Tuesday, February 28, 2012


Pumped up after my two meetings yesterday, and satisfied that I finally had the appropriate authority to do so, I sent out two emails to the health sector PCVs in Mozambique, introducing myself and my position and introducing what I hoped we would do this year.
When I missed my flight to Mozambique coming back from Senegal and had to spend the night in Johannesburg I met a guy, Tim, who was in the same predicament. He spent the past two years working in Mozambique and knows some of my PCV colleagues and, strangely enough, knows friends of mine from Bowdoin, my tiny college of 1700 students in Maine that nobody has ever heard of! He won’t be based in Maputo permanently, but he was still around last weekend so he came out to Namaacha to visit us. It was so nice to have a friend visit and interact with people aside from each other (not that we don’t love each other). Currently we only have access to the office here in Namaacha on Tuesdays Wednesday,s and Thursdays, so we work at home on the other days. And even at the office there is only one other woman who works there. So unlike the past two years when we were teachers in large schools (and I lived in an orphanage with 67 girls), our day-to-day lives are not extremely social this year. On Saturday morning we went walking around town because Tim has never been to Namaacha before. We stopped by my host mother’s house to say hi; she wasn’t there but the kids were. Tim is 6’4”, so he scares people even more than I do. My normally hyper and outgoing 6 year old host brother who might be labeled as ADHD in America was unusually quiet and would only speak in one word answers. Baby Anata was playing with friends so we walked over to say hi. Tim knelt down to talk to her and she burst into tears immediately. We all laughed and I was a little pleased that for once it wasn’t me who made her cry. “Come here and give big sister a kiss” I said to her. She neither refused nor accepted, but tottered over to me and let me pick her up and gave me half a kiss on the cheek. As I put my arm under her butt to pick her up I noticed that it was wet—I hoped that she had just sat in a puddle. When we left and I handed her off to the teenage girl who lives with my family I mentioned that Anata’s butt was wet. “Oh yeah, it’s probably pee” she said. A quick sniff confirmed that yes, it was—good thing I always carry hand sanitizer.
Last week I took Amendoim (our dog) in to get his vaccines updated. When I got to the district animal control building nobody was there, so we walked down the street to the district economics building and I said I was looking for the people who deal with animals. A woman appeared eventually and we went back to her building. I showed her his papers and she got out the syringe and appropriate bottle. I held him still and she gave him the shot. For Mozambique, I was pleasantly surprised by how painless it was. It had rained the previous night, so a small amount of water had gathered in a dip on the step, so after administering the shot she reached over and filled the syringe and squirted the water back out to rinse it. I mentally reaffirmed why I will never get stuck by a needle in Mozambique. After the shot, the woman filled out a form to take with me as proof that he is up-to-date. “What race of dog is he?” she asked me. “I don’t know, African?” was my response. This was clearly not a sufficient answer. The other man working in there looked at him and gave her a suitable answer. “You can tell one of his parents was a wild dog though, from his ears.” He does look exactly like the wild dogs you see roaming around in the bush here.

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