14 July 2011

My Extraterrestrial Mozambique

Suddenly, I have just three months left in Mozambique, and I once again have to borrow from Kurt Vonnegut, once again from Slaughterhouse-Five, to best describe the feeling. This passage comes from the extraterrestrials’ description of their reading experiences, and aside from the context, it relates pretty well to how I feel while looking back at my time here.

… There isn’t any particular relationship between all the messages, except that the author has chosen them carefully, so that, when seen all at once, they produce an image of life that is beautiful and surprising and deep. There is no beginning, no middle, no end, no suspense, no moral, no causes, no effects. What we love in our books are the depths of many marvelous moments seen all at one time.
I’ve been feeling nostalgic for the last two weeks, caught in a wash of moments and memories. I am typically awakened from my reverie either by an inquisitive cockroach edging towards my glass or by a small neighbor child hollering for candy or crayons in a shrill voice at our door. So while I am seeing my time in Mozambique slip away, day by day, part of me is also racing towards my imminent return home. I’ve learned and enjoyed many things here, but I’m looking forward to going home and feeling like a whole person again, a fully-functioning member of society, back in the comfort of my familiar cultural context, back in the company of family and friends.

Things are going just fine here. The second trimester is wrapping up—the exams have been given, the averages have been calculated, and we’ll have our conselhos in another two weeks. We’ll have our provincial science fair this weekend and start planning for the national fair, coming up on its heels in August. My Geração Biz students have been presenting at school events and will do their theater pieces and lectures during their biology lessons next week. When we’re not doing something with our projects or schoolwork, we’re typically just trying to keep warm—this winter has been downright chilly! Fifty degrees Fahrenheit feels much colder when it’s damp and windy and there’s no insulation or heating. I’m going to be in for a brutal shock when I face the first Midwestern winter in 3 years. Good thing I’ll be too busy soaking up everything America to notice.

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