Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Off to see my friends again.

15 DAYS!
12 DAYS!
10 DAYS!
8 DAYS! 
6 DAYS! 
Countdown to Africa.  My friend Eliseu will meet me there.  Looking forward to spending time together.

We were chatting on facebook last night, Eliseu and I, and he was looking at this page with so many pictures of him over the years.  I told him that all my friends had heard about him; he laughed.

Met him a few years back when he was a 14-year old tourist guide.  He was a little guy (lower left in the photo), about shoulder high.  He's a big ol' boy now; outweighs me by maybe 50 pounds.  We've got a little history behind us now.  We're working on building a restaurant on the mountain where he lives.

Marilyn got to meet him last year.  They really hit it off.  She'd probably adopt him if he wasn't already grown up.  Six sisters and five brothers make up the sibling set.  Nice bunch of folks.

Soon, pal.

UPDATE:  Fundraising for our scholarship program ... several donations in the last couple of days.  Thank you all so much.  A big anonymous gift posted on the crowdrise site this morning.  I'm so pleased (stunned).  Thank you, thank you, thank you.  We're getting close to our year's goal.  :)

STEP UP staff (photo right) manage scholarships and other projects in Sao Tome for us.  They're the NGO we've been working with for a few years; good folks.  Donations are passed through their accounting and oversight process directly to the families.
Sao Tome kids from the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) program pictured (left); the University of Illinois has been working on this for a few years, introducing kids to computer technology.

It's a big deal.  If we can get them up to computer literate and connected to educational sites like Khan Academy, suddenly, the world opens up to them. I'll be meeting with the local staff this month.

I'm so pleased to see African girls in secondary school.  They're so often left behind for financial reasons.  Sao Tome is doing better than most keeping their girls in school, but it's extraordinarily difficult for most families to afford it.

Then there's the reality of being a young woman in an African culture.