Tuesday, May 29, 2012
Back after spending the weekend in Swaziland for the Bushfire music festival. We had a wonderful time (there were about 25 PCVs from Mozambique there), the music was good, the food was good, and many of us got fun souvenirs! Yesterday crossing the border back into Mozambique I walked up to the three men checking passports of people leaving Swaziland. “I want to marry you!” one of them yelled at me. “No.” “No?” “No,” I responded again. “You are married already?” “No.” “Not yet?” he asked. “A few more guys like you and not ever” I muttered. “What?” I just shook my head and took my passport back.
Thursday, May 24, 2012
My job has really taken off recently, so I have been extremely busy, but it’s a good kind of busy doing things I love! This past week the PMI (President’s Malaria Initiative) team from headquarters in DC has been here to plan and write the MOP (Malaria Operational Plan) for FY 2013. I went to the Culver Academies for high school which is a military school on the boys’ side, and I thought we used a lot of acronyms then. But this new world I’m working in combines government employees, malaria specialists, and budgets—and suddenly some sentences are more acronyms and specialized terms than other words! I got to sit in on the meeting where each of the PMI-supported implementing partners in Mozambique presented their work during the past fiscal year. Their presentations included sentences like “the promotion of LLINs in partnership with PSI and SDSMAS” and “run capacity assessments with DEPROS and NCP staff in SBCC” or “gap between ANC and IPTp rates, largely due to stockouts and poor supply chain management.” Interestingly, I know what all of those sentences mean, though I wouldn’t have a few months ago. It’s a whole new world with its own language. Anna has been gone for about a month doing site visits for her position, she just returned home today! I haven’t been at home much either, between the PIRCOM training and meetings in Maputo, but it’s nice to have her back. And I don’t really like being in the house alone. It’s a really loud house—we have a tree that leans over the house and scrapes along the tin roof when the wind moves it. One night while I was alone I made the mistake of watching a CSI-like show right before bed. It was a windy night and at 2:30am I woke up convinced that there was someone on our roof. The tree was making a racket on the roof and also setting off the motion-activated light we have on our latrine. So at 2:30am I found myself standing in the middle of our common room with my rape whistle in one hand and large knife in the other muttering “okay, come and get me you bastards.” Eventually I convinced myself it was just the wind and I went back to bed. So yes, it’s nice to have Anna back. All the neighborhood kids know my name now. Actually sometimes it’s closer to “Ana” than “Anata” but I’ll take what I can get—at least it’s not “mulungu.” The other morning one of the neighbor boys (one of the ones who followed Anna and me down the road a few months back) came running up to me when I returned from my morning run. As he came tottering in, arms outstretched for the hug, I saw the huge glob of snot under his nose, pretty typical of any kid under 5 here. So as I happily received my first hug from a neighborhood kid, I tried to show affection while preventing his face from actually touching me. I ran into Irmã Ana (who was a sister in Inharrime the past two years and now lives with the sisters here in Namaacha) last night. Tomorrow, May 24th, is Holy Mary day, so the sisters are preparing a celebration at their school here in Namaacha. She was returning from my neighborhood with a class of students from the secondary school. To commemorate Holy Mary day each class did some sort of community service project—this class was returning from an elderly woman’s house where they had repaired her roof and done yardwork. She excitedly told me about another class in which one girl was having an operation, so the class was surprising her with a wheelchair they had fundraised for.
Thursday, May 17, 2012
This morning I returned from buying energy and some food and as I approached my gate a few of the neighborhood kids ran up chanting “it’s big-sister Anata, it is, it is!” It was the first time they have ever done that, it was a really nice feeling. My job is going really well now which is awesome, but means I am busy as ever!
Recently I caught a chapa in Maputo and the driver was hitting on me. Nothing new there (not because he thought I was attractive, but because he was dazzled by how white my skin was), and I brushed him off. The next day I caught the same chapa again so I avoided eye contact. Then later that day I caught the same chapa AGAIN and laughed because the only open seat was next to the driver. “You know, I’m not a witchdoctor” he said “this must be fate.” I just laughed because I couldn’t honestly think of a good argument. I was about to get onto a chapa on a crowded Maputo corner when I heard “mana Anata!” It was Sandra, one of the girls who had been living with the sisters and training to be a sister in Inharrime the past two years! We made plans to meet up next week, since it was late in the day and I was worried another chapa might not come along soon. One of the funny things about Mozambique—it’s a huge country with 22 million people but with only one national highway and a few major roads in the capital, you run into people all the time, or will be driving down the highway and pass a car and say “oh, I know them!” This week I was up in Massinga, Inhambane province attending a training about malaria put on by PIRCOM (Programa Inter-Religioso Contra a Malária). Read about it and see pictures at http://stompoutmalaria-mozambique.tumblr.com/!
Saturday, May 12, 2012
Apologies, I have been on the road to a fantastic malaria training (I will post a description) and on top of that I am extremely busy! Here are some pictures to make up for my lack of writing.