, dropped into 4-wheel drive on the fly...which caused the truck to make one huge, rather violent jerking motion...which apparently caused the “simulation” victim to be thrown from his stretcher in the back…at which point he became an “actual” victim by breaking his collarbone and being taken directly to the hospital in our new ambulance. I wish I was making this up.

Anyway, it was the first day with the thing, and you know how some clutches can be tricky, especially on an unfamiliar vehicle, and they’ll have plenty of time to practice before next month’s trash fire. Everyone in town is happy to have an ambulance in town (you used to have to pay the 3000$00CVE it costs to rent a hiace out if you were sick or hurt and needed to get to the hospital). I’ve also been made an honorary volunteer firefighter (I got a hat and everything!)

Pics Below. What’s new at home?

Helping Hand

This volunteer freaked out a little bit (and with good reason) when he looked down.

Class of 2008

Without Further ado, I present the Sao Pedro Apostolo Bomberos Voluntario (Volunteer Fire Department), of which I am now an honorary member.

Sgt. Sabino and Two timing Tony

Sabino (on the right) is far and away my best friend in town, and probably one of the best I'll ever have. Tony on the other hand, was responsible for three pregnancies buy three different women in this town (of 397 people) alone, all during the last year. Night and Day.

Ambulancia Novo

Zøf!

That's this guy's name. It means "Showoff."

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Success!

So I thinks it’s worth mentioning that I am posting this from here in Cha de Igreja from the comforts of my own home in fact, via internet which I had installed upstairs a few days ago. Despite what anyone may think may think about the relative poshness of my Peace Corps experience here in Cape Verde, let me assure you that Cape Verde is still Africa, and that getting internet installed in Cha de Igreja, indisputably among the poorest, most remote, isolated and just plain hard to get to places in the country, is not an easy thing to do. Nevertheless, I’ve done it, and its awesome.
I’ve managed to create an office of sorts for myself in the (previously completely barren and unused) room that connects to my bedroom. I ranja’d (arranged) myself a little table and an extra chair, and as I type this out, I’m looking out across my balcony watching the colors on the mountains change as the sun sets in a wild blue sea behind me, and it’s easy to imagine staying here for another year.

Anyway, we just wrapped up the World AIDS Day Week in Cha de Igreja and I gotta tell ya, it was pretty goddam terrific if you ask me. All in all we had in the neighborhood of 900 participants/spectators over the course of the week, which is pretty good considering there are only 397 people currently living in Cha de Igreja, with about the same number in both my neighboring villages, Cruzinha and Garça.
We fed and provided free transportation to nearly all of those, gave red balloons to about three fourths, condoms to half of them, hand sewn red ribbons to about a third of them and some really handsome looking T-shirts to a little over a fourth of them. This was definitely the HIT of the week (along with the town screening of Iron Man) and people went absolutely BATSHIT CRAZY for the shirts. You’d have thought I was handing out iPods or something. We had radio advertising and a journalist from the national paper in attendance. We also managed to have a two-day soccer tournament with trophies, a children’s poster contest, some REALLY cool co-ed youth dance performances. We built a basketball court, had a mural painted, and showed a week’s worth of movies in the plaza. And we did it all for around three thousand dollars. Oh yeah...we also managed to get some AIDS awarenessing done.

All joking aside, I can honestly tell you that I feel that every single person that participated in the project has come away from it a little better informed, and a lot more willing to talk about AIDS, than they were before. And certainly the project has been a real accomplishment in terms of the “community development” that is my main “mission” in the Peace corps. All of the above was accomplished, with the help of Peace Corps, by the community leaders I’ve come to know, using, to the extent possible, community assets to address community weaknesses. All the while (if I’ve done my job well), teaching them about capacity building, and most rewardingly for me, allowing them to recognize their own capacity to pull off something of this magnitude.

Last night at about midnight, as I sent the last of the revelers on their way, turned out the lights and locked up the polivalent, I came across Joailson, a really laid-back, respectful and thoughtful teenager I really like, as he was heading home. I asked him what he thought of the project and he stopped and looked at me and said:

“Mos, nunk n’ha vida k’m oyab un coisa moda kel’la. Foi cool mon. Foi cool.”


