Friday, July 25, 2014

7/25/2014: Goodbye July, Hello 10 Months of Service

July has been a hectic month in Xinavane. Some highs and lows for sure.
But let's not talk about the lows, those are no fun.
Last weekend we held our Gaza/Maputo Province REDES workshop. It was a long weekend for us, but the girls sure enjoyed themselves! We spent the weekend with Forum Mulher and groups from all over Gaza/Maputo working with the girls on empowerment, HIV/AIDS, goal setting, and other important topics for young girls around the world. We even had Ivette, a Mozambican rapper, and a congresswoman come talk to the girls about empowerment and making smart choices for their own futures.
As incoming provincial coordinator, I learned a lot about my goals for next year. But more importantly the girls were very excited and learned a lot. On our way home, the 2 girls from my school started asking more questions from their workshops and have started planning activities to present to our school to share what they learned during their weekend. I was exhausted by the end of the weekend, but seeing the girls' excitement to learn more and share their experiences made all the stress and lack of sleep worth it.

Bem vindo REDES!
Ivette talking to the girls

Gaby and I and our Xinavane girls!

A session about HIV

So we've been in country for 10 months now...time is FLYING. I can't even believe it's already been almost a year.
I'm going to copy the idea of some of my fellow 21ers and make a list of 10s.

10 Things I've Learned to Live Without

  1. Pre-made food (It seems silly, but in college I rarely had much time to cook and so I often lived off of take-out and yogurt. I know how to cook, I just never had the need or patience before)
  2. Easy transportation (Living in a city, I always had access to a bus, train, or car to get anywhere...half the time I could walk to where I wanted to be. But here...transportation is a whole different story)
  3. Personal space (I'm big on the whole "stay out of my personal space bubble" but that is just not in existence doesn't make me so happy, but I'm adapting)
  4. New clothes (Sorry, I had to put the typical American comment out there, I mean, I worked decent jobs and one of them was at a clothing store so I was used to having new clothes way too often)
  5. Cheese (It sucks but even when you can find cheese in this country it is out of the regular budget of a Peace Corps Volunteer, however it makes us appreciate it when we do get a hold of some yummy cheddar or or a container of Laughing Cow)
  6. A variety in my vegetables (Going to a school surrounded by farms and living at home with a large vegetable garden, I was always so used to having easy, affordable access to whatever vegetable I wanted, it's not so easy here...)
  7. A schedule (Yea...that's all I can say about that...schedules are just not really a thing)
  8. Manicures/Pedicures (Again, just about as American as I can get with this comment, but it's true. I was that girl at the salon every 2 weeks...well when I wasn't on a trail crew anyways)
  9. Being busy (Seems ridiculous, but I promise you I hadn't had free time since I was in elementary school, even in the summers I was busy with summer homework or working. It honestly was quite an adjustment to suddenly having copious amounts of spare time and learning how to use my service productively without every minute being pre-planned for me)
  10. Always understanding what is going on (Communication is sometimes not the greatest and often days even I get the idea of what is happening I am left confused about what is going on)

10 Things I've Learned I Can't Live Without

  1. Contact with my family (I love traveling, but I am also a homebody so when my phone was stolen the hardest part was not having a way to communicate with my family)
  2. A support system (From friends in Peace Corps to friends near me in the village to WhatsApping with friends at home, I have never truly valued the importance of support from the people in my life)
  3. Pets (My dogs were so important to me at home, and here I have Katniss, everyday I'm learning more about how much joy pets bring and the calming effect they can have on us after a stressful day, and just how much fun a little baby animal can be!)
  4. Alone time (Spending 30-60 minutes alone locked in my room working out or reading or watching a movie has become pivotal in my matter how integrated I feel or how many projects I have that I love, it's exhausting sometimes and you just got to get alone)
  5. Coffee (Well...okay...I kind of already knew that...but living somewhere where truly amazing coffee is hard to find/expensive, I've learned even more how much I love coffee)
  6. A variety in my diet (Including vegetables...sure I'm used to it now and I am getting creative with the vegetables we have, but I have learned that I really do love having a variety in my diet and a large selection of vegetables)
  7. A schedule (Sure I've learned to live without it for now, but I couldn't stay this way forever, I value my scheduling!)
  8. An occasional vacation (Sometimes you really do just have to get away, even if I'm already away from home it's important to get away from work too)
  9. An English break (I love talking to the other teachers and the people in my village but sometimes I just want to speak my own language)
  10. Chocolate (That little chocolate break is like a little piece of heaven here)
Off to book my vacation for our August break!