Wednesday, April 7, 2010

APR '10 Marilyn in Africa



A week with my wife in Africa

Sao Tome & Principe

After 3 years working in Africa and a dozen trips to Sao Tome, my wife finally gets to come along.  We took a week together to vacation a bit and to give her a chance to meet all the friends we'd made over the years.  In Pantufo (photo, left), I'd told them she would be coming.  They received her like family and escorted (dragged) her around like they do me.  Her comment, "Now I know how Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie feel!"  The folks made a big deal of her visiting their neighborhood, treating her like a special guest.  

At the elementary school,  she's swamped in the mob of kids (photo, left).  Both teachers and kids were expecting her and welcomed her warmly.   Beside her in dark blue, our third grade scholar, doing great in school!  

At Ribeira Afonso (photo, left), I surprised my friend Nino and myself too. We ran into each other after mass on Sunday morning.  He joined me for the day with a family and nine children on a trip to the capital.

Among the better pictures this trip, these two frien
ds (photo, right) make a pretty pair against the tropical background.  They are in dozens of pictures from earlier trips.

The trip was understandably hard for my wife.  The impact of seeing these dear friends face to face caught her a bit off guard as it did me early on.  Knowing these folks well enough to be friends, to begin to love them, changes the way you see the world.

Oh, and there was the one scary incident downtown.  Driving to the city center to exchange currency, I'd not thought of what it might look like to my wife riding with me in the truck.  As I pulled into the square, half a dozen fellows (really big guys) recognized me and ran to the truck, each one insisting loudly in Portuguese that I make my deal with them.  I know them all by name and it didn't occur to me that my wife's view was... well, here we are in an African town a million miles from normal, and a bunch of big guys I don't know are rushing my vehicle, hollering and waving, and forcing their way in through the window, grabbing at us.  Scared her a bit; I had to apologize for not warning her.  Funny afterward, though.