Thursday, 30 June 2016

The fifteen hour English Summer course for 4 and 5 year old children ...

Each English Language course for the children is a challenging "adventure" I embark on with interest and enthusiasm. It has been quite hard to find the plastic animals and fruits I need to complement the story book and the children's songs they 'll be taught this year, as well as the required artistic material and the puzzles and games, each of which will play its role in the children's learning process.

I have finally been able to organise the teaching rooms for next week's activities and feel ready to welcome the eight  5 to 6 year old children plus my colleague's slightly older child, who will be attending the English Language course starting on Monday. 

Some people tend to consider that teaching young children doesn't need as much preparation as the one required to teach adults and that these Summer courses aren't but a rather simple way of occupying" the children ... How wrong can they be !...

I have spent a considerable amount of time devising what to do and how to approach certain  subjects (basic grammatical aspects and even  issues related to the vocabulary expansion) and the main theme of the course ... and I am confident we'll have a good time (which is also important in any learning process). 

The African project ...

Going back to Cape Verde is still a few months away but I have already started buying  clothes for the children, taking advantage of the current sales, once in January I won't be able to find light clothes easily.
Getting things organised is always time consuming, this being one of the reasons as to why I prefer to do it meticulously and well in advance.

New outfits for Mr. Meno's little boys.

A T-shirt, shorts and earrings for Lavínia (left). A silk dress, earrings and ring for Leinira (right).

A T-shirt and earrings for Carine (left). A T-shirt and earrings for Verónica (right).

Several T-shirts of various sizes for some of the local boys and two T-shirts for little girls.

I have been given a huge bag of second-hand clothes, which are as good as new, that I'll have to collect and sellect soon, in order to pack them with the things I have already packed, as next time Noëlle and I will try to hand out some of the clothes and toys to the Associationof children in distress and the orphanage in Praia.

May we keep on having the stamina to help others out and alleviate part of their concerns thus feeling better ourselves.


Wednesday, 29 June 2016

The latest film I have watched ...

Spoken mostly in Indigenous dialects, Portuguese Brazilian and Spanish Embrace of the Serpent by the Colombian director Ciro Guerra is beyond no doubt a rather singular film, which like the main characters, takes us on a journey, one that immerses us in the growing friendship between an Amazon shaman, Karamakate (the last survivor of an Amazon tribal group - the Cohiuano) and two Westerners (a German scientist and explorer, Theodor Von Martius and an American botanist, Richard Evans Schultes) throughout two different time periods, the problematic of knowing where one comes from and heads to, resignation and defiance to external invasions, religious and native beliefs ...  

In spite of having been shot in black and white (with the exception of one Amazon scenary sequence with specks of green in an impressionist-like type of approach) it's frightfully beautiful, almost poetical at times.  The whole text  is powerful ... and the actors' interpretation second to none.


"The jungle is fragile and if you strike her, she will strike back." - Karamakate

"All I know is that when I came back, I had come another man." - Theodor

Having been awarded several major prizes it is really worth being seen ...

Saturday, 25 June 2016

Vietnamese souvenirs ...

Despite telling myself everytime I travel that I won't buy anything but traditional clothes and local jewellery I always end up buying some handicrafted goods for which I clearly know not to have any space for at home, irrespective of their size,

The main reason for buying is my love for handicraft and those who meticulously work in any form of traditional artistry. Fortunately (or unfortunately) as I was unpacking this morning I realised that this time I haven't bought too many souvenirs. 

Hmong handicraft jewellery and rag doll (left). Tailor-made traditional silkdress (right) 

Silk embroidered "canvases" with traditional scenes.

Hmong silk  and cotton embroidered bags and backpack.

Glazed tile made by a Hanoi artist depicting local scene (left). Straw doll wearing traditional outfit and Hmong rag doll (right).

Chinese astrological sign pendants (left). Lacquered bowls with local motifs (right).

Traditional Hmong paper book markers (left). Silk scarf (right).

Ink paintings on rice paper.

Lacquered box with motherpearl embedded motifs offered to every guest by the local agency (left). Lacquered painting with motherpearl embedded motifs (right).

Wooden magnet

Friday, 24 June 2016

The latest books I have read ...

The latest books I have finished reading are both related to Orwell, one having been written by him - Down and Out in Paris and London and the other one written by Emma Larkin tracking his life in Burma - Finding George Orwell in Burma. 

Bill Kerwin's critic on George Orwell's is quite similar, ideologically speaking, to what I might have said about it had I not read his, so I'll therefore quote it in this article.
"Orwell is among other things a master of disgust, a writer who can describe a squalid apartment building, an aging painted whore or a drunken old man with just the right details to make the reader's nose twitch with displeasure, his stomach rise into the throat with revulsion. What makes this book so good is that although he may continually evoke this reaction in his account of the working and the wandering poor Orwell never demeans or dismisses the human beings who live in this repulsive environment. The people he describes may be disgusting, but they are resourceful too, and Orwell makes it clear that it is the eceonomic system itself, not the character flaws of particular individuals caught up in the system which is to blame for so much squalor and suffering.
I would recommend this book to any one who wishes to read a vivid description of those who live beneath the underbelly of society and the stratagems they use to survive, whether they be recently impoverished men endeavoring to maintain respectability, Paris dishwashers sweating through their underground existence, or British tramps enduring the daily bone - wearying trek for a cheap place to lay their heads."
Emma Larkin's book is very interesting and I wish I had read it before having travelled to Myanmar, not that it would have made much of a difference as to what I saw but it would have at least provided me with an insight as to what life in Burma was during the colonial time and the weight that colonial experience has had on Burma today.



Lisbon Airport honours the patron Saint of the city

Lisbon airport has a huge shrine-like altar decorated with colourful flowers, paper ribbons and lights in honour of Saint Anthony, the patron Saint of the city, in the arrivals terminal which has become one of its major attractions and the most photographed place at and in the vicinity of the terminal. 

The patron Saint festivities are long gone but the paper Saint stands still as if afraid of being removed and losing the attention he has been granted lately ...


Thursday, 23 June 2016

The latest film I have watched ...

I have been to see The Queen of the Desert this weekend and despite the numerous negative comments  written by both critics and viewers, I wasn't disappointed. Gertrude Bell wasn't exactly an unknown character to me, once I had already read a few accounts on her achievements as a traveller, writer, explorer, photographer and linguist and recently as a cartographer, archaelogist and political officer  but I hadn't read anything specifically on her love life.

This biographical film touched some of her frailties and in a way completed the puzzle I had been missing in regards to her "personal" life.

"A compelling but dramatically underpowered epic (...) Kidman convincingly manages to play Bell as delicate yet determined twentysomething, forging her way across untamed deserts, but still fragile enough to fall in love on two separate occasions."