Saturday, February 23, 2008

Batete and Luba

Last night was spent acting as servers/food preparers for a photo exhibition at the US Embassy. In exchange for our catering services, we were provided with delicious food and drinks. It was a chance to socialize with some respectable people who work in Equatorial Guinea.

After that we made a brief appearance at a local friend’s house for some Karaoke. We only stayed for about an hour and a half, and likely left before the real party got started.

Today however was relatively exciting in the sense that we took a “field trip” to the local village of Batete and the modestly sized city/town of Luba, both towards the southwestern end of Bioko Island.

Here is the town of Batete seen from the top of the following bell tower:

In Batete we toured one of the two remaining wooden churches left in Africa from colonial rule. Although it was under construction, we were able to go inside and climb to the top of the bell tower. The inside was pretty nice and decorated with mosaics and stained glass.

After the church we visited a private boarding school for girls. Located in an old style open-air colonial building, I thought the colegio was fascinating. Some of the US students got the little girls to sing a few songs which I was particularly touched by. The girls had beautiful voices and they sang perfectly in key with eachother. As I was sitting in the school yard listening to this I got goose bumps.

Teddy bears holding it down in the dormitory at the colegio in Batete.

Then we headed into Luba where I ate the tastiest meal I’ve had to date on the island. At Hotel Jones, I had fried fish and plantains for the equivalent of $10. Lets just say it was probably the best ten dollars I have spent since being here. Oh, and please note how dusty all of the landscape pictures are. Since it is the dry season, we get suffocating fits of dry dusty air straight off the Sahara desert. Visibility is terrible.

After eating we headed to Colegio Claret in Luba, this one being a secondary school for boys (please excuse the obvious stitch seems in the above picture). We toured the classrooms, dormitories, and the library. The library is particularly special because it houses Spanish colonial era books that escaped multiple book burning campaigns during the last two presidencies. Very interesting indeed. After poking around in the library for a little we played some basketball in the school yard.
The schoolyard and tower in the background.
The dormitory at Colegio Claret, with mosquito nets ready to be deployed.

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