27 June 2010

[visual aids]

Our casa; Erica blowing bubbles with the neighborhood chilluns; the oh-so-photogenic Shingove; sleeping, snuggling Bea (L) and Rocksteady (R); me with more of the cute neighborhood terrors; our scenic backyard sunsets.
So just how accurate was your imagination?  There will be more pictures to come someday, so work on your mental image of my school for the next test.

23 June 2010

The Amber of June

Now that electricity is a fairly constant aspect of my daily life, I occasionally find myself looking at photos on my computer of my past life, and although I am happy, healthy, and doing well here, I sometimes am grasped by the sudden feeling of what-the-hell-am-I-doing-here?  I have now completed 9 months in Mozambique, which is encouraging and feels good, but it is inevitably followed by the requisite recognition and mathematics of the 18 remaining months, which seems daunting and impossibly long.  But when I feel trapped in the amber of this moment and there is no why (Vonnegut—I cannot take credit for that pretty turn-of-phrase), I think about the few things in my life right now with forward momentum.  In case you were wondering where the momentum of life is blowing me at present, here are some of the details.
My sitemate and I are putting together a Science Fair at her school, which is rapidly approaching.  Her school has had volunteers and Science Fairs in the past, so this year, I just invited students from my school to participate in a joint fair at her school.  I’d had my doubts about the project, but seeing my handful of favorite students get excited about their lung models and physics demonstrations is a winning experience.  There won’t be any earth-shaking scientific discoveries coming from my 8th graders this year at the fair, but what’s wrong with reinventing the wheel?  The wheel is still lookin’ good.
In other news, as of last weekend, the Chimundo PCV household has increased by one, consisting now of two American women, two Mozambican kitties, one chicken, and (new addition) one adorable puppy.  Puppy’s name is Shingove, Shangana for “cat.”  We think it’s an ironic little joke, but for people around here, it’s just more evidence that we’re not quite right, that we're weird Americans who talk to animals and what’s more, feed and bathe them.  Shingove is a tubby little squirt, waddling around and trying to initiate play with Bea and suspicious Rocksteady (Erica’s kitty, who is not terribly receptive to these antics as of yet).  We heart Shingove.  The cats are reserving judgment.
Speaking of our domesticated animals, Clucka has finally settled in, roosted, and started producing eggs.  After wandering through the house and trying out the spare bed, our beds, and our clothing-filled shelves, she decided to roost inside of the bag of charcoal on the porch.  Maybe this would be a good time for me to explain that Erica and I do not have a TV; most of our entertainment comes from our pets.  But I have to say, it’s pretty funny to be on the receiving end of a death stare from a maternal chicken guarding eggs in a sack of coal.  (Come to Mozambique if you want to give it a try!)
School is going just fine; at my school, we’re already getting ready for our final exams (“final” meaning 4 weeks before the actual end of the trimester to give teachers time to grade and students a few weeks to slack off).  In July, I should have a week off, which should be a welcome opportunity for a bit of travel and a change of scenery.  In the meantime, I’m keeping myself occupied by going to my homeroom’s soccer games.  While they can be little stinkers who skip out on biology on Tuesdays when it’s their last class of the day, I have to admit, they are soccer superstars.  Maybe because they are, on average, one to two years older and 6 to 8 inches taller than the other players, but they do me proud regardless.
Oh, and no news on the robbery.  I have no hopes or expectations of recovering any of my lost items at this point.  But I do have my new passport, which is complete with a badass-looking stamp saying “THIS PASSPORT IS A REPLACEMENT FOR A STOLEN PASSPORT.”  Don’t you know it.
Erica's family was here for a week in May, which was a lot of fun.  It was nice to see Chibuto through fresh eyes and be reminded that while America may feel like another world away, family and friends are only a few plane rides away, continuing their lives until we next meet again.