Miss a Burmese-Goan memoir

Cover of Homeward Bound, a memoir by Aloysius D'Souza.

Rangoon, Burma was home to a community of Goan families before WWII.

That included my father Leo Rodrigues and his cousin Aloysius D’Souza. They were born in Rangoon and  were age six when the Japanese attacked the city a few weeks after they bombed Pearl Harbour.

Leo and Aloysius and their families had to flee Rangoon by rail, sea, and land. Our families arrived safely in Calcutta port and trickled back to Goa via Delhi and Bombay.

Two years ago I flew to Goa, India to work on my own book based on my Girl Gone Goa blog. I felt compelled to put it on pause because I wanted to edit a memoir that Aloysius had drafted. I couldn’t help but get caught up in his stories of community, music, food, farm life, and war.

Today I received word that Uncle will celebrate both the publishing of his book and his 83rd birthday in Goa this week.

I’m in Australia now and I feel like just one small ocean separates me from him. But a travel agent tells me a return flight from Adelaide would cost $1900.00 AUS and a visa would be impossible to obtain.

Publisher Frederick Noronha of Goa 1556 tells me I’ll receive a copy of the book shortly.

But I feel sad I can’t be there with my talented, story-teller uncle.

My great grandfather Sylvestre D'Souza left his family in Goa to join the gold rush in western Canada.
My great grandfather Sylvestre D’Souza left his family in Goa to join the gold rush in western Canada. Aloysius’s book describes how Sylvestre remained in Canada for many years, leaving his wife to care for their three children Anju (Aloysius’s father), Bemvinda (my grandmother), and Gerry on her own following WW1.
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Attend a show at a Waldorf School

Willunga Waldorf School choir at end-of-year concert.

Tilly is in Class 8 at the Waldorf School here in Willunga. It’s an unusual school, where 13-year-olds discuss personal journeys, portrayals of women in advertising, and 9/11 conspiracy theories.

I was pleased to join her and her family to the school’s end-of-year concert. According to Wikipedia, a Waldorf education’s “…overarching goal is to develop free, morally responsible, and integrated individuals equipped with a high degree of social competence.”

It also includes a high degree of musical competence. The event showcased everything from percussion poles to xylophones to classic guitar. A piece by the Senior Band, Kaze no Toorimichi, felt transcendent.

During the break I wandered the school grounds and got a sense of the Willunga Waldorf School’s  radical building and grounds design.

Classroom building from Waldorf School in Willunga, Australia.
Classroom building from Waldorf School in Willunga, Australia. (Source: http://adzewillungawaldorf.weebly.com/)

From what I’ve seen so far, and having spent some time with Tilly over the last couple of weeks, I’m impressed—and just a bit jealous.

I wonder how my generation would have turned out if we could have received this kind of creative education?