Monday, June 11, 2012
A big welcome to Moz 18, the newest group of Peace Corps Trainees who arrived in country a little over a week ago. Despite a small mix-up with their arrival time at the airport and three of their colleagues going home already, they seem to be adjusting well. They live in Namaacha (where Anna and I live) during their ten-week Pre-Service Training, so we have run into them around town a few times. Thankfully, Namaacha is geographically huge and the area where they have their classes and most of them live is about two miles from our house. As much as it’s fun to see other Americans, learning how to do things on their own is a crucial part of their process of learning how to live and work in Mozambique, so I’m glad we aren’t always available to answer their questions. The downside: I have already noticed more people in town greeting me in attempted English, likely thinking I’m part of this new group. I ran into a bunch of them Saturday afternoon, after having gone to Maputo for the first time that day, to practice riding chapas, buy things (namely, phones), and eat some good food. When I saw them, they were incredibly excitement, trying to activate their phones, exchanging numbers, and making contact with family, friends, and significant others for possibly the first time since arriving. One of the trainees returned from talking on the phone with a big smile on his face. “Was your mom able to get through to you?” I asked. “Yes, it was so great to talk to her, she’s such a tiger mom, she’s so funny!” “What’s a tiger mom?” I asked. The two trainees I was talking with chuckled and gave me a look that mixed amusement with a tiny bit of pity, “oh, you weren’t there when this happened.” So they proceeded to explain the tiger mom phenomenon to me, yet another thing that happened since I left. This happens often. Anna and I constantly have to remind people that we’ve been gone from America since fall of 2009—a really long time.