Wednesday, 30 March 2011

Calheta de São Miguel, Cape Verde - the seventh day (cont.)

Calheta de São Miguel, Cape Verde

Friday, 11th of March 2011
The "Arts and Crafts" group 1

I have today filmed the children's reactions to the reading of "An angel just like me" based on the fact that I had been "approached" by its author so as to let her know how it had gone and it would obviously be much easier to look at their expressions in the film and even record some of their opinions later on than simply try to remember them.

Whilst I was reading it and asking them to tell me what they thought about it as the story unfolded ... they were not even looking at the camera ... the story was interesting enough for them not to be "intimidated" by its presence ...  though what surprised me (having  filmed the story reading in three different classes) was the fact that with just very few exceptions they all stated angels were white and didn't consider the vague possibility of them being a different colour. It was quite interesting to see their expressions at the end of the story ... but even more interesting to see their reactions as they saw themselves in the film.

Reactions to the film of the story reading of "An angel like me".

As I had a two hour interval till the English class, Marie Hélène and I decided to walk into the village on our way up to Cutelo Miranda where the parents and siblings of my "protégée" were awaiting us.

Watching the size and "glamour" of the Church  compared to its surrounding "buildings" always shocks me ... not so much because I don't believe the village should have somewhere like this in which to praise the Lord ... but because there is too much of a "contrasting" atmosphere ... and this does sadden me to a certain extent ...

The village Church in the background

As we walked up, we came across two boys "driving" their self made vehicles ... and I (once more) reinforced the idea that these children are really creative ...

To be creative having been given the means is one thing ... but having this "level" of creativity without anything is definitively a very different thing ... 

 "Driving" down from Cutelo Miranda

Approaching Nate's I still had time to talk to the family of a girl who has been to one of my classes today and who had apparently not shown before because of not having been told about it ...  but I was happy to see that she seemed happy to have come just this once ...

The girl's family with her standing in the middle (Left). A little girl looking at us as we walked by (Right).

It is always a pleasure talking to Nate (the mother of my "protégée") and realise that she thoroughly worries about her children's future and does all she can, together with her husband, to provide the best for their seven children, one of whom is attending university.

Elias, whose "godmother" is a colleague of mine, came over running to show me how well he was doing at school ... and proudly held a notebook to show me his handwriting, (which I felt I had to photograph so as to later show Gabriela, his "godmother").

Elias holding his note book for me to see his handwriting (Left). Detail of his handwriting exercise (Right).

Prior to walking back to the village I climbed up to the open part of the roof where they dry the corn and gather other cereals (amongst other things)  to see about Leidina, whose "godmother" is also a colleague of mine (Carla Oliveira) and there she was quietly playing and behaving as if she were older ... (she is only three).


(To be continued)

Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Calheta de São Miguel, Cape Verde -The seventh day (the 11th of March 2011)

Calheta de São Miguel, Cape Verde

Friday, the 11th of March 2011
The "Arts and Crafts" group 1
02H00/04H00 PM

Apart from finishing the very few "pieces of Art" which needed to be finished and having a few  of the "Children of the World" sticker cards done, the girls  entertained themselves doing puzzles, which they still had not had the time to do.

Josseane and Lavinia completing their acrilic paintings (Left). Nolita selecting the adequate puzzle piece (Right).

Diva doing the puzzle on her own (Left) and Eunice (Right) with Marie Hélène's supervision.


Ivanilde Elena (Left) and her older sister Joceline (Right) showing their completed story book puzzles.

A little girl colouring the "Jamela" picture (Left) and Lavinia showing her finished felt tip brush painting (Right).
Eunice de Jesus (Left) and Josseane (Right) with their completed "Children of the World" sticker cards.
Eunice (Left) and Nolita (Right) with their completed "Children of the World" sticker cards.

Lavinia (Left) and Joceline (Right) with their completed "Children of the World" sticker cards.

A smile is worth (I don't know how) many words ... and there is no doubt that it is these children's contagious "happiness" that keeps me going ...

May they be blessed for showing me the importance of the genuine moments of life ... making them feel happy by simply "giving them"  a little bit of myself ...  

(To be continued)

Calheta de São Miguel, Cape Verde - The seventh day (the 11th of March 2011)

Calheta de São Miguel, Cape Verde

Friday, the 11th of March 2011
The "Arts and Crafts" group 2
08H00/10H00 AM

Being the final day before the exhibition party they all seemed to be fairly nervous because it was  obvious that the "pieces of Art" the children would not be able to complete by Friday wouldn't be exhibited the day after, though I felt that maybe with one or two exceptions they would all have enough time to finish them.

