Saturday, June 14, 2008


Jun 8, 2008
This youngster made a brief appearance,
smiled self-consciously for an eye-catching photo,
then scampered off.
  She'll reappear the next year.


São Tomé

OK, not really kidnapped...  hijacked, maybe, by friendlies.

I've passed by this picturesque village south of Santana a few  times over the months.  On the water, it's just a few steps from main street to the shore.

I hadn't intended anything special when I stopped there; just some local scenery photos on a quiet Sunday.   The afternoon turned into a bit of a free-for-all over which I had no particular control.
The teens (in the slide show, below) attached themselves to me for a few hours and a meal. They initially complained that I hadn't brought any sweets with me (dulce! dulce!) so I finally promised I would go buy some and come back. As soon as I set off in the direction they indicated was the store, 5 of them jumped in the truck to go along. They gave me directions, and we drove about 20 kilometers through the jungle. I was expecting maybe 2 km.They took over camera duties and took about 100 pictures, the best of which are here. Priceless.

It was a fun occasion for the kids; there probably aren't many such opportunities.  It was illuminating for me.  The five youngsters who took over my afternoon taught me much about Africa in the few of hours we had.  They were gracious, well mannered, thoughtful young people.  I'm  indebted to them.

Dec. '10
The kids and I are now old friends.  Nino is a barber; we provided his equipment to get started.  Sesario is in the army.  Mana is still tiny but well after some health issues we walked through with her.  Mela (Muhlere) is still the mature one in the bunch, and still in school.  We're all proud of her.  Little Dada who joined the group late is doing well; she's the pretty little one at the top of this page; my daughter sponsors her education and her family.  Sweet friends, all of them, and a joy to visit when I'm in country.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Children's Day

Children's Day in Africa 

 We happened to be in São Tomé & Principe for Children's Day. The principal at Almas Elementary school invited me to come and share in the day's festivities.

On Children's Day in São Tomé, all the elementary schools begin the morning with a parade. We went a kilometer or so on the one well paved street, the kids sang at the top of their lungs. A party at the school followed. Absolutely wonderful children.

We provided balloons and candy for the occasion. (left) ... then, I realized we'd met before; this is the little first grader that embraced me so warmly 6 months ago. Climbed up into my arms again, hugged me and kissed me on the cheek. We sat together for awhile talking about toes and crayons and things. (note the faces in the background!)

The slideshow here is of the one special day for the children at Almas Elementary School in Sao Tome.

Particularly enjoyed the kids and their music; dancing was mostly jumping up and down in time to the music which they played really loud.