If you are looking for information on the disappearance of Tilo Faoa, please go to Francisco Da Costa’s blog at:


Additional details and links to his prior postings on Tilo Faoa can be found in the comments section below.




Little Things…

Working with kids, it’s hard not be greatly amused by the funny things they say sometimes. Especially when the humor comes from their candidness about what and how they think, rather then when they intentionally try to make you laugh. I try my best to keep a straight face, but sometimes I can’t help but break it.

Many of the snippets below were written verbatim on little scraps of paper I’ve collected over the past few years. Maybe they’re not that funny, but they had me giggling at the time.

Group discussion on story structure in my digital storytelling class..

ME (to the class): “What are some of your favorite stories?”

A: “Nate the Great!”

ME (having a grandma moment): “Naked Grapes?! What kind of book is that?”

A (confused): “No! Nate the Great!”

ME: “Oh, I’m sorry. Nate the Great…yes, of course!”

Class is still laughing. 

ME: “I know I misheard, but what is still so funny?”

Class: “We’re imagining little grapes peeling their skins off…”

A and B are BFFs, it is so obvious. They are in a major  elementary school bro-mance…

A: “How did you know we’re friends?”

ME: “What do you mean, aren’t you friends?”

A: “Yeah. But how did you know that.”

B: “He’s just being that way because we had a little fight earlier. He stole my Kleenex. But I’m over it, we’re friends again.”

Back from Winter Break…

ME: “What is your goal for the new year?”

A: “My goal is to be brave. And to slap a teenager.”

B: “My goal is to gain 50 pounds. I only weigh 51 pounds. I’m very skinny [pulls up shirt, revealing tiny tummy]. Everyone in my family can pick me up and carry me.  Except my little brother.”

C: “Don’t do that! You’ll SMOOSH him! Your little brother!”

D: “If you gained like, 50 pounds…That’s like the size of a young adult. You’ll be like a young adult. You don’t want that.”

B pats tummy.

At the beginning of my class, I usually have a group share where students can share something about their day or week, or their life in general…

A: “Yeah, there was a blackout. And I was home, and I was trying to turn on the television and it wouldn’t come on,  and that’s how I knew there was a blackout. And then I heard my grandpa tryin’ to feel his way around the hallway. And then he took a shower in the dark (class giggles.) So weird! And then I heard an ambulance, but I just figured some oldie fell down the stairs…”  (Shocked gasp from the rest of the group.)

CLASS: “Was it your GRANDFATHER?!!”

A: “Huh?”

We had a interesting on-going discussion  one time regarding gender, gender roles, and gender expectations. It all started when I asked why seeing the girl’s bathroom in a short film we shot was so shocking to our male students…

A (boy): “I had never seen the girl’s bathroom before!”

B (girl): “Big deal. It’s gross, it’s like all pink and stuff.”

C (girl): “Yeah, just cuz we’re girls doesn’t mean we like pink. They just assume that. I hate going in there.”

D (boy): “Yeah, that’s like…racist.”

One of our projects last year was a stop-motion animation project using clay. The fourth grade boys were in a group together, and two of them didn’t quite connect…

A: “Look!Mycobrawillattackyoursnowmonsterandthensquirtpoisononitandthenthesnowmonsterwill breakintoaMILLIONPIECES!!!!KABOOSH!!!!Andyeahthenthepieceswillgoalloverlikethis (swooshes arms)andthecobrawillbelike, ‘HAHA!'”

B: “I’d like to point some things out to you. First of all, it’s a snowMAN not a snowmonster, and secondly, you can only have snowmen in the winter, when cobras hibernate. So, maybe you want to re-think that.”

A: “OMG!!!We’re using our imaginations, it doesn’t matter!”

B rolls eyes.

We had to do like, seven takes of this one line for a short PSA the fourth grade boys made about what to do when you see something inappropriate on the computer…

A: “I saw something unappropriate on the computer!”

B (whispering): “INappropriate!”

A: “Hah? What?”

B: “It’s INappropriate, not UNappropriate.”

A: “OH, really? Lemme do that line again…”

A: “I saw something unappropriate on the computer!”

B (completely exasperated): “INappropriate!”

A: “Oops! I meant inappropriate, why do I keep saying unappropriate?”

B: “How would I know?!”

ME: “Ok, let’s try that one more time.”

A: “I saw something unappro…I mean, INappropriate on the computer!”

Some p o e m s I like…

I am a picky poem reader. I don’t like flowery poems, or very long ones. Same goes for experimental ones, or ones that seem to be about nothing (or are they about everything?) I hate dramatic poems, and ones overloaded with too much feeling. Too intense! And I especially dislike my habit of diligently plodding through boring verses because I felt obligated to the poem to finish it. That’s just unfair, I didn’t know the poem was going to be dull when I started it.

I like poems that are  simple and sincere, and I like them when they’re fairly short. I don’t like cutesy ones, but I do like playful ones. It’s kind of a miracle when a small string of words can conjure up a potent image in your head, or stirs a feeling that takes its time to fade away. It makes me think of how Barthes describes punctum when looking at a photograph. You just need one little idiosyncratic thing to make that connection, and then it’s magic from there.

The young people I work with LOVE poems, and have got me interested in them again. At the library, I found a book of poems I really like, called “Fire in the Soul: 100 Poems for Human Rights” published by Amnesty International. It’s really good. Many of the poems were composed in prison camps, or during or after experiences of war, political expulsion, and gender apartheid. Or they were written by people facing oppression in less overt form. Either way, here are three I liked the best:

Love – Visar Zhiti (Albania)

How far my night is

           from your night!

Other nights rise between like uncrossable mountains.

I sent the road out for you. But it didn’t find you.

It grew weary and returned to me.

I sent out the roebuck of my song. But

The hunters shot it and, wounded

         it returned to me.

I don’t know which direction the wind took. It got lost

In the trees and in the caverns of pain, and returned to me, blinded.

Rain is falling, robbed of hope.

Tomorrow when day breaks, shall I send out a rainbow

To look for you? Though, as naive as joy itself,

It can only cross one mountain.

I shall set out in the night myself.

I shall search, I shall search, I shall search

Like a hand groping in the darkness of a room,

         to find an extinguished candle.


Irregular Verbs – Aquiles Nazoa (Venezuela)

These are some verbs, that at a snail’s pace

I conjugate

You conjugate

He conjugates

As without constitutional guarantees all become inhibited

I don’t write

You don’t write

He doesn’t write

For to write the things that one holds in one’s head

I am arrested

You are arrested

He is arrested


A Will – Fatiha Morchid (Morroco)

To you my little daughter

The ringing of the murmurs

I silenced

The sad laughter

I drowned

The ecstasy of scents

I buried

When my youth wandered away

To you

All the paths

I never trod

All the waves…

I never struggled with

Fear O my dear

Is the sailor’s enemy

To you

All the fruit

My hands forbore

From picking


I really hope I get to see the vaka, Polynesian voyaging canoes, when they come in tomorrow into San Francisco from the Pacific. They are all docked right now in Bolinas Bay, and will sail together under the Golden Gate Bridge tomorrow morning or afternoon as they make their way to Treasure Island. The voyage was coordinated by the Pacific Voyagers organization and is meant to bring awareness to the life and health of the ocean. The vaka are crewed by different islands: Samoa, Aotearoa, Fiji, Cook Islands, Tahiti, Kiribati, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, Tonga, and Vanuatu. The link to follow them is at http://www.pacificvoyagers.org/

Photo from http://www.pacificvoyagers.org/