Sunday, October 20, 2013

10/20/2013: The End of the Honeymoon

Everyone else has gone down this road so I feel bad being yet another person stating the obvious, but it must be said. The honeymoon in Africa is over. It is still an unbelievable blessing to have this chance, but I’ve hit a wall. Life is just getting a little real. We are starting to write lesson plans in Portuguese without feeling fully prepared to do so. Our families are starting to be a little much—I love my family but me going into my room in the evening does not mean I hate you…It means I’m an American living in Africa without my family and friends.
Today was particularly hard to be away from home because it is my very best friend’s birthday and it became so real to me that I’m going to be gone for 2 years but life in America doesn’t get paused. It’s just a weird realization. Thank God for the people here. My Lingua group is the absolute best. We laugh literally the entire day but are also there to support each other when one of us just needs to say “Chega Africa!” And I am absolutely grateful to have a Bible study with some other trainees. Those girls really help me spend time with the Word and remember that we are here for a reason regardless of what is happening in America this is where we are supposed to be.
All that real stuff said…I have some funny stories now.
On Tuesday, we got domesticated in Namaacha. We had a cooking day with our maes where we cooked Mozambician food and American food. For our American dish we made stuffed peppers…well we learned fairly quickly that Mozambicians do not like their food inside other food, which I had kind of guessed from having eaten here the past few weeks. But WE enjoyed it. It was frustrating to keep being told by our maes that we don’t know how to cook when really we do, we just don’t know how to cook Mozambician food, but it was still a really great experience and I think just about everyone here thoroughly enjoyed the break from typical lingua class and the opportunity to learn some Mozambician recipes.
Sara crushes some corn meal 
Shredding some coconut

Nick sifts flour

Minha familia
On Saturday, We visited with a traditional medicine doctor on Saturday. He sacrificed a chicken and blessed us for good luck for the next 2 years. It was really cool to be able to be apart of such a honored and important tradition here in Mozambique.
Learning about traditional medicine
Preparing the sacrifice chicken
After the ceremony, we wandered to “Shopright”…there isn’t really a way for me to describe Shopright if you haven’t experienced it, so I apologize. But it is outside and it’s a bunch of little stands selling just about anything you think you need (capulanas, food, shoes) and things you don’t want (monkey hands and fish skins). But they have the BEST little alley of chicken stands that sell platters of ¼ chicken grilled, xima (also…hmmm…it’s like grits, but not also EXTREMELY filling. PS pronounced “chee-ma”), and tomato salad. Shopright only exists on Wednesdays and Saturdays so we go whenever we can to stuff our faces with the chicken. So, now I can tell my story after that introduction. My lingua class (consists of me, Salome, Sara, Joe, and Nick) plus a couple other friends walked to Shopright from the Peace Corps office…about a 45 minute walk, but it’s close to where we science teachers live (thank God). On the way, we passed my favorite bakery with the best warm bread…BEST BREAD. So I get some and we discover these little soy nuggets, so I stuff some soy nuggets into my loaf of bread and eat it. My friend then bets me a Fanta that I can’t eat my chicken platter after (mind you, I usually at home eat about a yogurt and an apple and that’s it and I haven’t eaten much more here) so I say “Challenge Accepted” well…I do. At the end, Sara still has a plate of xima so Salome…”If you eat Sara’s xima, I’ll buy you a second Fanta” “Challenge Accepted” so I do…well. My lingua group decides to go to Casa de Dois, a bar by the Science Hub. While we’re sipping our drinks my friend Joe whips out a pack of Maria Cookies (I guess they’re kind of like Trefoil Girl Scout Cookies only not AS delicious. And they’re fairly large. And pack has about 30 in them I think) “Jessie. If you can eat this WHOLE THING I’ll buy you 2 Hunter Ciders “Challenge Accepted” So now I’m sitting on promises for 2 Fantas and 2 Hunter Ciders!!! Although I paid the price big time. My stomach has been hurting ever since and my host mom keeps trying to feed me MORE FOOD and I just can’t. At all.

Needless to say, the honeymoon is over. Today I managed to wash my clothes in pouring rain while freezing and our power is pretty much hit or miss because the rains of come and I STILL haven’t figured out how the heck Mozambicans manage to stay so clean in the rainy season! But we have each other, and that’s enough for Africa.
Maria cookies

Greetings from Africa

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