Monday, January 9, 2012

The Cape Verde Chronicles Part 1

A long time ago, in a galaxy far far away, a young man changed forever. He had a lot of growing up to do. There would be no going back after that change. And if it hadn't been for those experiences, he may not be where he is today or treasure the little things in life that we all take for granted. Here are the lost letters I found while digging through several boxes. My mother kept all of my emails and printed them off. This week I kick off a series called the Cape Verde Chronicles. Eleven years later, I share with you some of my younger thoughts about West Africa and the tiny island nation of Cape Verde.....
My host family in Praia
Letter written on July 24th, 2000
"Hi there!!!

Well the world amazes me sometimes.....I am here fine....and I will have a phone down the road.....I will let you know.....we have to rent the internet by the's like 2 dollars here to do it....and everyone and their mother wants to use it.

I love it here and it is very pretty in some areas....but it's definitely 3rd world....and very much's weird....I'm not having culture shock because it reminds me of Mexico.....however the language is a struggle from time to time but my Spanish has been very very helpful....the little Portuguese I know has been made stronger by the people conversing with's very very hot here and the islands are little more than bare rocks in the middle of nowhere....after 9 weeks here I will know which island I will be going to and hopefully speaking the languages almost fluently......

I have met wonderful people here and I have also met several crack pots....and I wondered how they got into the Peace Corps....they have been slowly phased out during our training due to stress.....and there is stress.....but I live for this stuff.....I am very happy and very content to be here......when we landed I became excited by this new chapter in my life. 
The school I would teach at
Well it's not exactly the Hilton here and the food is something to be know how much I hate fish.....well, I haven't eaten any of it so my dietary choices are very limited....n ka gosta peix!....yuck!  I have eaten ants in my rice.....I didn't think they saw those little guys there while they were boiling the's just very different.....I don't really look forward to dinner time here, but I do love this stuff called cachupa.

We went to the beach yesterday and it was weird to see naked people swimming.....people would just jump off the cliff butt naked.....I wish I could be that free with my own body.

We have school almost everyday and everyday I am with 29 other people which is a little overwhelming at times......because I am used to the quiet and privacy of my own world.....but there are some very special people in this group that I can see turning into lifetime friends.....

There are 2 islands that everyone wants to live on....Sao Antao....the greenest and prettiest island of them all and Sao has a very beautiful city known as Mindelo which holds the best carnaval and it is said to be the "least African" of all the islands with a lot of European and Portuguese traditions left behind....My wish is Sao Antao because the island has plants and I miss them here. I am going through a withdrawal of gardening.

Well I'll be back and emailing again at this internet cafe in Praia.....all my love to everyone.......Kreesh, my new adopted name on the islands. "

Looking back on all of this, I smile.   I did a lot of growing up in that space of time.  I didn't end up on the greenest of islands but instead....the driest!  More tales this week....


  1. wow! what an adventure!!! and growth experience, i am certain.

    laughed at you landing on the driest of all islands - maybe that keeps your gardening heart alive! :)

  2. Very interesting account, and the food might be the toughest thing for me to get into. I've always wondered about Cape Verde, and know so little about it, except many hurricanes form of the waters to it's west.

  3. Hi Chris!

    Essa tua estadia em Cabo Verde deve ter sido uma grande aventura. A minha família gosta de fazer férias de inverno nessas ilhas, mas talvez e infelizmente, passam a maior parte do tempo no Hotel. Eles gostam muito das pessoas, da música e da gastronomia , sobretudo tudo o que leve peixe.

    Um dia tens que vir a Portugal, prometo não
    fazer peixe. ;-)

    Abraço forte

  4. LOL! Foi uma grande experiência. Eu era pobre na época por isso, se eu fui para trás agora, eu seria capaz de desfrutar o país um pouco mais:) Estou ansioso para visitar Portugal um dia e eu vou levá-lo até em sua oferta. No entanto, o meu Português pode não ser tão bom:) Espero que sua semana está indo bem. Chris

  5. haha i love your name there Kreesh! Did you go there as Peace Corps volunteer? Very well put account of your experiences. It is through these experiences where we get wisdom!

  6. Anytime a friend calls me and uses that name, I always know that they are from my Peace Corps days:) It's strange to think that all of this happened over 10 years ago!!

  7. After reading the final entry, i seem to have known you so suddenly. I have been commenting and reading your blogposts in the past but after the chronicles i seem to have learned a lot too. That is because you are so honest and sincere in how you wrote them. I wish i can write that well. Lastly, i just noticed from the photo, you are very tall, LOL. If you happen to be in this country you will be a lot taller than most. I love adventures too, but i am not so adventurous in food so maybe i wont be able to do what Peace Corps do.


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