Saturday, 28 May 2011

The children of Calheta (still) ...

Thanks to Cristina, Daniela has got herself a "godmother", Lurdes Baptista. It has been  through friends who bring along their friends and relatives to "help out" in this "project", that many of the children of Calheta are now aware that someone, no matter where, cares for them and their education.

Lurdes (left). Cristina and her little daughter (right).

I have recently sent the children letters and cards from their "godparents", as well as an encouraging card to let them know that I will try to find them all  people who will ensure the payment of their school fees and school material.

Sibylle reading out the card I sent to the ones who didn't get any cards  and letters or who don't have any "godmothers" yet.

Rosana and Elcy have both received  a dress and a book each, which have been bought by their "godparents" - Carla Brígida (Rosana) and Lourdes and I (Elcy) respectively.

The card Lurdes and I sent  Elcy (left). Elcy wearing her new dress, whilst holding the book and  Lurdes' photo.

The birthday card made by Carla Brígida for Rosana

Rosana wearing the new dress Carla Brígida sent for her birthday (left). Holding the book and birthday card.

Marline willl also (soon) get some presents I  have bought for her.

Marline's presents

I strongly believe these little gestures of affection are important for their self-esteem and the books an encouragement to keep on "opening up" their horizons and "feeding" their imagination ...

A gesture of gratitude that came from afar ...

I  have been (still am) touched by a gesture of gratitude that came from afar in the form of three photos just sent to me by Sibylle.

These are some of the girls I have worked with in  the various  non-profitable workshops in Calheta in the last three years and for whom I have "found" some "godparents", who ensure their school fees.

Standing (from left to right) - Leinira, a girl I haven't met yet, Patricia holding a card, slightly behind Maria Filomena, Rosana, next to her Eunice holding the orange card, behind her two girs I haven't met, next to them Claudina with a huge smile on her face, Ivanilde Elena in an orange T-shirt, behind her Elcy and next to her Lou, the tiny face of Lavinia and next to her Marline holding the glove, behind her a girl I haven't met,Maria de Jesus holding the card, next to her Carla, Delmizia, slightly behind another girl I haven't met, Neuza,  Daniela holding the yellow card, hiding behind Nélida, close to her another girl I don't know and finally Artemisa.

In the front row sitting and kneeling down (from left to right) - Lola, Joceline Elena, Josseane, Juliza, Nolita, Jessica, a girl whose face I can't see, Josefine, Eunice de Jesus, Neuza and Tarine. 

In all honesty I am the one who should thank them for all I have been able to learn with them over these years.

The girls writing the  cards

May the future hold the best for them all ...

Friday, 27 May 2011

Birthday presents for the children of Calheta ...

These are the birthday presents I have bought and shall soon be sending to three of the children of Calheta (Lola, Nolita and Melissa), whose birthdays are in May and June.

Lola's birthday presents (left) and Nolita's (right)

Melissa's birthday presents

Buying them outfits or books has become an interesting challenge, because I  try to always select them as in accordance with the children personality traits or at least the ones I have been able to "identify", together with buying an equal number of gifts for them all. As from January onwards the only gifts shall be either books or educational material, once they have clothes which will last for a while.

I have just received the photos taken of Kevin and the presents he was sent last month by his Portuguese "godparents", Luis and Kátia. These African children who get presents for the first time rarely display joyful expressions, as if they were in need of time to "assimilate" the fact that somebody thought of them. There's eventually a slightly brighter shining look in their eyes and  ... then (that's it) you know they are happy.

The card sent by his "godparents" (left). Kevin putting the stickers in his new reading book (right).

Kevin wearing his new shorts and T-shirt

Note: Thanks to Sibylle I always have their photos taken and their birthday presents handed

Tuesday, 24 May 2011

Potsdam - The sixth and last day of our trip (26th of April 2011) around the Cecilienhof Palace.

Outside the Sanssouci Palace gardens stood a  peculiar 1739 wooden trestle windmill built in Dutch style (having been reconstructed in 1993), which according to Friedrich der Grosse was supposed to bring out the rural character of his summer residence.

A few different versions of an event involving the monarch and the windmill owner, Mr. Grävenitz) have been transformed into a myth in which this latest won a case against the royalty who had sued him beacause of the noise of the windmill.

The only sad aspect about the guided visit to Cecilienhof Schloss (the following stop) was the rain which had been menacing us all afternoon and finally decided to show us her real face. It started pouring down with rain, so the walk around the various courtyards of the castle was soon over. 

