Monday, July 13, 2009

A fruitful Weekend

Good weekend in general....

Blow hole and foodgasms

Deep breath..... woke up early and headed south to San Jauao. The ride there was amazing..... Most of the roads are a couple of feet from the ocean so it was really scenic. It was nice to see the towns outside of the main city. I will admit that I was asleep for a majortiy of the trip but from what I remember seeing, it was pretty nice. Besides the amazing view of the ocean, the trees added to the mystique of the trip as well. At times, we were traveling and the trees acted as a canopy from the sunlight...Now that I think about was really cloudy to begin with so maybe it wasn't the trees.

Joao Carlos Silva lives in an old plantation on top of the hill that overlooks the ocean. Its right near the town of Anglores. (Historical point..... Anglores is said to have the oldest population on island. It is home to the decendants of Angolan Slaves that shiprecked a while back...supposedly before the portuguese found the island..) Jauo Silva is a world renound chef that was educated in Brazil and hosted a television show in Portugal. Sooo he lives in this plantation and he has a school where he teaches girls how to make crafts. There was a store full of hand made necklaces, belts, and other various artistic items. There were a bunch of paintings, carvings and other objects as well.

As much as this was a sight seeing trip, there was some work to be done. Mike and I helped fix computers that were not working properly. Unfortunately, we only got one to work. I was joking around with Mike saying that these computers need to be "Africa ready". People should Africa proof the computers before they send it here. I don't know what that would entail but maybe I'll right more about it in another blog...... Ashley and Danielle taught some English to the girls that made the items that we saw at the store so they could communitcate more customers. They weren't teaching them like full English, but English enough just to help them communicate prices and respond politely.

After We were done with helping out, Jauo made us a 9 or 10 course meal..(Mike counted 15...haha) Yea it was just an onslaught of food. I think they way I described it to someone was that Its tough to describe some of the tastes but it was like a well orchestrated symphony...different flavors were working together to achieve one unique taste...IT was amazing.... he used many fruits to create a majority of the dishes.. He used them in a way that I would never have thought of. I plan on expirementing a lot more with fruits in a lot of my meals...haha...

Yea.... I could go on describing the meals forever.... It was amazing. After the meal, we headed back to Sao Tome city. On the way back, we stopped at a blowhole by the ocean. It was really pretty. Hopefully we can go back there later.

We got back and took a nap and then went to one of James's friends house for a independence day/ birthday party. This place had good food, a good band playing and good drinks.... which equals a pretty good party. I had goat meat with potatos and vegitables with rice.

After that, we got back home and then went for a walk around the town. It was a couple of minutes before independence day so people were gathering around for the "fireworks"....haha..fireworks... 7/12/2009

Independence day

Well We were out for a little bit during the celebrations in the morning and it was great to see the people happy about the rememberance of independence. Sao Tome gained indpendence from Portugal in 1975. Sao Tome was in the last group of countries to get independence from their colonial masters. People were extremely excited for their independence day. They look like they were way more happier than I would have been for independence day in the United Staes. It made me think of watching fireworks in Chicago for the Fourth of July or watching the fireworks at my house and thinking of how trivialized independence day has become in the United States. I honestly don't think of it as a big deal and its because I'm disconnected from the birth of the United States. Most of the people in Sao Tome have parents or have some kind of connection to Sao Tome during Portuguese rule. They are truly happy to be an independent country because they were around when it wasn't.

Now its easy to see that people are happy about independence and excited to be part of the democratic expirement but are they truly better off? (Devils advocate) It depends on what you truly define as better off. Sure people were eating and living in decent conditions(over statement) back then. Now, there extremely wealthy people (that are Sao Tomean by the way) and really really poor people who live in bad conditions and do not eat as well as they should. Nothing has really changed at all besides the who is calling the shots. Is that the change that people worked hard to get?

When people think of democracy from all around the world and getting independence from other countries, words like freedom, liberty, and opportunity come up a lot in discussions. Freedom for who though? Liberty for who? Opportunities for who? People throw these words around but in all actuality, these words never really mean anything to the average citizens. What it means in a post colonial country is that the Elites will assume the colonizers roll and the other citizens will continue to live the way they have been and in some will even live in worst conditions.

I am not making a judgement call here... I'm just wieghing out the positives and negatives. To me, though( judgement coming) they are celebrating the transition from one group of opressors to another group except, the opressors now are now the same color as them.

Ok...what now right??? I think Barrack Obama got straight to the problem when he gave his speech in Ghana. Someone (citizens) has to hold the leaders of these post colonial countries responsible. That is the only way their can be improvement for all citizens. Improvement has to come from within.

Independence days are birthdays in a sense...... The one thing I love doing on my birthday is reflecting on how I was in previous years, looking at where I am now, and where I see myself in a couple of more years. Birthdays are a really nice time to do this (you should always be reflecting i guess but its nice to have a bench mark...what better time than your birthday!) I hope Sao Tomeans and other countries that are very young take a look at where they have come from, where they are now and where they want to be because it all looks and sounds like the past to me.

Yea.... Thats my independence day blog....


  1. "...Nothing has really changed at all besides the who is calling the shots. Is that the change that people worked hard to get?..."

    I like your free way of thinkin'. You definitely shed light on the premises hidden in our world rhetoric (democracy, freedom = everything is automatically better)

  2. As far as i know Joao Carlos Silva was never educated in Brazil. I know the guy for a long time since Coimbra where he was enrolled to study law but drop it and went back to Sao Tome to improve is craft skills.