Cinthia (Left) and Leinira (Right) with their finished coloured sand and sticker paintings.

Filomena (Left) and Marline (Right) with their finished felt tip pen and tempera paintings respectively.

Veronica (Left) and Nélida (Right) with the finished squirrel and boar origami figures respectively.

Leinira with her finished tempera painting

They still had time to complete the sticker colouring or reading books their "godmothers" sent for them and these were (as expected) fairy like moments for them. They take great pleasure in doing things our "western" children would  (eventually) find "boring"... and  one could easily see the happiness in their looks as they held their "precious" books (I am sure the only ones they have apart from the school ones).

Some of these books cost around 0,95 cents up to a maximum of 3,00 Euros ... I couldn't therefore help thinking about the "price" of happiness ...

Simone (Left) and Artemisa (Right) with their sticker and colouring books.

Carla (Left) and Neuza (Right) with their sticker reading and sticker colouring books respectively.

I will only see these girls Saturday and  ... might not see them for a long time after that, but I am sure that this will be  (it has certainly been) an important moment in their lives ...

The development of the Portuguese Language group

The children who attend this class were so busy  "challenging" the capability to test the acquired knowledge by means of individual "trips" to the whiteboard  to write down  the accurate words corresponding to descriptions and cues that I would provide them with ... that I  myself got so carried away and ended up not taking any photos ...

Some things cannot be accounted for in "measurable" terms ... that is, the progress some of these children have made will eventually only be felt in some months' time or even years ...
I must confess I am really proud of them and what they have managed to "achieve" in such a short period of time ... I feel almost speechless ...

They will be coming to the party Saturday, as they will be handed the books they have worked on all week long ... and I do sincerely hope the "seeds" of the Portuguese language development will continue to be further tended ... and that one day they might see the "fruitful" outcome of this experience.

(To be continued)

Thursday, 24 March 2011

Calheta de São Miguel, Cape Verde - the sixth day (cont.)

Calheta de São Miguel, Cape Verde

Thursday, the 10th of March 2011
The Theatre group

Not all of the "actors" have been able to come today because of the school timetable, but I have taken advantage of this half an hour to further work on small details, such as the walking of  the animal "actors", potential facial expressions (though they'll be wearing "loup masks") and anything necessary to enhance the acting itself.

Eduardo (Left) and Kevin (Right).

Valter (Left) and Gerson (Right).

The "Arts and Crafts" group 1

The girls who had finished  two or even three "pieces of Art"  already have today made puzzles, origami faces and animals, as well as put stickers on the books their "godmothers"sent for them.

Joceline (Left) and her sister Ivanilde Elena (Right) making puzzles
Diva (Left) and Rivia (Right) completing the sticker books the "godmothers" sent for them;
Marie Hélène and Sibylle helping out Joceline (Left) and Ivanilde Elena (Right) witht the completion of the books.
Sibylle  and I helping Eunice (Right) and Rivia (Left) with their origami figures respectively.

Rivia (Left) and Eunice (Right) with their finished origami figures.

Josseane with her finished sticker painting

The fact that I take quite a few photos throughout the workshops plays and important role in the lives of these children, all of whom I have given  photo albums to and where they get to put their printed photos in.  Irrespective of them feeling proud of what they have achieved (their expressions speak for themselves), I would like them to use those photos as a future incentive.

I had a break before the English class as the singing "choir" did not come today (the final rehearsal being Saturday morning) so Marie Hélène and I went down to the port to buy some coconut "diamond shaped" cookies, which had  (unfortunately) not yet been cut ...

View of the village fishing port (Left). Dona Lala cutting the coconut cake.

English class
06H00/07H30 PM

The girls' performance in today's class was an absolute "disaster". This may have had to do with yesterday's late Carnival celebration (though I personally don't consider it to have been the main reason) or  a circumstance I felt might influence the girls'  attitude, as I had  (so rightly) anticipated ... but either way ...  and in all fairness to them, I won't "judge" their learning capability based on today's  performance ... They have been doing fairly well so far and will hopefully continue to do so, even if tomorrow is their last day with me.

Regarding the diary page they were supposed to have handed in today and haven't (with one exception)   the ones which will be submitted till middday tomorrow will still be accounted for as potential "prize" winners.