This English Tudor  country house like palace built between 1914 and1917 was erected as a residence for Prince Wilhelm of Germany and his wife, the Duchesse Cecilie of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, but its importance is still connected to the 17 July-2 August 1945 Potsdam conference held here, in which participated Wiston Churchil, Joseph Stalin and Harry S. Truman.

Cecilienhof palace has 180 rooms, which are now being used as Hotel rooms. I would certainly not have minded staying there for a while longer ... and even lodged there, as the surrounding atmosphere looked just ideal for a few days relaxation stay.

Our visit to Potsdam was soon over though not until we walked around the city, this time on our own and although the weather was not too inviting for outdoor "exploration" we did enjoy it. 

We shall be flying back home tomorrow but I have a feeling we'll somehow miss some of the moments we had here ... Berlin was a "surprise" and we are really glad we chose to fly here ... it will not be the last time (I am sure).

Monday, 23 May 2011

Some more gifts ...

Some of the children of Calheta will soon get their birthday gifts, which will be handed to a group of girls from the Calheta running group on their stop over at Lisbon airport.

The "lucky girls" are Artemisa, Erica, Delmízia and Josefine (the birthday presents for the last ones mentioned have already been photographed and downloaded).

Erica's (left) and Artemisa's presents (right) bought by Noëlle and Cristina  Marques respectively

Maria de Jesus and Jessica's little brother will also get presents sent by their godmothers Maria Felicidade and Maria João, who have recently accepted "supporting" their school fees and whichever might be necessary regarding their education.

Cristina and Júlia have both contributed with some money with which I have bought  some Christmas presents (books and clothes) for those who don't have any "godparents". That way all of the girls will get the same gifts over Christmas.

As there was still some money left I bought some kirigami napperon message sheets of paper for the children to make, as well as two pairs of scissors and a few little books, which I intend to start a "patio library" with.

Cristina Ferro and what her money provided for

Júlia and the clothes bought with her money

I am sure the girls will be thrilled with the presents, but above all I feel that what will touch them most is the fact that somewhere far away someone is thinking about them ... as individuals (the clothes and books have been selected as in accordance with the girls' personal taste and individual characteristics).

Friday, 20 May 2011

The gifts of affection ...

I have finally got the pictures of both Jessica and Eunice with the presents and outfits bought for them by Francisco Lisboa and Luis and Katia respectively.

I feel words will be unnecessary as facial expressions do seem to say it all.

The birthday card sent to Eunice (left) and Eunice with her birthday presents and outfit (right).

Jessica with her presents and outfit (left) and Francisco Lisboa (right).

Francisco Lisboa, whose photo I have recently got, will be ensuring Jessica's school fees and any school material which may be necessary, whilst Isabel Mégre's money has paid for five books to be handed to Cinthia, Lou, Lavínia, Mena and Verónica as Christmas presents next time I travel to Cape Verde.

Isabel (left) and the books bought with her money (right).

The more I get involved in these activities, the more I realise that although it does take time to select the adequate books, clothes and whatever I may feel these children have the right to have, one does not need to spend too much money to do it ...

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Potsdam - The sixth and last day of our trip (around the Sanssouci Palace) - The 26th of April 2011

We then headed towards the  Rococo style Sanssouci Palace, which like its name in French says was perfectly tailored to Friedrich II's taste - a one storey villa like work of Art originated in sketches made by the monarch and initially carried out by the architect von Knobbelsdorf, a childhood friend of his.

Partitians of the supporting walls with trellised vines from Portugal, Italy and France planted against the brick work of the Garden façade (Right).

Architectural details from the central bow of the Garden façade with carved figures of Atlas and Caryatids grouped in pairs between the walls and supporting the balustrade (left) representations of Bacchants (right).

Trellised Gazebos on the side wings of the the garden façade richly decorated with guilded stars and other ornaments.

The 1745 Baroque ornamental garden modelled on the parterre at Versailles (left) with a Great Fountain and marble statues placed around the basin of the fountain (Right).

Part of segmented collonades of 88 Corinthian columns on the North entrance façade enclosing the semi-circular "Cour d'Honneur" (left) and the view of the "fake" ruins (right).

The tomb of Friedrich der Grosse beside  the ones of his favourite greyhound dogs (left). Detail of his tomb stone with two potatoes on top (right), which according to the guide is quite common taking into account the fact that he was the one who brought these and introduced them into the country.
The whole visit was an interesting one and made even more interesting because of the additional information provided by the guide. As we left, the weather seemed to be getting gradually worse, but we were still hoping to be able to take some photos at the Cecilienhof Palace, our next stop on the guided tour.