A lot of what I hear covering Cape Verdeans is how they often feel that nobody has ever heard of their country outside of their community. In fact I guess I didn’t really hear about Cape Verde myself until middle school. One day my younger son asked me, “What do you call a dinosaur that only eats plants?”
“What?” I asked
“A Cape Verdean.”
“Umm Jonah I think you got that mixed up. You mean a vegetarian.” And then I went on to explain quickly what I had learned about Cape Verde. Which is still not as much as I should know. And I wondered, “Did my son hear me talking about Cape Verde or read it on one of the books I had lying around? I mean when I was his age the words Cape and Verde put together would not even come out of my mouth. So though what he said was comically wrong and embarrassing for someone who is writing articles about Cape Verdean culture, it was still strange that he would even know the words.
Later that week the Cape Verdean Flag and a map and a picture of a young girl carrying a pitcher of water came home in his folder. It turns out he is learning about Cape Verde in school for international week.
I asked my older son if he was also learning about Cape Verde.
“No I only learned that last year with Ms. (A very Cape Verdean name).” Aha! Would it be crazy if I started going up to the teachers who had names that could be Cape Verdean and introduced myself? Maybe I could interview all of them and put together an article on how to teach preschoolers about Cape Verde.
What exactly they are learning about Cape Verde in school I am not sure. But I just want to point out that there are very few Cape Verdeans that I know about in my kids schools. The point being that times are changing and things are shifting. At least in the Boston area, Cape Verde and it’s culture will probably soon be one of the places that everyone HAS to know, along with Ireland and Puerto Rico.
So, maybe my son mixed up vegetarian and Cape Verdean last week (I’m on it!) but he’s still way ahead on me in terms of knowing about the culture.
For the record, my youngest son is in K2 and my oldest is in 1st grade in the Boston Public Schools.