Yesterday was a hub-day, meaning that all 69 of us, both health and education, were all together. We got permission from our training director to have a Halloween party and an extended curfew that night which is a huge deal because not only are we trainees in our third week, so the rules are still pretty strict, but all of Peace Corps Mozambique is on standfast right now because of the elections (which are next Wednesday). At the end of the day we were divided by concentration (science, english, health) to give skits about our experiences so far and to show how our Portuguese has improved. The skits were pretty funny because we have all had pretty shared experiences: the host moms who think we are incompetent, the never-ending host family and we’re not quite sure how everyone is related, the killing of a chicken, etc. After, we sang the Mozambique national anthem (which is like ten minutes long!). Then a man who has AIDS came in and played guitar and sang some traditional Mozambican songs beautifully. Afterwards all of language teachers played a Mozambican song and danced for us and then invited us join them. Then they said they were going to play an “American song” for us to sing and dance to for them—they played “Summer of ‘69!”
I find the hub-days especially interesting because they are usually focused more on health issues, namely HIV, because regardless of our formal job, it will affect all of our lives over the next two years. The HIV rate in Mozambique is between 14-22%, depending on where you get your data. One thing I learned today is that the STD rate in Mozambique is ~79%! And having an STD increases susceptibility to HIV transmission (one source says transmission is twice as likely!) Also, in Mozambique there are 3 doctors and 20 nurses per every 100,000 people!