Saturday, December 15, 2012

African harvest!

Dad and daughters at the family farm;
this is what successful business looks like!

Sao Tome & Principe, West Africa


Our friends show off the okra on their farm. Apparently, this stuff is prolific in the right climate. Dad and daughters say they walk through the okra section about once a week to pull down a fair number of pods; more than enough to eat and to sell. It's healthy stuff, of course.

This year's upgrade to the farm; they've run a water line to the northern edge. It lets them water the plants that are sensitive to the need. The climate is fairly polite about raining when you need it, but having a water line means you can maximize the return from your work.
Okra, beans, corn (maize), manioc, and a lot of things I don't recognize. Palm oil too. My friends are hard workers, and it was entertaining for us all to walk the farm; they're justifiably proud of their success. 
Mom and baby boy (left); he's grown a bit, we notice; about 6 feet tall now.  

They live maybe two miles from the ocean. Beautiful and still undiscovered by most of the world.

I don't take most of the photos you see, by the way. The kids do, usually, and sometimes their folks get in on the fun.
Mom and girls on an unoccupied beach; if it was anywhere near my house, I'd be here instead of home most days.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Little hands

A child's hand prints; she politely asked for help.

A precious young lady, perhaps ten years old, came to my window as I waited at a gas station. Under-nourished like so many, she simply and politely asked for money, as children here often do. I gave her what I had and wept as she disappeared into the slums. Her dusty little hands left their mark on the window sill. That's the picture I could bring myself to take, but I can still see her face, and I can still hear her voice. It's been two years, and I guess I've chosen not to forget.

Among the places one might go, there are
some where they perhaps shouldn't.
In Africa, there are many pictures that I can't take.  The  weak and fragile are not a photo opportunity for me. I find it difficult just to meet them. The first time was a shattering experience; and afterwards, you can't just walk away.

Elsewhere, gracious folks are glad to be part of your photos. Here, cautious but friendly kids; a couple of them have the courage to wave at their visitor. This is Balbala, the largest slum in their country, and a somewhat dangerous place, we discovered. Should have paid closer attention to the area security info online, I guess.

With friends watching TV

Elsewhere in Africa with friends one evening, sitting on the floor and watching television; there's just the one TV channel in this country.  One of the kids took this picture of us. Among the world's nicest folks, they are gracious and willing to make a place for a clumsy foreigner in their midst.

Below with my adoptive family, little children enjoy an incredibly perfect afternoon at the beach; they as yet have no idea about the years ahead or the difficulties they will face. For today, sunshine and ocean, family and time to play.

In Sao Tome & Principe, a beautiful island country in Africa, 
kids bounce in the surf.