Monday, September 22, 2014

9/22/2014: 1 Year and It’s Still a Mystery

Just a short update about some changes happening here in Mozambique...

So I’m almost a year into my Peace Corps service and there have been so many mysteries and unknowns. My service has taken an unexpected turn during this past year and has led to me ending my time in Xinavane in moving on to new places.

I recently had the pleasure of visiting my new site and meeting with the volunteers that I will be replacing. I would be lying if I didn’t say I’m sad to leave my home and a little disappointed to not be able to finish the work I have started here. But in retrospect, I have so much hope and excitement for what my site holds for me.

I will be staying in the same province I’m now, thankfully. So I’ll get to continue my work as REDES coordinator for Gaza/Maputo provinces, which was a priority to me for making this move. I also will be inheriting an EGRA group to work with early age children on their literacy skills.  It’s going to be an adjustment after living in what has been dubbed Chicavane for the past year. My new house won’t have running water and I’ll be more distant from my friends. But I’ll still be close to Maputo and have a higher chance doing the work I came here to do, which is very exciting.

There isn’t much else to say, but I am very excited for this new adventure and I can’t wait to embark on it. Meanwhile, I plan on enjoying my last few weeks with my surrogate family and enjoying the place that has become my home away from home.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

9/2/2014: Twists and turns and holidays

I just returned from a two-week escape in Greece (with a few days in our neighboring South Africa) to get away from the stresses and dramas that were weighing me down at our site.
I can’t even describe my trip. What a blessing. I planned it fairly last minute (if you can even call what I had a plan) and spent two weeks traveling Athens and Crete alone…kind of…
I stayed in backpackers the whole time, so I was lucky to constantly meet people to spend time with and go on adventures. I toured the ruins, shopped, ate amazing food, and spent hours on the beaches of Crete. I met some amazing people all around my age from Italy, New Zealand, Australia, and Canada and they made my trip amazing. Even though we only had a day or two together each, outsiders would have probably thought we had known each other for years. It’s fantastic to meet people when you’re traveling alone who are open to just add you into their groups.
I had just finished a Bible study that took place in Greece, so it was so powerful to follow some of the Christian sites throughout the area. I walked a path that Jesus and the disciples walked on…there was nothing marking it, nothing noticeably special about it…but standing on that path I could feel the spirit with me as if He was still walking it.  On my last day, some friends and I also decided to go to Mars Hill. With a shared Christian belief, I think we all appreciated being together for this experience. Not only are the views of Athens to DIE FOR on Mars Hill, but also there is a huge spiritual significance. In the 1st Century AD, Paul brought the speech “Unknown God” in an attempt to bring Christianity to Greece. 9 centuries later is when the first church was built, but the seed was planted on Mars Hill. Again, the views are great but there isn’t really anything visually significant about this place, but standing there and thinking about how this location was witness to so many changes and so much history…I was in awe.
I am still overwhelmed by the beauty of Greece, I thoroughly enjoyed my explorations, both religion related and otherwise. Greece has just built around the history, leaving the old churches and ruins in the middle of this modern cosmopolitan city instead of building over their history.
((I’ve posted pictures on my Photobucket, see a link below))
After traveling around Greece for 2 weeks, it was so refreshing to come back home to Africa. I stayed with some friends who are a huge blessing. They took me into their home and helped me to and from my trip out of the goodness of their hearts and it just helped me relax amidst the stress of traveling. It was through them I got to see my first rugby match! Their son-in-law’s cousin’s wife (yes…that’s a real connection) had tickets and they suggested I go if I felt up to it. I was exhausted after traveling, but I’m so glad I went! I forgot how much I miss sporting events! It was FREEZING compared to Greece (40 degrees Celsius there, 12 degrees in South Africa) but it was worth every second. But it was when we once crossed the Mozambique border that I felt I was home. Somewhere through all of my travels and experiences, Xinavnave has come to be my home.
Right now, we’re in a pretty stressful process. We’re busy trying to move out of our house in the convent into a new house in the village. Hopefully this will all work out and help smooth things over for a better working environment in the village.
Needless to say, I’m so beyond happy I got some time away to recharge and relax before having to come back and deal with all of the dramas left behind in July.

Hopefully my next post will have new and better news! But until then and until my next adventure, I’ll be dreaming of the delicious frozen yogurt and gyros and the wonderful sunny beaches of Greece.

Check out new photos too: