Monday, June 29, 2009

Heinz 57 (catch-up) part 2

yea so i've been a little lazy.... So hear is stuff from the last week.

A lot of things happened between these two days. I don't even remember which one happened on which day. Micheal Jackson died. I guess that was pretty much the leading news topic everywhere. I called home and my mom was telling me that he was in the hospital and then Paul got a call from his friend George and he told us that Micheal Jackson passed.

It's easy forget the importance that Micheal Jackson played in a lot of things. He's the father of the modern music video . Every music video structure can be traced back to the complex or simple storylines that Micheal Jackson had in his music videos.

Besides music videos, he is the last of a generation of music artists that have used thier platform attempt to make a difference in the world. During the 90's, I could remember many of MJ's songs questioned the status quo and asked other interesting questions. One that comes up right away is the one forgot the name.... um..The one kid from home alone was in it. "It doesn't matter if your black or white"...)Good stuff....Now that I think about it...Bono is doing alot to help change the world as well..HE's using other outlets but I think Micheal Jackson tried to do it through music.

Besides Micheal Jordan, McDonalds, and maybe Barrack Obama now.... I think Micheal Jackson is one of the most well known American exports... People may not know english...but they know thriller or Liberian Girl. Like mother earth...everyone has thier his peak season, he really did make a difference in the world.

(Just want to let you all know that I am aware of the slant I may have for Micheal Jackson. I think the one thing I can argue though is that as many bad things as people have to say about him, there are more good things. He will live on through his music forsure.

Oh yea, we met with the minister of Education and i messed up the presentation I had ready for him. ( I would be the one to do that) and later on, we toured the school he suggested that we deploy the laptops at. The next day, we went to go talk to the head master and discussed with him what we are planning. We have decided that we are going to pick two 5th grade classes for a total of 90 students.

Yea so more probably happened but the last two days have been a blur to me.

Busy day. Mike and I went to Step- Up to fix computers. (He did most of the fixing...hahaha) We successfully fixed two computers. After that we went home and set up for the xo demonstration we were going to give for the students in Elvis's tech class. We  set 7 xo's up and let them get acquainted with the laptop. Then we taught them scratch, a programming application on the xo that lets you create a lot of different things. We walked them through a couple of samples and then we let them create thier own project. They were really quick in picking scratch up so it was easier than we thought it was going to be. After we taught them, Danny came to pick me and Mike up to go get our hair cut. It was interesting to see the barber shop that Danny took us too. It was very professional. People that worked thier had uniform and had pretty much the same set of things that my barber in the states would have. It felt good to cut my hair and its probably one of the top haircuts I have recieved. We got back and then we went to go see a bunch of kids dance at a local hangout spot. One of our students came up to us and introduced us to a bunch of her friends. Mike got all thier numbers!!!...hahaha... We got to meet a bunch of other people. This one guys spoke english, french and portuguese. This other guy learned english by watching movies. Makes me wonder if I can improve my french and portuguese by watching movies too. We didn't get a chance to watch the dancing becasue we had to go to dinner. We went to Jasmines, a restaurant accross from the prime ministers office. I could not tell we were in Sao Tome once we stepped into the restaurant. This restaurant could be in Europe for all I know. It was really nice. They served pizza, fries and burgers. I ordered a burger and a pizza and shared it with Mike.

After dinner, we went back home for a couple of hours and then we' went to Africana, a  nightclub. It was closed so we went to the Beach Club, one of the better clubs in Sao Tome. Beach Club was a club that was a part of the Pistana resort. This resort is so official it has its own airplane and aiport. It also had a Casino...which I didn't really care too much for. The Beach Club was nice though. I got a chance to talk to Ricardo, the manager of the club. He was really helpful because much of the staff didn't speak English. He spoke perfect English. I would assume that he is from Portugal and using this as an opportunity to build his resume. Real cool'd like him... So this place was pretty nice. It makes a lot of Chicago bars look like charity cases. The inside was really I dont know how to describe it but the outdoor section looked out to the ocean... We hung out there for a while and met a couple of guys from our plane that were here for the summer as well. We also met one of Ashleys friends. He has a cousin that was from California that was visiting as well. It was really interesting to talk to him. He lived in Brazil for a little bit, then moved to Sao Tome and then moved to California. He had an unique perspective on what was going on in the island.

Besides that amazing view and the cool people we met, Beach club was a bust. Friday nights are not the nights to go there I guess. Ohh and it was 150,000 dbs to get in (about 10 usd). Not bad but unreasonably expensive for any regular Sao Tomean to go to.

Today was a nice relaxing day. We all woke up and went to the beach accross from Omali lodge, one of the nicer hotels on island, and went swimming. Everyone besides me went swimming...haha....Its something about the vastness of the ocean that totally freaks me out. So i just sat around and listened to This American Life on my Ipod. There were some pretty interesting stories on that, but I feel bad that I didn't go swimming.

