15 people in the back of a small truck bed along with sacks of rice, fruit, bread and vegetables attained at the market, while hugging the curves of mountainous roads and whizzing by planters working the dry, dusty fields and women fetching water on their head — Each day this week I waited for the “hiace” never knowing if my fellow passengers would be pigs or people, so that I could travel to a neighboring city to receive immunizations, attend informational workshops, and train for my upcoming job. It was refreshing to leave the confines of my village, even if it was only to receive shots and homework.
It’s a hard life here in Cape Verde and the days are long, especially for the women. By the end of each day, I am mentally and physically exhausted. Nothing is instant here – no microwave, no Internet, no washing machine. My hands are peeling and my knuckles are bloody just from washing my clothes by hand. I have blisters on my palms from preparing corn for “oatmeal.” I leave in the morning dusty and sweaty and return in the evening dusty, sweaty and itchy. I never feel clean. Even washing my face is a chore, involving boiling and storing water. No time, or need, for make-up, hair dryers, and accessories. I haven’t looked into a mirror for a full week because my family does not own one and its practical uses seem insignificant. Cape Verdean women do not take time for themselves – no curling up with your favorite book or going to the gym for some “me” time.
Every wrinkle on my mom’s face, every callus, tells a story. She is the first to wake and the last to go to bed. She wakes only to confront the daily necessities of fetching water, starting breakfast over a fire, mopping the floors, and feeding the animals. Her day is filled with caring for others, especially the men, while also managing the family store. My mom washes the entire family’s clothes by hand, only to then iron every inch of shirts, pants, towels, underwear and sheets to avoid the dreaded bot-fly. My mom goes to the market, at least weekly, to walk up and down the aisles, negotiating the prices of meat, fruit and vegetables with specific vendors. Before I go to bed, I always ask her if she is tired and she always responds with a sweet smile, “No.”
My family treats me like a queen. I eat with the men, and after we are finished, full and on our way, my mom and sister eat the leftovers. They constantly ask me what I like to eat, changing their daily diets to fit my needs and wants. My mom empties my dirty bath water, helps me clean my dirty clothes, picks the bones out of my fish, and feeds me constantly. She is never in a hurry – always taking time to decipher my broken Kriolu and funana with me around the kitchen.
Quick side note – I decided this week that my mission is to save at least one pig from going to market. I hope to buy a pet pig as soon as I move to my site mid-September. I will most likely be living in the city, but I do not think there are any city regulations concerning pigs – more to come on that note. Get excited!

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4 Responses to Pig!

  1. MicheleGC says:

    I knew you would get that pig one day!!

  2. Steve says:

    I know we take so much for granted, but after reading your latest blog I feel overly blessed, and guilty. Most people in the developed world don't consider how hard people – especially women – in developing countries work for the basic necessities. Continued prayers for you, dear Krista Lou; and prayers for your family in the village where you are staying. God Bless,Mr. P.

  3. gibbon says:

    You and your blog are amazing! We sure do take a lot for granted, don't we?? Love, Maribeth

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