April 6, 2003 - Personal Web Site: Michelle Ervin's Volunteer Life in Cabo Verde

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Cape Verde: Peace Corps Cape Verde : The Peace Corps in Cape Verde: April 6, 2003 - Personal Web Site: Michelle Ervin's Volunteer Life in Cabo Verde

By Admin1 (admin) on Sunday, April 06, 2003 - 4:53 pm: Edit Post

Michelle Ervin's Volunteer Life in Cabo Verde

Michelle Ervin's Volunteer Life in Cabo Verde

Volunteer Life in Cabo Verde

Last updated: 17 February, 2003
Michelle Ervin
currently in: Buckeye Lake, OH
lived in: Pedra Badejo & Praia, Santiago

Michelle's E-MAIL

Current Time in Praia

Today's weather in Praia

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Who Am I?

Hi! I am Michelle, a recentely Returned Peace Corps Volunteer (RPCV). A brief history about me:
Grew up in Lancaster, Ohio until I was 10. My family and I moved to Buckeye Lake, Ohio, where we've been ever since. I graduated from Lakewood High School in 1994 and received my BA in International Studies and Spanish from the University of Dayton in 1998. Right after college, I waited to be medically cleared to go into the Peace Corps....which finally happened in the end of '98. In order to serve in a country where I would utilize my Spanish, I had to wait until the summer of '99, which I did and served in the small island nation of Cape Verde, right off the coast of Senegal.

In Cape Verde, I spent two years teaching English as a Foreign Language to rural high school students. I lived in a rural fishing village called Pedra Badejo, on the largest island, Santiago. I really enjoyed living there and like to think that I became a part of the community. I met my boyfriend, Chiquinho, there within a few months and became not only a part of his life, but became a member of his family. They were everything to me while I was there and still mean the world to me now. One of his nieces is my Goddaughter, Elizaine; and another niece is "my little girl". If I had the resources to raise a child, I surely would have brought her back with me.

At the end of my first year, I was in no way prepared to leave. Yet, I really did not enjoy teaching at the high school. I wanted to train teachers, but in order to work at the teacher's college in Cape Verde, you have to have a Master's - in anything. So, I was turned down for that. I then found out about a German NGO that had an education project and was hired on to work with them through Peace Corps. I enjoyed this job immensly, but hated having to live in the capital city, Praia. Praia has a lot of problems, which are only getting worse, with thievery, murders and just plain harrassment. I went back to the US on vacation during December of 2001 for a month. This was my first time back in two and a half years. To see exactly what I did during my three years, please see either my resume or my Peace Corps Description of Service (DOS).

On the 16 August, I finished packing up what was left of 3 years of my life and gave away what I couldn't bring, and around 10pm, with two large suitcases, a backpack and my cat (which I got the week I first arrived in Cape Verde), I boarded a plane for the start of my long journey home. I went from the island of Santiago (where I had lived) to the island of Sal (where the international airport is). From Sal I flew to Lisbon, Portugal where I was stuck for 24 hours. From Lisbon it was on to Paris, France and from Paris, a straight line to Cincinnati. I arrived on 18 August around 11pm to the welcoming arms of my family.

For the first two months, I did nothing, really, except try to make sense of the whirlwind of events I had just went through and was still going through. I bought a car, got a cell phone and then found a job. I'm living with my parents and working as a substitute teacher at 5 school districts in Licking County. I'm also in the application process for 4 grad schools. I plan on getting my Master's in Education - TESOL (Teaching English to Speaker's of Other Languages) and hopefully becoming something like an Academic Director or working at a Refugee/Immigrant center.

I am applying to Columbia Teacher's College, Boston University and UMass-Boston. If anyone knows of any contacts that might be able to help me with funding my education and/or giving me a job in those areas to help pay for school, let me know!!! My resume is on-line here, so no excuses!!! :)

Volunteers in Cape Verde

This is the group of Volunteers I came in with, during our Close of Service Conference. Click here to see a list of who's who and what they are up to now!

Me in 2001 with my "baby", Areia.

Me and Chiquinho with Amy and her recent husband, Kamal...ready for New Year's Eve 2000

Areia when I first got her...

Me and Chiquinho at Elizaine's baptism.

Me with Elizaine, my goddaughter, at her baptism in Jan. 2002

The Volunteers from my group that extended for a 3rd year.

