Children and School in Africa

We were in country for a couple of weeks of difficult work.  I took time to visit my friends and to check in with a local NGO to get some education assistance started for a couple of children and their families.

The scene below is the river a half-mile from Almas Elementary.  Our first scholar-to-be's mom and the kids had gone to the river to do laundry; I met them there and took some fun photos at the request of the children while mom and I talked.   I'd found a program that provides tuition & fees, uniforms, shoes, tutors, health ed on malaria and HIV/AIDS, in school and in home mentoring, plus some food assistance for the families.   (Note. The two girls, upper right, are our scholarship kids now.  Their folks are friends of mine now after a couple of years visiting there, and they were quite pleased to have their kids join the program.  More candidates are waiting for sponsors.  Donate via crowdrise here to our project for them; it's tax deductible.)

Lower left, mom does the laundry while the girls pretend to help; they're all laughing including momma.  Lower right, a scholar and her mom.   In the center in white, cousins laugh, one is in the process of being pushed into the river.  In  the water, my first African friend swims and watches the horseplay.

The chance to make friends in Africa has been life-altering.  With 10+ trips back to the site, we've had time to get to know one another a bit in spite of the language difficulties.  Little gifts and favors have helped.  I take prints of the previous trip's photos for the kids when I go; they're a lot of fun.  Simple food gifts for mom and the household; a bag of rice, a bottle of table wine, a fish, some palm oil, perhaps cookies.

200910 Sao Tome

The pictures here (right) include captioned narratives of visits to the river with our scholar's friends, her home and family, to Ribeira Afonso, and to Pantufo where the artist lives.  At Pantufo, like last time, at the kids request, we shot a couple hundred new pictures which I'll print and deliver sometime next year.  A few of the best are here.

With a break mid-day from work, I took an associate (California fellow who is in Africa for the first time) with me to Pantufo.   I somewhat maliciously let him get out of the truck first, camera in hand.  The kids mobbed him while I visited with the adults; great fun.  He got dragged around by the hand as the kids inducted him into the 'take my picture' club.  He had a ball, of course.