Perfect bedtime stories for sleepless nights about my two years as a Peace Corps volunteer in Mozambique.
30 November 2009
November Rain, November Sun, November Gone
So… November! I’ve come to the conclusion that November is the universal month of crummy weather. For every day of sun in Namaacha, we have had five days of rain, and weeks of continuous mud. I think I’m getting all of my cold and rainy days in Mozambique upfront, so I’m trying to embrace it.
Anyway, while I was waiting for my laundry and the cement walls of my room to dry in the perennial humidity, November sneakily flew past me. In mid-November, we went to different cities in Mozambique to visit current volunteers. I traveled to northern Mozambique to visit a volunteer who coincidentally stayed with my family two years ago during training. The family was overjoyed that I was going to visit her, and gave me a bag full of cake, fruit, and special Namaacha bread for her, which I dutifully dragged onto the airplane and chapas (overcrowded mini-buses) throughout my journey across Mozambique. She was a great hostess, so my ill feelings about lugging the large plastic bag of food quickly dissipated. We traveled around the area a little bit, seeing Ile de Mocambique and Chokis, the most perfect beach I have ever seen in my life. It was informative to see another site and meet current volunteers, but it was effectively like a Peace Corps-sponsored vacation. It was fantastic, and I’d like to think, well-deserved.
It’s a good thing we had that break, because upon returning to Namaacha, there was an explosion of activity with preparations for model school. We have been teaching students biology, chemistry, and English from 7:30 AM until 11 AM for the last two weeks. School is out of session right now, so the students are volunteers who are motivated by either certificates, free school supplies, cookies, or learning. I had a particularly energetic class, which was a blessing and a curse, but a good no-stakes crash-course in classroom management before going to site. They did well on our test and were excited to receive their treats and certificates, especially because I took photos of all of them receiving the certificates. This is a huge reward here; even though the students don’t receive photos, getting to see their photo and imagining me showing people in America is “ultimo”. The students were pretty adorable today, and a few asked for autographs. I even got to sign the backpack of one of my favorite students. Aww. At times, the idea of teaching biology in Portuguese every day for the next two years is daunting, but things like that are great perks.