Thursday, June 18, 2009

Barefoot Derby

So below are some pics of something Cape Verdians doing something, for fun, that most of us would find torturous. They are running full-speed, down a VERY tall, VERY steep, VERY rocky mountainside. These people are nuts.


Now playing: Frightened Rabbit - My Backwards Walk
via FoxyTunes



Thursday, June 4, 2009

Iris Looking Right Through Me

Dia Mundial de Criança

So yesterday was World Children's Day in Cape Verde. (In case you haven't noticed, Cape Verde is prop doid (totally crazy) about "World" and "International" Fill-in-the-Blank Days...including World AIDS Day, World Democracy Day, World Malaria Day, and my personal favorite World Disaster Mitigation Day...yes, it's a real holiday here.)

Anyway, yesterday it was all about the kids and we had a pretty fun little project in Txangreja. With a little help from a friend that works in the kamera in Mindelo, a nice donation from a couple of tourists who fell in love with our town during their 24 hour stay, and an accord I arranged with several families in which they agreed to kill one of their chickens in exchange for my carpentry skills (who knew I even had any?)...we managed to provide a Thanksgiving-like dinner (each student got 1 chicken part, french fries, rice, juice or milk, cranberry sauce and a SALAD!) for all 79 kids in our school, a trip to the beach and a hell of a party (complete with dancing, balloons, a poetry recital and a game of charades) to boot. Perhaps best of all, we managed to buy three trophies...none of which were awarded for sporting events, all of which were awarded for "Academic Achievement." This was a COMPLETELY novel concept for everyone involved...academic achievement in this country being regarded about as highly as one's ability to juggle. In any event, a trophy is a trophy, and kids were salivating for weeks at the thought of winning one.

Over the past few weeks the teachers and I had the kids busy memorizing poems, learning dances and doing various arts and crafts in anticipation for the big day. In addition to the various performances, everyone's handiwork (cut-out paper flowers, houses made of matchsticks, spinning tops carved from wood and toy fans made from sugar-cane bark) was displayed on tables in the classrooms, and pretty much the whole town came out to peruse and admire. At the end of the day, a select panel of esteemed judges (Me and one of the drivers) awarded the each for poetry, drawing and short story.

Basically it was a terrific day, and one the kids won't soon forget. It was great to see them laughing and smiling all day long, and the big meal was a REAL treat. Although I LOVED the part of the day when the kids' read their stories and poems and showed off their drawing, it wasn't my favorite part. That has to go to the part of the day where we asked for volunteers to come up to the mic to answer the question..."Why Are We Celebrating Kids Today?" The answers were as varied and surprising as anything I've seen in Cape Verde since being here, and even had me a little choked up at one point...although that's not saying much as I've been known to cry during dog-food commercials. was a great day, and I got some great pics of the kids all dressed up for their special day. Have a look below!

Diane Humoring Me

Vivian in his Hat

Mickey in her Dress

Admiring the Original Works

Big Meal!

Hamming it Up

Leo telling us Why We Are Celebrating Children Today