Sunday, September 12, 2010

Home again, home again....

A loose schedule gave us time to visit friends. Two of my teen-aged friends and I were invited to lunch with Sebastiana's family. A larger number of the men were there this time, so the conversation was largely wine and guy talk. The several men sat at the table while the ladies stood and ate elsewhere in the room. The children were supposed to eat on the floor in the kitchen, but a few brought their plates into the main room and sat where they could watch the men and their guests. Several glasses of wine into the meal, I discover that African men just don't cook! Ever... except for this one fellow from Cabo Verde, but he spoke French, so... They didn't know how to respond when they discovered that I can cook and do so regularly. It was an uncomfortable moment in the conversation.

I spent time with each of our families, chatting about the kids and work.

With the help of a friend in the states, the family here has built this kiosk on the road in front of their house; they sell some things they raise in their garden along with a few items they buy in the city. It generates a little income for the family. Dad lost his job when an accident cost him his arm, so the kiosk provides their only income at the moment.

Portrait photos like this are often serious looking; it's a cultural thing. They smiled and laughed with us during our visits, however.

They knew we were coming, so they cooked a couple of fish on the family stove for us to eat as thanks. For our visit, dad walked down to the shore about a mile away to buy the fish from the local fishermen. Called concon locally, the fish are unfamiliar but quite good, cooked with lime, salt, and pepper.

All four of their children finished the school year successfully! It's a big deal for the oldest son; he passed the achievement tests at the end of the 6th grade. About 80% of kids fail that test. Passing means he gets to keep going to school next year. He'll begin studying English, so we brought some book in Portuguese and English for him.

Mediocre self-photo of coconut chalice, caught Dad here disposing of fish bones of which there were plenty. He embraced me as we made our departure and sends his thanks to his American friends.