Wednesday, November 11, 2009


I finally completed my first grant for funding. Some of you can expect packages in the mail of a copy of my grant if it is accepted and approved.

The backstory of the grant is that another volunteer that had taught English at the high school in Coculi, S.Antao, had ordered class sets of 12 award winning young adult books. She had chosen one to read with her eighth grade class and had created a study guide to accompany the book. The project was a success and her students were really enthusiastic about reading the book and completing the various assignments. In Cape Verde books are extremely expensive and many students hadn't had access to books before this project(most students don't even have textbooks - many rely on photocopying everything). She was really happy with the project and had been looking forward to creating study guides for the rest of the books when she extended and stayed for an additional year. Unfortunately, a minor medical problem resulted in her not being medically cleared to continue service.

That's where I come in. We were talking about her project and I asked if I could borrow a copy of each book. This semester I am teaching a teaching methodologies class and figured it would be a great project for my students to take on. My class was divided into groups and each group received a book. The students will create study guides for the book over the course of the semester.

In addition to the study guides, I'm hoping to get funding to order a copy of each book for all of the secondary schools located in CV. The books can eventually be incorporated into the national curriculum to promote literacy and EFL skills.

I'm really excited about the prospect of the project, especially in that I think it's something that will be sustainable and offer future volunteers an opportunity to expand the project even further.

I was especially touched when I heard how careful her students were with the books when the were reading Bridge to Terabitha, and seeing my students take the same care. I've also heard from co-workers that they are often working on the project between classes.

November 9th - THE KIDS ARE ALRIGHT...

Some pictures of a few of my favorite neighbors. I taught them the hand slap game and now they come running when they see me. Really sweet kids. The decided to follow me home the other day. I tried to teach them 'cheese' (since most Cape Verdeans are super serious in photos for reasons I can't fathom) and how to take a self-portrait.

November 6th - DACIA DAVIS AND CO.

My future travel buddy and her brother and sister in law. Good company. I was tempted to go over to Santo Antao with them... Coulda shoulda woulda. I decided to stay to get ahead of my classes. Always easier to imagine than do. Regardless, got some fun times in with them. Let the penguin flap live on...

November 6th - DENG-HUH?

This weekend may have been the most laid back and relaxing weekend I've had since coming to Cape Verde. There has been a Dengue fever outbreak in some of the southern islands, particularly the main island of Santiago. Apparently over 3000 cases have been reported in the past couple of weeks. For a country of less than half a million, that's a pretty significant number. I've since read up on Dengue fever thanks to handy printouts throughout the time. I now know that there are four types of the fever, all with varying levels of seriousness. Did you know that it's the second most common infectious disease behind malaria? Neither did I.

The CV government declared a national day of service to cleanup the country and combat mosquitos. Instead of teaching my three Friday classes, I got up early and headed out to the engineering campus to help with the clean up (limpeza). Clean up consisted of picking up all the trash in and around campus, etc. We climbed on rooftops to clear off debris, leaves, etc. and overturned anything that could potentially collect water and therefore harbor mosquitos. It was an OCD's dream. I thoroughly enjoyed myself. When else would you get to climb over fences and tramp through fields without looking like a nut. Nothing like getting down and dirty to feel like you are accomplishing something.

Some of the other professors that came clearly meant business. They were dressed in jumpsuits and had gallon jugs with hoses attached to their backs. Sort of a ghostbuster flashback. Apparently gasoline keeps away the bugs. Although I love the smell of gas stations, I can't help but to think widespread use of it as a deterrent is all that safe.

Another downside to the cleanup was the burning of massive amounts of trash. I'm not sure what's better - for the trash to be dumped in the ocean or burned and released into the air. Both options seem pretty non-inticing. I guess trash always has to go somewhere, but there have to be better options.

Regardless of the somewhat painful reminders of what we do to the earth on a daily basis, it was awesome to see everyone pitching in around town. I wonder if people in the US would take advantage of a national day of service to help out and volunteer. I like to think yes, but you never know.

Although I didn't have my camera with me out at the DECM campus, I did take a pic of some of my neighbors cleaning up our cozy little area...