Delightful youngsters at their elementary school insist on being photographed over and over. Printed copies of the photos delivered the following year elicited squeals and dancing. Like children everywhere, a little fun takes precedence over serious conversation.
The scar on this young lady's cheek tells a bit about her life. Their environment includes open fires in the outdoor kitchen, uneven pathways, simple home construction, roadways without separate sidewalks, and a lack of construction safety standards for pretty much anything.
Like most African countries, theirs is working hard to improve life for citizens. It's an uphill road, though. A former colony, their independence was hindered by Soviet influence until democratic reform emerged in the 90's. Unemployment hovers around 50% despite a strong work ethic and healthy Catholic culture. A lack of skilled labor is part of the problem, and education is a big part of the focus for development efforts.
(Poppa, in back, chuckled and commented that he was glad he'd worn his nice shirt for the photo. These shots were taken in Sao Tome & Principe, one of the nicer places in Africa where we work.)