Monday, June 22, 2009


My first full day in Sao Tome started with me going with James and Chika to get some power strips for our house. We went to a Nigerian merchant and James introduced him to Chika who is also Nigerian. They found out that they were from very close towns and they spoke the same language. The man invited us to a party that night.

When we arrived at the party we realized that it was an entire block party, at least a few thousand people spread out over a few blocks including live music, DJs, dancing and lots of vendors. We went to Mr. Cato’s house with about 10 in our group and we quickly outnumbered his seating arrangement. He left and after a minute or two came back and told us to follow him. We walked into a little (two table) restaurant and found the management kicking everyone out to make way for us.

It was a great night and Mr. Cato took care of food (cooked sea snails) and beverages. The way that everyone moved out of the way for visitors and took every step to make sure that we were comfortable was incredible and has really challenged me to better welcome people in the US, particularly foreign exchange students.

-XO Mike


  1. How did the sea snails look and taste. I've always liked "escargot" here, but maybe it was the garlic butter and bread crumbs that they were served with!

    What a great night you had at Mr. Cato's! And, what a small world it is that the two Nigerians would meet in Sao Tome. You're being treated like royalty ... I am touched by your resolution to be mindful of hospitality when you get back home.

    Working hard getting ready for National Conference ... we go down there in about two weeks and are off for the 3rd of July (since it's on Friday) so I don't have too many days to get a lot of work done.

    I wrote your thank you note to the VP of HR. He's from Oak Park and his son is going to be a freshman at the U of I this fall. He's going to watch for you in the drumline. He's also got your blog address.

    G'ma Bettye says lots of people at her church are asking for updates and some are following your blog. We love all the details.

    xxoo miss you!

  2. The snails didn't really taste like anything I've ever had. I guess I would compare it to buttered calimari (not battered or fried).

  3. It's like the way I changed everything about my summer plans to make you fit in ;)