Today was the long anticipated day of site delivery. We had all heard things about our sites, but nobody really knew what to expect until we actually arrived. Thankfully I was the first person on the route in my car.
My site is a bit of a joke, as far as Peace Corps Mozambique goes. I am living on the grounds of a mission of Salesean nuns. The entire compound is just gorgeous, plants and flowers everywhere, nice paint jobs on the relatively new buildings. This mission has a primary school, a secondary school where I will be teaching, an orphanage, a few dorm rooms for girls in training to be nuns, a building for boarding students who have families but live too far away to commute to school every day, a cafeteria, the main building of the nuns, and the building I live in. But back to the joke part. In the main building there is a room that has a computer with internet, a plasma screen TV, and DVD player. I live in a building where another volunteer lives (there are two Spanish girl volunteers here), some guy lives sometimes (that part got lost in translation), and the infirmary is. My living space is one fairly large room with four electrical outlets and an attached indoor bathroom with sink, flushing toilet, and shower with hot water. Every building has energy (some of it solar-powered) and running water. I was really excited by all of the amenities at first, but now I am kind of embarrassed. Ashamed, perhaps, especially when my colleagues find out (I really don’t want to tell them). One of my friends is living alone at her site with no running water or electricity and has to walk three kilometers to get cell phone service. Hence the shame I feel.
Our mission is a couple miles out of town so I wandered into town this afternoon to get to know it a little. I went to Ann’s house (my sitemate). She is pretty worried because her house is reed which means that people can (and often do) just stick their hands through the walls and pull out whatever they can grab. And if they really want to get in, a pocketknife could cut through the walls. On Monday she is going to figure out options for reinforcing the walls, either with cement or chain-link fence. We have a sitemate named Emma who has already lived here for a year and today Ann got called “Emma” a few times because, well, they are both white and all white people look alike. We poked our heads into every shop in town just to check out the options and got to know a few of the owners and a tailor. Tomorrow we are going to Maxixe where we will have more options and lower prices on all of the things we need for our houses (which is not much in my case).