This morning at 1am I got a text from a woman who works for Peace Corps. Because phone service is so bad in our house, I more often than not don’t service, and so then when it returns, I will receive a flurry of text messages. This text read that I should call her immediately or check my email. As a PCV, you tend to get really nervous when you get a strange text like this at a strange hour, and your heart skips a beat when we get a call from an unknown number at a strange hour. I tried to get on my email on my phone and was able to see my inbox—the only email I thought might pertain was from my mother with my brother’s name as the subject line. My stomach knotted, had something happened to my brother? I tried to open it, but then I lost my phone service again. Finally a moment of clarity broke through my half-asleep panic, so I checked to see what time the text message had been sent. It has been sent at 3pm the previous afternoon (yes, I apparently hadn’t had phone service for the 10 hours since then). I calmed down. This wasn’t an emergency, I simply had something time-sensitive in my inbox (and she probably knew that PCVs sometimes don’t check their email for days).
There is a woman named Ofelia who has worked with REDES (Rapariga em Desenvolvimento, Educação e Saúde—Girls in Development, Education and Health) for a number of years as a successful group coordinator. She has emailed Anna a few times asking her if she knew of any job or study opportunities she could pursue. She emailed me recently asking the same thing. This is one of the great frustrations here in Mozambique—there are simply no opportunities for the extremely hardworking and deserving people we know. There are few jobs and it is difficult to get into a university unless one knows the right people or has a lot of money. The students we taught the past two years had neither. I forwarded her email to the Mozambican women who work for Peace Corps and asked if they knew of anything, because I personally had nothing to offer her. A few of them had responded with suggestions, but nothing too concrete.
When I got to the office I finally was able to read the email from the woman who had texted me (also one of the women I had forwarded Ofelia’s email to). She had contacted people at the U.S. Embassy on our behalf, and they had told her about Fulbright and Humphrey scholarship opportunities—the deadlines for which had already passed, but when she told them about this girl they agreed to extend the deadline to this Friday. Which explained the urgent text. I forwarded the information and applications to Ofelia and called her immediately to make sure she saw them and completed them as soon as possible. Cross your fingers!