After that, we went home and cleaned up for the fifth annerversary party for STEP-UP. A lot of the people that we have been working with were there. (The Headmaster of the school we deploying the laptops at, the minister of education, Ned..the director of STEP- UP, Roberta...etc) We also met a couple that is from Seattle. They are part of a mobility project that they are trying to incorporate on island. They had a bunch of wheel chairs shipped to the island to distribute and they also want to teach some sports that could go along with the wheelchairs. They were thinking of incorportating wheelchair basketball, shotput, and javelin. These sports are already played by a majority of the disabled population on island.
We had lunch at step up and then went home to relax. Mike, Corey and I walked to the library to see if we could get internet connection but there was none. So we sat around talking and then Danny, one of our friends that we met through James and Ned, took us to a soccer match.

So we drove up the street to a soccer match going on in the main stadium. It was about 20,000 dbs to get in. (about 1.40 USD) It was pretty cool. The stadium was a turf field enclosed by a couple of cememt bleachers and a lot of walls. It was actually pretty nice. It lets me know that soccer is very important to the Sao Tome government, at least important enough to pay for a turf field. As we watch the game, we picked up Portuguese curse words...haha.... One thing never changes.... People, no matter where you are still get excited about sports. One thing I noticed though was that I could count the amount of girls in the stadium on one hand. A majortiy of the spectators were men. It was also interesting watching the match itself. Mike and I were breaking down the teams and we realized why a lot of African teams arent successful on the world stage. These teams were running all over the place. They had an unlimited amount of energy. It was like the last minutes of the game could have been the beginning for all I knew. The problem is that they try to out condition other teams. You may be smarter, more technically sound than them, but you will not be more conditioned than an African team. The problem is you need strategy and other aspects of your game to fall into place before your conditioning can come in to play...hahaha....... daddy if you reading this don't get mad at me because its true.

After the match, we returned home and played hearts  and I lost as usual. We were supposed to go to another club tonight but I fell asleep and everyone else was tired to we didn't go any where.

WOW!!!! Sunday fun day!!! We woke up around 9ish and we headed to Neves, a city in the north. This was one of the more exciting drives I've had in a while. We through Sao Tome city and headed north. The road was really nice...besides the pot holes in random spots on the road. We drove through a couple of little towns and stopped at an old plantation. It was a plantation at one point, then it was converted to a hospital. Now it is abandoned and people live throughout the guest quarters. We drove passed that and then we headed toward Neves. The road to Neves was amazing.  It was a coastal road that swereved all around the coast up to Neves. we were traveling with a couple (Jack and Lisa) from Seatle. They were part of the mobility project. The mobility project takes new and used wheelchairs and distributes them to developing countries. They have been all over the world. From wartorn Afgahnistan to the tropical regions of south America. They had seen it all.
We also stopped at the Blue Lagoon, a little lagoon area on the way to Neves. I walked towards the water and the water was clear as day. If we had more time, I definately would have gone swimming.  We climbed up to the hill and took pictures of the amazing view. We headed back to the truck....Oh by the way... I was driving in the back of the truck the whole time listening to my Ipod...haha.... I was sitting in the bed of the truck and enjoying the view and the natural air.  It was another 20 minutes to Neves from the Blue Lagoon.
So we drove into  Neves and we stopped at this crab restaurant. Once again....I've come to the conclusion that anything is good if you cook it the right way. So we all ate crab. Good stuff. Then we drove back to Sao Tome and headed to Jame's aunts house to eat some more. She cooked fish, backed bananna, rice and bitter leaf sause.... I laughed because I was eating this and I realized that it is actually the same thing my mom makes. It had fish and a bunch of leaves in it. It was great!! After eating , Mike and I went up to this area where they were playing music right next to James aunts house. Mike thought that he would share music with them. Him changing music with them turned into a huge dance party! Mike or should I say...Dj Mikeski...hahaha...Was playing some Chris Brown music on these large speakers and kids (from the age of 6-18) came out of the wood work. They actually had a dance group that had a sequence prepared and ready to go... We watched them dance and thier dancing is a lot more acrobatic than most dances. Maybe it has something to do with the influence of kapuara (brazilan form of martial arts....started by slaves in South America so that thier masters wouldn't know they were teaching martial arts... disquised as dancing) It was interesting to see.
That was pretty much my Sunday. Probably one of the more fun Sundays I've had.


  1. Sounds amazing so far! I am so glad that you are blogging this trip, I'm really enjoying reading about your experiences!
    xoxo Dee

  2. "...everyone has thier seasons..."

    What a great quote/observation

  3. In the selection of the laptop recipients, I am glad you guys are not falling into the same political pressure UIUC admissions has :)