Wednesday, July 8, 2009
If blogging was my job....
If blogging was my job....I'd be fired....hopefully I can stay up to date now.
Independence day and the Three Wise men
Today was the big day! It was time to celebrate the 233rd year of independence of the United States. I woke up early today and helped clean the house and eventually helped everyone set up for the festivities. I honestly was very uneasy about throwing a party in a foreign land but I've come to assume four universal truths that will make sure any party is good
Back on topic.... We prepped for the party. We also found out that the Prime Minister was stuck in Lisbon. We were all a little bummed but we still had a ton of guests coming.
Fast foward a couple of hours.. So we are at the party and James introduces me to the guy that wrote the book that he had given me to read, Exersising the Demons From the Throne. Being a political science major, I really was interested in seeing what a young educated Sao Tome Native has to say about his government. He wrote an excellent inquiry into the problems that Sao Tome has and comes up with solutions to help the country get on the right track. His ideas are very specific to Sao Tome but are problematic to many of the developing countries. It was a great opportunity to get to talk to him. I learned a lot from our discussion.
After our long discussion, I got an opportunity to mingle around and meet more of our guests. I met James's boss and two bankers.(Three Wise men) They were all Nigerians and were very friendly to me. We talked about EVERYTHING. I mean we talked about about the governor of Lagos state to raising kids and marriage. It was really fun to sit and talk to them.
As the party was winding down, the discussion with the three wise men was going full steam. They were the last ones to leave the party (in true Nigerian fashion)
Hmmm...Oh yes...so after our party, we all rested for a little bit and went to the beach club for the night. This place was pretty nice and upscale. It was right on the ocean and was pretty modern. This place was nice! I preveiously knew the manager of the club from another time we were there so it was nice to see Riccardo again. We got thier pretty early (11:45PM is early) and we sat around and waiting for everyone to start dancing. We met up with Ashleys friend, Biba. Biba introduced me to a couple of people that worked with the president. I felt all V.I.P and whatnot...lol.....
It started to get lively around 1 AM. The dance floor was packed with people dancing. It was interesting to see how the dance varies from culture to culture. In continental Africa, dancing is very impersonal...two people will dance and their is definately a space between them and they will look everywhere but at each other. (traditionally speaking) The Sao Tome dancing style was very personal and very sensual... It was like two becoming one in one fluid motions. It was like a zombiesque slow dance. Now for all I know, this could be a borrowed dance style from the portuguese. I'm not sure, this is just what I saw.
A fun filled night at the club would not be complete without dancing. You can observe all you want, but you'll never have a good time until you get out there and dance yourself. So we formed a little security circrle and started dancing... Ohh we ran into two of the Nigerians that were at our party. They were having a really good time... Yea so we were all dancing together and it was a lot of fun. We were at a club in a foreign country but I felt like I knew everyone. I ran into a couple of Ashleys friends. We ran into a lot of other people that we had met throughout our time in Sao Tome, we also ran into some neighbors that live 3 buildings down. It's a small island so people tend to see each other I guess.
The night ended around 3...
Happy Birthday Emeka!! You are probably not reading this but enjoy your birthday!
Mike, Ashley and I woke up early to go Swimming with a couple of the Tiawanese doctors that we met. We met them while we were eating lunch and we have hit it off. THey decided to take us to this one beach that was pretty close to the Blue Lagoon. It was sooo nice. It was almost like having a private beach secluded by the physical barriers of rocks. It was pretty cool. Dr. Wang went snorkling, Mike, Ashley, and the general practice doctor went swimming while I was taking pictures. I took some pretty good pitures.
After the swim, we got back home and then we went to Ned's house to hangout. It was nice to just sit on the dock and look out to the ocean.
Nothing else happened Sunday... after Ned's, we got back and i fell asleep for the night. No... we played hearts and then I fell asleep.
Training session for the teachers..... We showed them a couple of programs that were included on the X0. We are hoping that by showing them a couple of the useful programs, they will be able to adapt their lesson plans to instruction that utilizes the usefulness of the laptops. Oh...Judy got here this morning. Judy is the informatics advisor at UofI. She told us when we were having meetings back at home that she wasn't that good at portuguese. She got here and shes not that bad at all. What is interesting to note is that Judy gets a better response from the people here no matter what because she attempts to speak the same language. Thats all people whos speak the native language anywhere want to see at the end of the day...People that care enough to learn thier language before coming to thier country.
Nothing else really happened today so I'd like to take this opportunity to talk more about one of the things I've noticed in Sao Tome....The dogs. When I say dogs....some of you may think about little poodles walking around with their hairbows but in order to visualize these dogs, you have to think the total opposite. A majority of the dogs on island look like they have the same mom and dad. Sao Tome does not have a nutering program so it is probable. The dogs are everywhere. In the market, on the streets, in the parks, everywhere! Here I think dogs are the equvilent of pigeons in a city.
Sometimes I feel that the dogs here have a split personality. They are shy around humans but when sometimes they just start barking out of control. Micheal Vick got in trouble for dog fighting but every night I swear a couple of dogs go 12 rounds in front of a dog crowd. The barking and howling prevents me from going to sleep some nights.
The dogs are not even in the best health. Some of them are limping around because they got hit by a car or have unusual growth on their fur.
I feel like there should be some sort of program to put some of these dogs out of their missery. If anyone has any good ideas... I'm all ears.
Teacher training went a little rough today. The teachers were having a difficult time understanding our questions. We wanted to better understand how they taught last year so that we could find more ways to implement the XO. THey kept on telling us how they would teach without the XO. We tried asking the same question 3or 4 different ways. We still did not get a solid answer. I came to the conclusion that there was no real answer to give. The teachers may not know what types of strategies they are going to use with the kids until they gauge how responsive the kids are to the information that they are giving them. All we wanted to know is the strategies they used..It didn't work out too well. Ohh... Mike was building a server box with one of the local wood workers. (It turned out great by the way) It was a true work of art.
Later on in the day, me and Judy went to the U.N building. We were looking to speak with a representatvie about doing volunteer work while we were on island. We set up a meeting with the director of UNICEF for a later date.
Umm...what else happened.....Mike, Corey and I went to go get our hair cut. After that we went to go pick up the server box. I think mike has a picture of the box on his blog...xomike.blogspot.com. Yea, it was pretty cool. Then we went to the fish market to meet up with Judy and Danielle. They had made a new friend. Her name was Alda. She was really nice. Judy and Danielle were quite the rage at the fish market. I heard some guy made a song about them. Fun stuff.
Thats pretty much all that happened today.... I'm sure I'm constantly leaving stuff out because soo much happens in one day its difficult to remember.