A list of things that happened since I last wrote:
Moçambique group 21 painted a beautiful mural at the Peace Corps office in Namaacha. It was designed by the amazing Tania Hughes, and painted by all.
I taught four English lessons to some very sweet and dedicated students. We gave them a test at the end of “model school,” and most of my students passed with flying colors! One of my favorite students came up to me a week later, singing the song I taught them about daily activities. I’ve heard model school is not a very realistic simulation of teaching in Moçambique (add 50 students to the classroom, subtract readily available resources, and replace eager and dedicated students with those who don’t see the importance or value of education). Despite the challenges I’m sure I’ll face in a real classroom, I really think I’m going to love it!
I ran my first unofficial* half marathon through the hills around Namaacha. Yes this happened just six weeks after spraining my ankle, yes I feel like a boss, yes I am bragging about it.
We cooked a mouth-watering Thanksgiving Feast, replete with all the regular holiday staple foods. Carl, the retiring Peace Corps Director here in Moçambique, brought 8 pecan pies. It was the best thing.
My iPod, money, dummy phone, and most importantly, my chapstick got stolen. I was out dancing as per usual, with all the regular folks, in our regular spot, and somebody decided my bag looked like it had some goodies. They were correct. However, like a good kindly thief, they left my empty bag with my house key lying not too far outside the bar.
We had yet another fabulous feast with our homestay families, full of delicious traditional Moçambican food, a DJ, a giant cake, and a champagne toast.
Namaacha got hit by a pretty scary cyclone. I was stuck in a nearby barraca with a group of trainees playing cards when it came. We all huddled inside, yelling over the constant pounding of rain and stuff falling on the tin roof. After an hour or so, a few people that lived close-by and I made a run for it. The roads had turned to streams, the wind was howling, and we couldn’t see a thing. I walked around the town the next day to survey the damage –there was debris everywhere, downed trees had taken out some houses, two trainees in our group lost their roofs, and others’ rooms were flooded.
I said goodbye to my wonderful host family. I was much sadder to leave them than I expected. My pai said he couldn’t walk me to the drop off point because he was afraid he would cry. I’m not sure if he said it as a formality or if he really meant it; but I will definitely miss his company and conversation. My mãe walked me to the corner carrying my bag the same way she had walked me to their house nine weeks before – two steps ahead, with a proud half-smile on her stern but kind face. At that moment, I felt like I had dreamed the whole thing.
After saying my goodbyes, I merged with the sea of trainees in our matching capulanas to be delivered to Maputo for swearing in. We boarded our chapas and got spit out into the first world for a couple of hours at the ambassador’s house. Speeches were made, oaths were repeated, and hors de oeuvres were devoured in a very unbecoming manner. After all of this, we were officially dubbed Peace Corps Volunteers. Yay!
Since swearing in, we said more goodbyes, had big long conferences, rode more chapas, and arrived at our new home in Mapinhane. I’m going to reserve description and elaboration for the next post – for one because this place needs it’s own post, and for two because I am falling asleep. Just know that things are much better than good here. Much, much better. It’s going to be a GREAT two years!