That means, word for word:

“Man, never in my life have I seen something like that. It was cool man. It was cool.”

Well, words cannot express how happy that made me feel. All of which is not to say that I’m not about ready to murder half of the people in my town.

The honest truth is that I give us a solid “B-” overall, but we could have, should have, been able to do better. In the end (and the beginning and middle come to think of it) I did A LOT of the work on my own, and literally had to get in arguments with some people to get them to hold up their ends of the bargain. I feel like had I done a little more ass-kicking and had been a little less polite to some of my fellow organizers, we coulda got the A. But Peace Corps taught us, and I agree, that if we as the volunteer are doing all the work, we’re not doing our job well. So for some things I just delegated or advised and let the people who asked to be responsible, be responsible. As it turned out, many of those people were fairly irresponsible.

We suffered many setbacks. The Minister of Health couldn’t see fit to send out a doctor to present the actual AIDS information, or even to return our calls. The fact that we asked them to send us one pissed off the nurse who lives in our town, and he refused to participate in anything thereafter. (Aside: We have the world’s worst male nurse. In a fit of nepotistic blindness, the kamera installed a man who is nauseous at the site of blood and who is allergic to penicillin, and therefore unable to administer those shots, as the chief health care professional in the entire valley. He is also extremely lazy, even by Cape Verdian standards, which is saying a lot. Him I actually admonished in public, which, in this country, is definitely not cool, but everyone in the room was thinking it at the time and it needed to be said.) He was replaced by Romeo, a volunteer bombero (fireman) who had just completed an AIDS awareness formaçao.
The T-shirt company raised their price while also delaying the pick-up date by several days. The sporting equipment supplier failed almost completely. The wood-dealer in Povoçon short-changed me on the purchase of the wood we ended up buying to make the basketball goals. Several people threatened me with bodily harm after I told them that I couldn’t just give them a shirt...that they had to in fact participate in some way.
The girls soccer tourney racket design didn’t allow for a nil-nil tie, which is in fact what happened. Unbelievably, we were unable to determine a winner of the girl’s tournament and so that trophy is currently sitting on my kitchen table.
Several drunks from Cruzinha decided to proveita (take advantage) of the free transportation and they managed to interrupt play several times.

Other things went well though. Several times yesterday I was sort of overcome with pride to think of all the work I’d done to help put this thing together, and then to look around and see so many people laughing and running and playing and competing and eating and yes, even talking about AIDS.
For the first time, possibly in the history of Cape Verde, there was food and drinks left over at the end of the party. Really delicious food. There was, really, mountains of delicious food.
The shirts were well designed, well made, lots of sizes, and turned out great. There was a HUGE demand. We should have spent more on T-shirts and less on free transportation, because I have NO DOUBT that people would have gladly walked here from wherever, at the mere chance of getting a T-shirt. The impact of the T-shirts is really impossible to overstate. People were acting all bananas with regard to the T-shirts. It was instant publicity, instant interest, instant participation. And because we were giving one away every 30 minutes to people who could answer AIDS related questions or make their AIDS Pledges, it kept people in the polivalent, and paying attention, all day. Today was Monday, the first day after the activity, and nearly everyone is still wearing their T-shirts. There is a knock on my door about every 5 minutes from someone wanting to make an AIDS pledge and pick up a T-shirt.

The best part of the community contribution part came in the form of 2 teenagers (Djon and Herman) who were put in charge of building the basketball goals. I mentioned to them that the Sports place reneged on the deal to sell me some backboards and rims and the next day they gave me a list of all the materials they would need to make some themselves. I was able to get the materials and in less than three days we had a basketball court. No shit. They welded and everything.

Incontrovertibly, the best moment of the entire week 8for me) was last night when, in front of most of the population of this entire valley, I gave Wandinha what amounts to a more-than-the-rest-of-her-lifetime-supply of condoms. I have never seen Wandinha sober. Wandinha is approximately 50, but due to extreme exposure to the sun and wind and heat, and to a diet consisting solely of grogue and sugarcane, looks about 138 and is absolutely the last person on the earth that should be having any sort of sex. This gesture went over extremely well with the crowd, and people were howling, crying, screaming, nearly dying with laughter as she proceeded to amorously stumble-chase me around the court for the next ten minutes. Ah man. I will never forget that as long as I live.

