Tuesday, 25 October 2011

The children of Calheta's birthday presents ...

Four more children of Calheta (Ana, Veronica, Nelida and Lou) have recently received the birthday presents sent by their "godmothers" and once more have reacted in a rather shy way, which is more than expected taking into account that some of them got presents for the first time (ever). 

Two of the "godmothers" seemed particularly concerned as the children didn't smile or show any visible happiness, but I was told (though I needn't have, being aware of the local reality) that they were emotional and that is obviously accountable for the way they reacted as they were given the presents and shown the photos of those who had sent them.  

Ana wearing her new dress (left) and holding her presents and the photo of Natividade (right)

Veronica with her new dress and matching earrings

Veronica wearing her new dress (left) and  enthusiastically reading her new book with the pieces of jewellery she is to do and her "godmother" Dora's photo beside.

Nélida wearing her new outfit and holding the presents her "godmother" Catarina sent for her.

Lou wearing the new top, bracelet and earings sent to her by her "godmother" Celeste, whose photo she is holding and looking at.

Lou wearing the new outfit Celeste bought for her (left) and the dress I bought for her (right).

None of these children had seen the faces of their "godmothers"  before and that is enough an emotional moment for them ... (to put faces to what is being done for them). They had recently found out their school fees and material had been paid for, which is (already) difficult for them to "understand" ...

I was recently prompted by one of the children - "you don't know us, why do you care? ..."

... Why shouldn't we care? ...

I just wish they could understand how "special" they are and how special and proud I feel for being their friend ...and having found "marvellous" people who care for them ...

Monday, 24 October 2011

The "missing" Postcrossing cards ...

I should  have already got used to some postcrossing cards "getting lost" ... and consequently not reaching the destination they were supposed to ... but the truth is that every time this happens I get sad, particularly when postcrossers don't acknowledge the  messages I send them proposing "substitute" cards. 

Three more cards (travelling to China, Belarus and Japan) are at risk of not making it to the postcrossing wall, like a few others before them, which is a bit of a pity (really) ...




... Three different types of Art ...  from the old Vermeer to the street representation of "Art" ...
... Three postcards I am sure many postcrossers would like to get  ...

Note: The postcard PT-199878 has since then been registered though  I have had to send a second one, as the first one never reached its destination. 

Sunday, 16 October 2011

The books I have recently read ...

I would say that for some sort of potentially "explainable" reason, I have always loved to read dramas or "real life"  based accounts since my early childhood ...

Having read that "A pequena abelha" (The little bee) by Chris Cleave had been fuelled by the tragic story of an Angolan man who had fled to England  and claimed asylum, I bought the book. Once I started reading it I couldn't put it down. Not only is the story compelling but also magestically well written. It is the best book I have read in a long time and ... I don't seem to be the only person to say that.  I'll have to buy it in the original English version, not because I dont trust the capacity of the translater but simply because I want to "feel" the author in his own words."

The second book - "A coragem de Camila" (Alcaldesa) by a well known author to me (Sandra Sabanero) was equally interesting. There is something about the way this  particular author and some other South American authors write that inevitably captures my attention ... the "vivid" descriptions and the intricate stories.

Two completely different approaches to the role played by power, honour and other values, that even the less enthusiastic readers ought to read.

Saturday, 15 October 2011

Latest news regarding Calheta ...

I shall soon be flying to Cape Verde where I expect to hand out all the Christmas presents to 56 girls and 14 boys on the 29th of October, as well as carry out a two day workshop for 12 girls who have never attended any (Eveline, Jussara, Eveline Natalina, Carla Veronica, Ineida, Ineida Patricia, Liliane Rosy, Sonia, Ana Galina, Lucia, Ivete and Célia) and some of the ones who have shown to be artistic inclined (Leinira, Marline, Lou, Josseane, Lavinia, Tarine, Elcy, Veronica and Diva).

Having realised that some "godparents" have not fully corresponded to what they were expected to, has led me to take some decisions regarding the welfare of the children they were "taking care of" and  with due respect for their initial involvement and enthusiasm found "new godparents" for these "affected" children, hoping situations like these may not happen again in the future.

A few more ladies have joined the group of "godmothers", Margarida, Sonia,  Bell and Vanessa being amongst these, whilst a few more are still waiting for me to be able to assess the situation locally in regards to potential children in need, so that they may then get effectively involved.

Bell, who will be "looking after" Eveline Natalina

One of the "godmothers" in France (Noëlle) has sent me a postal parcel with the things for her "protegée" (Erica), as well as quite a few colouring pencils, felt tip pens, pens and pencils  for the children of Calheta, which I will unfortunately only be carrying with me next February, once I don't have any space left in my baggage. 

Three of my former Air Trafic Controller students (Filipa, Nuno  and Miguel), together with Miguel's girlfriend decided to write letters for some of the children, knowing how important it is for them to feel and SEE that people somewhere think and worry about them.

I have put them together with all the letters from the "godparents" I have collected so far and for all this might sound less important than the other contributions it is the reassurance they need to further continue progressing as suggested, as well a  meaningful push for their self-esteem. 

(Filipa and Nuno)

(Miguel and his girlfriend Marta) 


(Many of the letters collected)

I can't deny I am looking forward to this trip which will ultimately bring a lot of joy and happiness to these children (I am sure).

 I would once more like to thank all of the marvellous people who have contributed towards this project in various ways.

Monday, 10 October 2011

The importance of memories ...