Me and another UD alum from the 2001/2003 group, Patrick Coonan.

Another pic. of me with Patrick.

My friends Keith & Adam. They're volunteers on the island of São Vicente.

Two '02-'03 volunteers with some Cvean friends at a local store in Calheta (on Santiago) (The one on the right lives in Hortelão)

Some of 2001's training group on the beach at Pedra Badejo, with some local kids.

Michelle and her old roommate (who left early), Alyssa at Tarrafal.

3 former volunteers at the salt mines on the island of Sal.

My baby, Areia.

Areia, the "great" mouse hunter!

Two of my old site-mates, taking a swim in the volcanic-rock-pools in Pedra Badejo.

Me with a couple other volunteers in Pedra Badejo.

Me, a British friend (Gabi) and another volunteer (Amy) after a small hike in Santo Antão.

A picture of the '00-'02 group. Click here for names

Me with some PCVs from my group, goofing off at our COS (Close of Service) Conference.

During our actual COS meeting...we are all extremely excited to be there.

Another side of the COS meeting

Another view of the complete COS group

During our COS dinner -- Peace Corp's way of thanking us and saying good-bye

At COS dinner

Eating turkey for Thanksgiving 2001!

Some more people chowing down!

Volunteers love food!

Two volunteers, Steve and Dave, with the Peace Corps cake

2002's COS group

The two volunteers from Mindelo, Adam and Keith -- ready for Carnaval!

A pictur eof one volunteer's project -- a tire park with used tires -- in Ribeira Grande, Sto. Antão

Two crazy former volunteers -- Amy and Leigh Ann

Volunteer Alice brings Halloween to Cape Verde.....

....and introduces the holiday to the locals!

A group of PCVs celebrating a birthday in 2002

PCVs chilling in Praia

Some PCVS getting together for Christmas 2001

Heavy H (a popular Cape Verdean singer) loves the Peace Corps!

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Story Source: Personal Web Site

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Cape Verde; Photography - Cape Verde



By mariza (adsl-68-76-191-45.dsl.akrnoh.ameritech.net - on Friday, October 08, 2004 - 11:44 pm: Edit Post

Hi Michelle,
My name is Mariza Goncalves. I just finished reading youre article and am feeling touched by your story. I am CV from Massachusetts and just moved to akron to start a doc program psych..(uakron). I came by your article because Im trying to find outmore about the CV history here in OHIo...
please feel free to give me a call if you have any questions...maybe I can help you with something....
...I know you posted this a year ago...I dont know where you are in life now, but I am willing to help in any way

By moreiratony ( on Tuesday, June 07, 2005 - 11:05 am: Edit Post

Hi Michelle...
How are you?I´m Tony from Pedra Badejo.I´m studying in portugal...I´m trying to go To America in July and i heard you are in Boston..Is it true?I have trying to send you an email but i think the Pc is not available...You can visit my website:www.faceparty.com/tonycv

By Diamantino Andrade (pool-70-19-224-248.bos.east.verizon.net - on Saturday, January 28, 2006 - 3:27 pm: Edit Post

Hey Michelle, how's things? Listen this is Diamantino from Salina, Pedra Badejo, me and Chiquinho are good friends, so there is a big chance you know me,Im an Electrician and also a DJ here in MASS, anyways if You still need any information on how to come to UMass let me know, have a Friend that works there and I was gonna go there but things changed around. Any concerns call me at 508 584 1906.

By Noel Byrne (240.red-80-38-194.staticip.rima-tde.net - on Friday, July 21, 2006 - 8:03 am: Edit Post

Hi I am interested in teaching english as a foreign language in Cape Verde. Can anyone give me the names of any schools that I can contact.



By bruce kern (cpe-76-181-81-150.columbus.res.rr.com - on Thursday, January 11, 2007 - 11:28 pm: Edit Post

Hi Michelle....stumbled onto your name while looking for something Lakewood related on the web. Congrats to you for your Peace Corps work. Hope by now you are settled into grad school and following your dream. With wishes of continuing success...b kern

By kosile Olayinka (ml82.128.20.97.multilinks.com - on Monday, February 25, 2008 - 1:41 am: Edit Post

That is Nice michelle and good work from your end.
Though i am looking for a collge to learn how to speak and write in Portugese, and i hope to resident in cape Verde Island. Am a Nigerian.
I wish You a success in your endeavour.

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