Sunday, June 22, 2014

6/22/2014: The Winds of Change Are Blowing

It's been a very hectic few weeks for me.
I'm going to say up front, some of my update news is not great. Some of these winds of change are blowing in some mighty storms and we are batting down the hatches for what's about to come. I won't talk too much about it as it's all still in the beginning process and we don't have many answers and ideas...or unfortunately even knowledge about what's going on.
I'll start with the storm so I can end with the light, fun, sailing winds of change.
Unfortunately for the past few weeks my roommate and I have been having increasing struggles with the people we live with. There have been some cultural clashes with expectations, lifestyles, habits, etc. We had thought we rose above the struggles and were finally finding some common ground and starting to find our place in our housing complex and at school. Sometime last week, we got the news that while on the surface we have found common ground, there is deep negative feelings towards us and we're not really sure what our future is like here right now. That's all I'll say about that because we are seriously lacking in information. But we are meeting with some people from Peace Corps to help us find the best course of action that will work for us as well as our school and our school director. Meanwhile, if you can keep us in your thoughts and prayers. This place has become HOME for both of us, our surrogate families are here, our lives are here, and we love our school. When I came here I said "Yea, I don't know what I'm doing in 2 years" was ok to not have a plan for post Peace Corps, I never thought to have a plan for during my time. So that's what we're getting to face right now. When I have news that we are ready to share, I will.
Onto some bigger and better changes.
I was elected the Maputo/Gaza Provinces Coordinator for REDES. I'm very excited about this opportunity, it's at the root of my real personal reasons for being here. REDES is an organization that works with girls in our villages to teach empowerment, income generation, HIV/SIDA, and independence. To me, yes I am here to teach, but really I wanted to come here to work with these girls and see changes happen even with just one or two girls because they'll be role models for their daughters and so on. I am very excited to be the coordinator and work to increase volunteer involvement, Mozambican counter part involvement, and numbers of REDES groups in our provinces.
I also was SO LUCKY to get to see my best friend in the Peace Corps. Jules lives in the North and because of security travel bans, we can't travel by land between North and South and with school and living on a volunteer income, it is almost impossible to fly without going on official Peace Corps business. BUT. She was brought down to Maputo and I got to spend a long weekend with her! I didn't think I would get to see her until January so it was very exciting!! I was so lucky to get to spend time with her. While we were together we noticed the new trainees (yes, that's a whole different change, hey??) were in Maputo, meaning the training village was empty! (We're not allowed there when trainees are there) and we said hi to our host families. When I left, my host mae and I were still struggling with our conversations, there was still a lot of acting and miscommunication. But when I saw her now we sat and talked for hours catching up about life! She and I were both so proud and excited.
So...that's life here in the village, nice and hectic as usual!
Life is always about the adventure, that's for sure.

Me and Jules, reunited :)

My host mae, irma, and irmao. We were all so happy to see each other
Me and some of my girls from school! They make me so happy, even when they frustrate me

Monday, June 2, 2014

6/2/2014: I have not fallen off of the face of the off

Wow! It has been a LONG time since I have written anything.
I can't say not much has happened, I have been very busy, but nothing super out of my ordinary has occurred.
Let me see. Where can I start?
Since the last blog we had a vacation from school, so I decided to finally make the full day trek up to Tofo Beach in the Inhambane province. During the break we had a volunteer reunion there for a few days. It was FANTASTIC. I not only got to see many Moz21ers but also spend time with 18ers (health volunteers getting ready to leave the country soon), 19ers (other education volunteers like my roommate), and 20ers ("new" health volunteers). It was amazing to be back on a beach, I've missed being so close to the ocean! We just hung out and laughed a lot...that's about all I can say. Except that I NEEDED a vacation. It was reenergizing for sure.

Tofo Beach Sunset
What happened next?
Hm. I went straight down to my regular stomping ground, Maputo, for an inservice training called reconnect. After 3 (ok...4-5) months at site, we 21ers were reunited for a 4 day conference. We talked about security, site, adjustment, teaching, lots of things. But I was mostly extremely excited to see some of my friends that are so far away I probably won't see again until our Midservice training in January. It was important for us to see each other, spend some time catching up, and swap stories about life at site and our schools. It was overall a great 2 weeks of vacation for sure and I came back to site reenergized and very excited for the next few months of school!

In service training 
One of my closest friends (also from the DMV!!) Matt
It's been pretty normal here at school though. Very busy with teaching and spending time with my students, trying to find some time to relax and run again.
Today (Monday the 2nd) was our School's Day so we had a big day long school party--music, food, clubs doing was great fun and a nice time to be around my students and the other teachers without the pressures of the classroom. I however will be in a food coma until further notice as EVERY class wanted me to eat lunch in their room so I ate little bits with everyone and it was still far too much food for comfort.

Secondary school modeling club

Primary school modeling club and dancing
Last but not least on the story front, a couple of weeks ago I went on a drive with one of my friends and we found the graves of the children of the first mill owners. It was sad, the whole family died of malaria about a hundred years ago, but to find a piece of history fairly well preserved is cool!

Que mais? Not much. The factory is in full swing so we are constantly having to clean sugar cane ash off of our clothes and our veranda and the whole town now permanently smells of molasses. But since I previously lived next to Perdue Chicken Factory, I'll take the sickly sweet molasses smell, thank you.

There really isn't much going on as of yet. Like I said, I've been busy and enjoying life, but there's not really anything of note to be honest. Just enjoying the Africa Life.

Until next time, at least for now I'm still around, still kicking it in my village, and still throughly enjoying my adventures no matter how small or large they may be on a daily basis.