As I was organizing the photos I took during the last workshop in Calheta, so that each participating child may have an album of his or her own, not only with photos depicting the "Art work" they have made but also special moments they may have experienced throughout the workshop ... I couldn't help thinking about myself as a child.

Fifty one years have gone by since I painted these little glazed tiles, but  I still remember every little moment that preceeded and followed the actual making of the tiles ... I don't often think about it ... but the moment I see them it all comes back as if it has just  been yesterday.

I felt really proud then ... and if I am honest I must say I still do ... for having painted such small figures at the age of five and been praised by the various family members and the teachers of João de Deus pre-preparatory school.

The little glazed tiles have been fortunate enough to have "survived" all these years ... but some of the "Art works" made by "my" children of Calheta may not have a similar fate ..., many of them are hanging on the walls of their precarious houses ... the extreme heat, the humidity and even the wooden fire smoke may alter the colour and texture of some of those beautiful things they have made ... 

I know how important these have been and are for them ... and the fact that I photograph them in the process of making them or holding them, once they are finished has a lot to do with this concept of preserving memories, be it in the form of photos of the "precious" objects or those memories associated with them, which have and have not been captured by the camera ...

Sketch made by Leinira during the  2009 April workshop in Calheta

Two different sketching approaches based on the same original, the one on the left made by José Carlos and the one on the right by Carlos (2009 August workshop in Sal).

Samuel making his own sketching version (2009 August workshop in Sal).

Tarine (Left) and Marline (Right) with the colouring sand pictures they made during the 2010 February workshop in Calheta.

Veronica's version of the Church of Tarrafal made during the 2010 February workshop in Calheta.

Kevin (Left) with the paper car and Veinilson (Right) with the the wooden snake made during the 2010 February workshop in Calheta.

Simone holding the mosaic "work of Art" she made during the 2010 February workshop in Calheta. 

Lavinia holding (Left) and wearing (Right) the loup mask she made during the 2010 February workshop in Calheta.

Juliza with the coloured sand "work of Art" she made during the May 2010 workshop in Calheta.

Carina painting her wooden sun during the 2010 September workshop in Calheta.

Marline at different stages of completing her felt tip brush Art project during the 2010 September workshop in Calheta.

Artemisa, Eunice de Jesus and Eunice colouring their felt tip pen projects of Art during the 2011 February workshop in Calheta.

Tarine and Marline (Left) painting with tempera and Claudina, Lola and Daniela (Right)  carrying out their colour sand projects during the 2011 February workshop in Calheta.

Diva making her sketching version of the traditional outfits of the children of the world  (Netherlands) during the 2011 February workshop in Calheta.

Irrespective of what the future might hold for these children ... some of their childhood happy moments have been "preserved" and may some time in the future be part of their "important" memories ...

Sunday, 9 October 2011

Cultural venues ...

Although I haven't been very "active" (culturally speaking) ... or at least not so much as I used to, I 've recently watched three Theatre performances which I really liked for various reasons.

The first two - Amadeus by Peter Shaefer staged by Tim Carrol and As lagrimas amargas de Petra von Kant an adapted version of the play by Rainer Werner Fassbinder staged by Antonio Ferreira, both at the National Theatre of Dona Maria II, reinforced  the idea I already had regarding some Portuguese actors - we do have some unquestionable good theatre performers.

The third one - Inri, staged and performed by two Italian coreographers and dancers took me into a different dimension and made me aware of a "new"  theatre concept in regards to the importance of the total absence of words and the role played by the movement and the mimic in the theatrical performance.

Being exposed to different theatrical approaches has made me a lot more conscious of what actually  impacted me as a non-intervening "character", that ... whose scene sequencencing took over my attention as if I were no mere observer but  as "intervening" as the characters themselves ... that other one, in which the movement and the tone of voice seemed so "real" that I didn't realise I was amongst the public ... and the one in which the gestures and the dance assumed such meaningful ways of exteriorizing religious rituals it transcended everything one could possibly imagine.

Amadeus and As lagrimas amargas de Petra von Kant will be on stage till the 9th and the 6th of November respectively, though the Zerogrammi produced Inri will not, once it was  only performed on the 8th and 9th of October at Theatre Taborda.

Critics apart (as those who write them have yet a different approach to what is happenning on stage ...) Diogo Infante's interpretation of Salieri (particularly as an old man) is second to none, so is  Custodia Gallego's in the role of Petra von Kant.

Stefano Mazotta and Emanuele Sciannamea are absolutely amazing Dance and Theatre performers, the Portuguese public  must see more of ...

Saturday, 8 October 2011

Amsterdam (still) ...

Two weeks have gone by since I came from Amsterdam and there are certain Canal images I  simply can't forget.

I have been wondering what it would be like to live in those houseboats ... there are about two thousand of those along the several Amsterdam Canals (we were told) and the more I look at the photos I have taken, the stronger seems to be my feeling for those inhabited floating places ...  which are said to have become popular after the second World War ...

I'll still have Amsterdam on my mind for a while as I read some of the books I bought there ... and more so when I'll be walking on those beautiful quintessential Dutch footwear  I'll soon risk wearing to work (I might make myself be "heard" finally ...).

Thursday, 6 October 2011

Amsterdam (Day 4 - morning) - the 25th of September 2011

We decided to take a boat tour on our last morning but not before having headed towards the Leidseplein to buy a bicycle adapted bag.

The streets were still virtually empty and those who were wandering about must have almost certainly been foreigners. The forty five minute tour on the Reder i j Lovers boat took us along the many Canals we had already been to, though the perspective was entirely different.

I know I'll be back some day ... (it may not even take long) ...