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With At Home Abroad: An American Girl in Africa, Nancy Henderson-James has proven herself to be a masterful talent in crafting a captivating memoir infused with a great deal of vivacity, introspection and even some humor and poetry. Continue reading
“Nancy Henderson-James has written a tremendous book. Her writing skillfully weaves the threads of a beautiful exotic setting, the discoveries and tensions of adolescence, the powerful shaping attachment to a very particular place, and the unfillable void of absence. I highly recommend her memoir to Continue reading
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- Sivaya (Praise) (4:20) Almost the Ovimbundu’s National Anthem. The recording was made when the Radio Clube de Nova Lisboa came to record some music for their library, during a holiday time.
- Drumming and chanting (1:54) Recorded outside Bunjei. She’s singing that, “Kachiteia is leaving today, oh me! (havoio!), going to the Mission, Babayela, (named from – ovava ayela – clean water). If you want to say your good byes say them to me.”
- We ko vava (White man came from over the water) (1:40) The Radio Clube session with Sr. Tavares leading. “The white man’s strength is in his ancestors’ burial which is overseas.”
- Thumb piano (1:14) Recorded in Hendersons’ living room, Bunjei. He’s singing “Ipako vivala, omuenyo uvala, nda ndupapo nye.” Food’s hard, life hurts, what’ll I discard?
- Call and response (1:25) Recorded in Catumbela, next to Lobito. “It has no feet, it has no hands, but it climbs and climbs. A snake. Not a snake?”
- Guitar & singing (2:37) Currie Institute students in Dondi.
- Bela Vista e uma linda vila (is a pretty town) (3:13) Currie Institute students.
We were hot and sticky from carrying our luggage across town in the stifling humidity, but when we walked in the front door of our house, the cool of the brick walls and floor tiles was like a cold-water plunge. We staked out the bedrooms we wanted, the boys in one and the girls in another, and I suddenly felt less shy with the boys. Moving from bare acquaintance to living together in the brief span of three days had transformed them into something more akin to brothers. The sexual edginess I’d felt around them softened into comradeship. Continue reading
Maria Teresa. Her birth name too long for her tiny body. At seven months, she was a wizened eight pounds, unable to hold up her head, roll over, or smile, and so she became simply Tez. I gazed at her soft brown skin, her dark eyes, and her springy curls. She grasped my finger and held on. Continue reading
I spied Tomás, our cook, on the cement driveway in front of the garage, squatting in front of a white enamel basin spattered red with blood. I paused for a moment, fascinated by what I saw, and then hurried down for a closer look. A headless white chicken weaved on unsteady legs around Tomás. I couldn’t understand how its legs kept moving or how it held itself upright without the head. Tomás appeared amused at the sight of blood pulsing from the chicken’s neck until it keeled over dead. I clutched my neck in sympathy for his suffering, then burst into giggles. The chicken did look ridiculous, walking headless on wobbly legs. Tomás rather absently picked up the chicken, plunged it into the hot water in the basin, and started plucking off the feathers. Would I ever treat my chickens like they were just food, not animals? Continue reading