Sunday, December 26, 2010

Random picture, but my picture-snapping brother is here. These are cachew nuts, after they have been detached from the cashew fruit. They are drying now, then we will be roasted and cracked open.

The three Inharrime girls at the lagoon in our town. This is the view you see from the highway as you are about to enter the town of Inharrime and whenever I tell people here where I am from, they always tell me that it's one of their favorite views in Mozambique.


Thursday my mom, brother, Erin, Ann, and I headed down to the beach at the lagoon to escape from the heat a little. Nice relief.
Yesterday Matt came to Inharrime to join us for the day and night. For the second year in a row, it seemed that Christmas Eve (notably the three hours we spent in Midnight Mass) was the hottest day of the year. But mass was beautiful again, and the youth from the congregation put on a small theatre telling the story of the birth of Jesus before mass. Afterwards we had a wonderful Christmas dinner with everyone from the mission and also the Salesian priests from across the street. We made Thai red curry and massaman curry and since we didn’t make them spicy at all (we messed this up at lunch), everyone really enjoyed them.
Merry Christmas. My second Christmas spent in Africa and, even with the heat, it was wonderful. The biggest perk about being here is not having to listen to bad Christmas music starting in November. We watched Love Actually and It’s A Wonderful Life to help get ourselves in the Christmas mood (and looked longingly at all the snow in both movies) because sometimes it hardly feels like Christmas here. As always, the mission where I live is an incredibly loving and warm house and there is no better place to spend a holiday like Christmas.

Buck (my brother) unloading the tractor

The view from the top of the tractor on the way to the farm

All of the families lined up to receive their things

We had to ride a tractor on top of all the stuff to get to the farm, which is about 5k away (and huge, about 80 acres)


Finally made it back to Inharrime after about a week in Maputo for REDES business, and then a few days in Pretoria finally just hanging out. I met up with Ann and Emma in Pretoria as they returned from a trip to Victoria Falls which they raved about. And Anna joined up with us because her brother, who was supposed to arrive in Johannesburg, got stuff in Dublin and she was sitting alone in Joburg waiting for him. It was nice to walk around Pretoria, it seems like a nice town, but it was mostly nice to get to hang out with Emma one last time before she left for America. Note: we stayed at 1322 International Backpackers and it was incredible, they were so nice and helpful, the ambiance (including a pool and outdoor lounging areas) is wonderful, and it is within walking distance of many nice restaurants and shops. Out at a bar one night young men kept walking up to our table and speaking to us in Afrikaans. We would apologize but explain we didn’t speak that language. So then they would say something in English…and we would have to apologize and explain that we still didn’t understand them. The blatant racism we encountered was pretty alarming, but we still had a great time getting to hang out with each other and especially with our dear Emma who we will miss incredibly.
This afternoon we went to the mission’s farm for the tri-monthly distribution of supplies to families that are part of the assistance program. Through a “godparenting” program (that you can support if you visit the mission supports over 600 kids and their families in the area. Today we handed out rice, bars of soap, and sugar to these families, I will post pictures.


While Anna and I were in Maputo working on REDES stuff at one point we had to go to the slummy part of town to run some errands and then catch a chapa out of town to visit one of Anna’s REDES girls since Anna is going to be in her mother’s wedding. We didn’t get harassed too badly which was nice, though walking around that part of town as two white girls is never fun. Actually, that’s where I got chased by the guy with the knife my first weekend in Mozambique, luckily that didn’t happen this time.
After running our errands we set out trying to find the chapa to Anna’s student’s house, but we weren’t having any luck. Searching for the right chapa, I asked a man on the side of the road, “excuse me sir, do you know where the Liberty chapa is?” He nicely but sternly corrected me: “Good morning.” This was incredibly rude of me to just ask him a question without properly greeting him first. I hung my head in shame, “Good morning sir, how are you?” “I am fine thank you. And you?” “I am fine too, thank you.” And then he smiled and told me where to find the chapa.

Thursday, December 16, 2010


I have spent this past week down in Maputo working on REDES. We had a meeting with most of the national directors over the weekend to fill them on all of the changes we have made for this coming year which was good. We also have had meetings with many of our bosses this week and have learned many things and gotten a few reality checks. It felt like we were getting hit by a bus a few times, but not necessarily in a bad way, it was just the reality check we needed. So what I was hoping would be the start of my holiday vacation and a little R&R time in Maputo has turned into a ton of work and a pretty stressful week. But when you are working on something you are really passionate about it's different, so it has been stressful and busy, but in a good way!
Tomorrow Anna and I leave for Pretoria where we will meet up with Emma and Ann after their trip to Victoria Falls. I will get two more last days with Emma before my mom and brother get in and we return to Inharrime for Christmas.
Also, apologies for my absence on the blog, my computer recently crashed so I haven't been able to type recently. I will try to keep up during the holidays but I make no promises. Pictures will be posted after. Merry Christmas and happy New Years to everyone!


