Monday, June 20, 2011


What up? Hope the people that read this blog are doing well and loving life. Here, life is pretty good. Still doing the same old: teaching a computer class, working on a compost pile, some other organizational development stuff at the youth center and the radio station (I'll try to record some shows and post them on the web)

But, aside from my job, I talk to people and this is by far the most rewarding aspect of my life here in Cape Verde. Throughout my first year here I've talked to old men, freedom fighters, immigrants who have seen the effects of civil war, colleagues and children. Each of them improving my understanding of the world and humbling me. Not all of the talks are serious. A lot of them are about sports, the weather and their families. But they all have an impact on the way that I view the world and the way I go about living in it.

I can remember one day where I talked with two old men, one who I frequently talk with, Sinhor Mauricio, and the other who is Sinhor Mauricio's cousin. That day we talked about life in the old days, back in the 40's. They spoke of the hardships they encountered, specifically the famine in 1947, which they remembered by date. At this point, Sinhor Mauricio's cousin unbuttoned his shirt and showed me a mark that was left from carrying those that didn't make it. Instantly, I was humbled, quieted and probably changed the subject pretty quickly after that because I really don't know how to react after someone does something like that. But, I was humbled.

Immediately after that conversation, I went to another spot where I hang out and drink tea with a bunch of people from Guinea-Bissau, Senegal and other parts of West Africa. That day it just so happened that those hanging out there got into an argument/debate over the use of the word "amigu" (friend) to call people from West Africa. (A lot Cape Verdeans use the word amigu and other terms to refer to anyone looking like they come from West Africa, to which many people from West Africa take offense) This argument/conversation took place between a Cape Verdean and a bunch of people from WA. Ultimately, it turned out to be a great conversation, although there were a few tense moments. I think we ended at a point of understanding that people should take the time out to learn each other's names and avoid the use of such terms. The path at which we ended at that solution was very interesting, talking about family heritages and trips to the continent. And then the conversation turned to what can be done to improve West Africa, including talks about free trade agreements and other things. But, it gave me hope and made me smile to hear people talking about that sort of thing openly.

Then there are times when my roommate and I talk to little kids. Asking them why they have a rock in their hand? or where there pants went? These often end up with funny answers or we can't understand the response. But either way, it's a good little mini-convo.

Those are just of the few good talks that I have. I could write about many more, they're all special and unique, but for the most part the result is the same. I learn something new, become humbled and smile.

Peace and Love.


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