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A few amusing stories

A few days ago, I took my morning constitution holding an umbrella to protect me from the rain pouring down on my toilet.  My first thought was that it would be a great photo op for a “life is calling: how far will you go?” poster.

Add rain + me on the toilet with an umbrella + life is calling: how far will you go? tagline on the bottom

A few days ago I was tricked by a trainee.   The new round of Peace Corps trainees arrive about a month ago to Cape Verde to begin their two years of service here.   It was raining and I was tired.  I had been walking around Assomada for most of the day shopping and was feeling both relieved my errands were over and happy to be heading to my peaceful home on the mountain.   I walked with my umbrella up the sidewalk on the main thoroughfare snaking my way through groups of cape verdeans milling about under the terraces waiting for the rain to stop.    I passed a shorter cape verdean man with dark skin and a patchy unkempt beard who stopped me and asked me for my umbrella.  He smelled heavily of grog.  I told him no.  He said he would pay me for it and I told him he should visit one of the chinese lodjas as they have many and I only bought this one an hour prior.    He once again asked for my umbrella, more forcefully this time, and I diplomatically smiled (but did so with effort as I was uncomfortable with his aggressiveness), said no and bid him goodbye.   After getting robbed, I am more alert to aggressive men and odd situations such as this than I used to be.  I am still jumpy and it will take some time before I am anywhere near as comfortable as I used to be traveling alone.

I continued along the road to where I would catch a car home and a tall, lighter skinned, cape verdean, approached me unusually quickly and started speaking with me.  First, he offered to sell me something, but I couldn’t understand what.  The way he approached me, his odd accent and something about his demeanor signaled to me that something was out of the ordinary with this interaction.  I was already on edge from my earlier encounter with the aggressive man and my first thought was something isn’t right here and that I should try to end the interaction as soon as possible.   I told the man I wasn’t interested, bid him goodbye and picked up my pace to lose him.   He caught up with me quickly, his persistence making me even more uncomfortable, and asked me if I lived here.  I gave him the same description I have given a thousand times in response to that question about where I lived and worked in Picos at the Association.  He told me he does development work as well.  I said in krioulo,  “that’s good, I’m sorry though, but I am in a hurry and need to leave now.”   I started to walk off again.  He stopped me and said he worked for Corpo de Paz (Peace Corps).  I gave him an odd look and he said, in English, “yeah, I’m a trainee.”  He was not a cape verdean but an American who arrived with the new training group.  I had been tricked and felt like an ass.  In retrospect, I am amused.  Well done trainee.  Well done.


  1. Pedro Grande wrote:

    You know, not too long ago, I was beefing up my skills and I think I could totally mock up that poster for you. What do you think about a giraffe though? 😉

    Thursday, August 11, 2011 at 10:20 pm | Permalink
  2. denny wrote:

    when were you robbed
    do you feel safe there, sounds kind of dangerous?

    Tuesday, August 16, 2011 at 8:37 am | Permalink
  3. mattk wrote:

    It was a few months back in a rural area. It was scary and I am more on edge than I was before. I do generally feel safe here though. The area that I live is very safe.

    Sunday, September 11, 2011 at 12:10 pm | Permalink
  4. Jon E. Berg wrote:

    I agree with the poster idea… amazing! Submit it to Peace Corps/Washington 🙂

    Friday, August 19, 2011 at 11:08 am | Permalink
  5. Joe wrote:

    Sorry to hear about your umbrella. Also, I miss you. This is Phil, by the way. I am on Joe’s computing machine looking at interweb videos of kittys whence I found your digital journal. How did you get into the interwebs? Is that where you have been for the last many many months? Should I send help to retrieve you? I once knew a man who raced cyber bicycles through the digital interwebs. I could see if he is available.

    Here is his interwebs address: <-not porn.

    Friday, September 2, 2011 at 10:28 pm | Permalink

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