Erin, our new sitemate, arrived to Inharrime today--Welcome Erin! When she got in we talked to her school director a little bit and also her roommate (and Emma's former roommate) who is also an english teacher at her school. Afterwards we showed her around town a little bit, introducing her to the ladies in the market we like, the two who never called us mulungo or try to rip us off, as well as pointing out places where she can get certain things. After cooking our Inharrime specialties for her we walked her home so she could spend the first night in her own bed and helped her hang her mosquito net because, get this, I am actually taller than her! I am leaving Inharrime tomorrow until December 21st and Ann leaves Inharrime the day after which is a little unfortunate but it will also force her really get integrated and get to know people in our community.


Yesterday was Emma's last day in Inharrime. We "passear"-ed around town just so she could soak it in a little more, then went down to the beach on the lagoa in our town. After dinner we went to the hotel for a few last beers and there we ran into many of her colleagues and friends so she was able to talk to people for the last time. Today she caught a bus down to Maputo for COS (Close Of Service) stuff before she becomes an RPCV. Sad.
Last night at the bar two guys, probably around 18 years old, came up to me and said (in Portuguese) "good evening teacher, he is one of your students." First of all, I know every single one of my students' names--you are not one of them, second, you are at least 17 years old and not an 8th grader, third, is that seriously a pick-up line?

Monday, December 13, 2010

Last Wednesday, December 1st, was World AIDS Day. As with all holidays in Mozambique, people gather at the town monument in the morning for a ceremony.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hard proof of the benefits of double-digging, check out the roots on tht lettuce!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

As a going-away gift, Ann and I made a mobile for Emma that was very Inharrime-ish. It hangs from a paneira which is made in Inharrime from reeds that grow in the river. The shells hanging from it were all collected in Tsene (John and Yvette's place), and the pictures are on straw bags, again made in this area.

Me with my two host siblings, Aiton and Anata


One of my colleagues gave birth last November and thus missed all of the work we are doing currently last year. During a particularly tedious task this morning she exclaimed “this sucks! I am going to give birth every November from now on, just so I can miss this work!”
At the end of work today my director told all of the faculty that one colleauge’s mother had died, they would be having prayers and a spirit sending ceremony for her tomorrow, and if anyone needed to take the day off to grieve they could. I don’t even know this colleague and certainly don’t know his mother, so afterwards I went to talk to her to tell her I would have to miss tomorrow morning in order to return to the Migration office to pick up a document. She gave me a look like I’m a bit of an idiot, “didn’t you hear me say that we don’t have work tomorrow?” “Well you said that if anyone needed to take time to grieve they could.” She was perplexed, “well I suppose if people showed up to work I could give them things to do.”
After work today Ann, Emma, and I went out to Tsene for one last time as the three of us. Yvette wasn’t there unfortunately, but John and Deon, the dive master, were. The three of us prepared sushi for dinner which turned out wonderfully and John and Deon overcame their initial skepticism and ended up loving it. Deon also made braai (South African barbeque) which was delicious. Tsene is really one of the most wonderful places in the world. We didn’t touch the dogs this time though.


Emma’s goodbye party was today. At 7am this morning Ann and I met up with her and one of her colleagues who is also one of my colleagues (he teaches at both schools) and he drove us to her school so pick up the plastic chairs and tables and large cooking pots she was borrowing for the party. When we were loading the truck our colleague mentioned that there weren’t many chairs. “That’s okay, the men can sit in the chairs and the women can sit on the ground on mats.” (In traditional Mozambican families this is the norm, at meal times the father and older sons eat at the table, the wife, daughters and young children sit on the floor.) When I didn’t so much as crack a smile, he said “but it’s okay though, the women here like to sit on the floor.” No actually they don’t, Ann and I disagreed with him. “Well it’s just because of the clothes people wear, it’s easier that way.” Actually, Ann disagreed with him, it’s much more difficult to sit on the floor in a skirt. Later, once we had loaded everything into a very full truck bed he joked, “the girls will have to hang off the back.” He called us (Ann and myself) meninas which means girls and is incredibly offensive. I would have been annoyed by anyone here calling me that, a vendor or a person on the street. But for a colleague to call me that is absolutely ridiculous and I told him so. Having errands to run in town, and thinking that it might be bad for my professional life here if I tweaked out on a colleague, I excused myself to go into town and get away from that situation. Last time I ever do you the favor of typing out your exam for you, jerk.
Emma’s party was amazing. She gave a short speech at the beginning, her director gave a speech and her colleagues presented her with gifts of capulana. Afterwards everyone had plenty to eat and drink and eventually everyone started dancing—a fantastic party. Anna and Joyce came up to the party to surprise her and Donna and Luis came down too. A few times a couple of us female PCVs almost came to blows with a few of Emma’s male colleagues who have more traditional views on how to talk to and treat women, but Donna reminded us that he aren’t going to change a 30 year old jerk and for Emma’s sake we should just let it go.