The past week we have been holding Model School in the morning. Children from Namaacha sign up to be students (its amazing how many people you can find when you promise free snacks, notebooks, and pens) and we hold lessons like we will in our classrooms (although I’m teaching Biology in Model School and Chemistry in real school…so that’s cool). Along with preparing lessons and exams for our students we’ve been preparing for our very own language exams and packing up our things for our site.
After 10 weeks in the training town of Namaacha in our comfortable homestay families surrounded by other trainees and volunteers everyday we are getting ready to be pushed out of the nest, just in time for the holidays.
I think most of us are kind of ready to just go out on our own. I feel personally I can’t advance my Portuguese much more in this setting and it’s time to take it out into the real world where I don’t have other Americans to talk to all the time and I’m forced to perfect my language skills. I’m anxious to get into the classroom and start experiencing teaching Chemistry (which I haven’t studied since high school) in Portuguese (which I just learned) and witness the Mozambican school system (the lows—corruption, lack of funding, no textbooks, no desks, cheating…the typical struggles, along with the highs—eager students, colleagues to help, a changing curriculum and culture).
As excited as I am to get to my site, meet my roommate, and settling into my new home, it is bittersweet (as most good things are). My host family has just been so fantastic and I’m so happy to be leaving with so many stories and experiences already. My mae has been so warm and welcoming, and also a lot crazy, but in the good way. She’s only a few years older than me and I think having someone my age around has offered her a break from the duties of being a mother of two and given her some opportunities to blast music, dance around, and have fun. We’ve both benefitted from our moments together.
It’s crazy how 10 weeks feels really long in retrospect. Not because it was boring by any means, but because it is so jam-packed. And events are almost on fast track. It’s like what I’ve experienced during trail crew. When there’s only so many of you in an isolated environment (ours being that there are only so many Americans in Namaacha at any given time) friendships develop quickly, moments seem more precious, and time together is more cherished. Everyday (and I mean literally everyday) we have had an activity, we have had something to do to develop our skills, give back to Namaacha, integrate, or create a support system with each other. And being so busy makes 10 weeks feel longer, not slower, but longer.
So full circle of this, time’s up and it is time for these birds to leave the nest, spread out, and go develop our own little Mozambican lives in our sites. And I think it’s just the perfect time for the next part of the adventure to begin.