Anyway, “Foi cool, mon. Foi cool.” Pics below.

Solda Ferra (Welding the Post)

Kompo Tabela (Makinng the Backboard)

Me and Bebia Serving Food

Group in Shirts

Gals in Shirts

Boys in shirts

Campo

Beni and Jani

Monday, December 1, 2008

World AIDS Day!!!

So today is December 1st, World AIDS Day, and thus the first day of events in my (perhaps overly ambitious) week-long Luta Contra SIDA program. I gotta say...so far so good. Before I reveal everything it is important to understand that over the course of the past 28 days, we’ve been preparing for this week. “Training” entailed a crash course for four leaders of the communities in my valley in AIDS awareness, facilitating group sessions and good discussions, making ribbons, preparing the week’s agenda, assigning AIDS related homework to the students, and previewing a series of films called Scenarios From Africa. I have also been back and forth to Povoçon nearly every day for the past three weeks and was also in SV for several days trying to arrange all the necessary materials, and will have to go back there on Friday to pick up T-shirts and a basketball. Anyway, here’s exactly what’s going on in Txangreja this week, and how we managed to do it...in abbreviated form:

Monday - Formador (host) Bebia
PP Presentation on schedule of events (Caley)
2 Segments form Scenarios From Africa followed by discussion
(supplied by PC)
“What is AIDS?”: Oral presentations by the students
Information Session with Nurse Vincente
Milk and cookies (VAST funds)

Tuesday -
Formador Julia
2 Segments form Scenarios From Africa followed by discussion
(supplied by PC)
“How do People Get AIDS?”: Oral presentations by the students
Information session with the pediatrician from Ribeira Grande (transportation paid by VAST grant)
Juice and Cake (VAST funds)

Wednesday - Formador Didi
3 Segments form Scenarios From Africa followed by discussion
“How Do People Avoid AIDS?”: Oral presentations by the students
Twister Competition (Twister game supplied by PCV in Povoçon)
Catxupa lunch (VAST funds)

Thursday - Formador Caley
3 Segments form Scenarios From Africa followed by discussion
Distribution of poster making materials (pens, watercolors, markers, chalk, posterboard..all supplied bt VAST funds)

Friday - Formador Pedro
4 Segments form Scenarios From Africa followed by discussion
Continue poster making
Radio Praça (I’m taking a page out of the CV’n politician’s book, and have arranged an 8 minute, continuously repeating, never ending music/message clip to be played in the plaza for about 6 hours during the day...financed by VAST funds)

Saturday
Student posters hung in the polivalente (soccer place)
Balloons, ribbons and streamers put up in Polivalente (VAST funds)
Soccer/Basketball Tournament: (organized by and transportation provided by community)
Poster Contest (judged by 4 formadors)
Radio Praça

Sunday
Filming of AIDS Pledges (We'll film about 50 kids making a 15-20 second pledge wherein they'll state their name, age, and nationality, and then promise to do their part to fight AIDS in their community. If things go well, I'll post them on Youtube with a link to the World AIDS Day page. IF things go REALLY well, I'll extract the audio from these clips and have that broadcast on 96.9 Radio Kriola over the course of the following weeks.)
Radio Praça
Inauguration of AIDS Day symbol painting in Polivalent (VAST funds)
Soccer/Basketball Tournament (transportation provided by VAST funds and community contribution)
Community AIDS Palestra and written test led by all 4 formadors (paper, pens and copy charges through VAST funds and community contribution)
World AIDS Day materials and prizes distributed (VAST funds, community contribution and third party)
Announcement of Poster Contest Winners
Presentation of Tournament Trophies (VAST funds and community contribution)
Community Dinner (VAST funds and Community contribution)
Community Dance (Community contribution and third party)
Condom Distribution (Over 3000 condoms donated by PMI and the Delegaçon de Saude in Sao Vicente)

This morning I hung posters (provided by Peace Corps and the Minister of Health in Sao Vicente) all over town. The motto is “Be a Leader in the Fight Against AIDS.” Then I walked around town distributing the little red ribbons and pins for people to wear. With Benvinda’s help, we’ve made about 500 of them...more than enough to go around, and each day I’ll try to distribute about 50. After that we hung a bright banner (the materials having been supplied through the Peace Corps VAST grant) out in front of the school here. It says, I think, “There is no cure for AIDS. Your Life is valuable….protect it and be a leader in the fight against AIDS.” All that before 8:00am.

So after 8, when school starts, things really got rolling. After my english classes, the entire kinder and primary classes convened in the library for Day One of the SIDA (that’s AIDS in Portuguese) PALESTRA (seminar?). It got started in the manner that all good meetings get started...with a Powerpoint Presentation. This was one of my own design, and it basically laid out for them (with pictures of all the kids and really cool transitions between the slides I might add) the schedule of events for the week. After that we began showing segments from Scenarios from Africa. These films are really a great tool for initiating discussions about sensitive topics like AIDS, domestic violence, alcoholism, etc. There are 6 DVDs worth of short films and all of them were the created (written by, filmed by, starring, etc.) by youth and youth groups on the African continent, then dubbed into 8 different languages (including Portuguese) and copied en masse for distribution to various Peace Corps posts. I was lucky enough to get my hands on some of them and I’m terribly thankful for that, because they were a HUGE hit.

The first one we showed was a cartoon explanation of the AIDS virus, complete with little demonic cells racing around trying to kill the good cells. The kids were laughing through most of it, but more importantly, they were paying attention to it. We followed that with a discussion of the material covered in the cartoon to make sure they knew what AIDS was, then went on to show another clip, followed by another short discussion. In a real boon for Peace Corps, and perhaps my own ego, the regional school coordinator happened to be here in Txangreja observing classes (I didn’t know she was coming) and was nearly in tears to see a white guy speaking perfect kriolu and working with local teachers on an AIDS project showing cartoons, in Portuguese, to kids. She asked me if I’d be willing to travel to all the other schools in Santo Antao to do the same thing. The Peace Corps mantra of SUSTAINABILITY popped into my head at that moment and I told her I’d do something better than that...I’d make copies of the films (it says right on the front of the box that copying and distributing them is encouraged) and train Cape Verdian teachers of her choosing how to lead the sessions themselves.

We followed that up with the Cape Verdian equivalent of book reports about AIDS. Of course, there are no books here, which makes book reports difficult. So this weekend a visitor to Txangreja would have seen about a dozen kids running around with a piece of paper and a pencil asking adults what AIDS was, how you got it, and how you avoid it. I can tell you that some of the information presented today was, to say the least, inaccurate. (Except for Rosie’s report, who perspicaciously called the nurse in Garça to get her information.) That actually worked out for the best however, as it gave our newly trained discussion leaders the perfect opportunity to use their recently hones facilitation skills, and in the end, we got everything straight and clear in the minds of our charges.

After that Nurse Vincent (a local) showed up and, in the manner of most Cape Verdian men in a position of power and influence (which is exactly what a nurse in a town like Txangreja is), talked for about three hours about why he was qualified to be giving this information in the first place, and then immediately put everyone to sleep by literally reading word for word from a 2003 technical and statistical manual about AIDS that he apparently downloaded from a UN Website. Milk and Cookies saved the day.

Anyway, that’s day one already under wraps, and you’ve got the program above to see how the rest of the week is (supposed to be) running. I’m gonna try to take a ton of pics bright smiling faces.

A Future Advertisement for the Scenarios From Africa DVDs

I'd like to thank Joanna in the PC office for getting me a copy of these DVDs. Really a great tool. Thanks joanna.

Formador Bebia

Here is a photo Bebia, the 5th grade teacher from my town, and one of the four selected to go through the SIDA/facilitation crash course. We borrowed the TV and DVD player from the lady next door.

AIDS Audience

All these kids were in the "library" today to see the AIDS films.

Campaign Poster

Rosie Reading

Valuable Sign