Monday, July 23, 2012


Julia's trip is going well! We just got back from Casa de Mar, enjoying some wonderful beach, ocean, and sun. Now we are back at my school and orphanage in Inharrime enjoying multiple hugs every second from all the girls here! Two days here, then down to Namaacha, then off to Cape Town!

Friday, July 20, 2012


After a rocky start to her trip, Julia has arrived safe and sound! Welcome to Africa and Mozambique Julie! We're off to the beach tomorrow morning!

Also Cait, one of my best friends since I was six years old gets married tomorrow! Congratulations Cait! (Plus, another excuse/opportunity to show off a picture of Baby Anata!)

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

If you were following in April, then you know that April was dubbed "Blog About Malaria Month" by the Stomping Out Malaria in Africa initiative, in an effort to raise awareness about malaria in preparation for World Malaria Day on April 25th. To encourage participation, we had a little friendly competition between Peace Corps posts across Africa, to see who could have the most involvement. Mozambique came out on top with 24 malaria awareness events (blogs, activities at PCV sites, new releases, etc) throughout the month!

Tuesday, July 17, 2012


            The past two mornings the neighborhood kids have come knocking on our gate to ask if they could pick papayas from our tree. I am extremely pleased that they are doing this because they can actually access the tree from the next-door-neighbor’s yard, and we have yelled at one girl (the one who is always causing problems for us) because she would climb up on our roof without asking. I reminded the kids that we always allow them to come into our yard to pick fruit when they ask, and to do what that other girl does shows very poor education.
            The yellow things in the picture are what everyone here uses to carry and store water in. Water was coming out today (the black hose) so it means that the morning is spent rotating those yellow containers in to catch the water, and filling our various water receptacles inside the house.
            The girl who does our laundry told me this morning that grades from the second trimester came out (students are currently in week two of a two-week school break between trimesters one and two) and she passed with a 14 average out of 20. I am incredibly proud of her! Getting above an 11 or 12 in Mozambique is extremely difficult, and if she keeps it up, she will be exempt from taking national exams at the end of the year!

Saturday, July 14, 2012


            Yesterday I arrived at my house, pulled my keychain (which includes a lanyard, all four of my house keys, the Peace Corps office key, my swiss army knife, my camera, and a small zip purse) out of my bag and realized with a sinking heart that my house keys weren’t on it. I always take my keys off to stick in my bra for my morning run, and apparently this morning I had just dropped them on top of the keychain, rather than reattaching them, so when I grabbed my keychain on the way out of the door, they stayed behind on the table. So I was locked out of my house for the second time in a month. I’m an idiot. Unlike the last time I locked myself out, Anna wasn’t around to rescue me (she is in Nampula province), so I had to figure this one out on my own. The good news is that I was able to break into my own house and get my keys out. The bad news is that it took me only 14 minutes to break into my house. Luckily I am resourceful and have long skinny arms, so two sticks, an old sock, a lanyard, lots of maneuvering, and 14 minutes later I had fished the keys out a window I had jimmied open.


Yesterday, in the eight minutes it takes to walk from the main road to my house, I made two kids cry. And these are kids who see me on a daily basis, one is the grandson of my bread lady, the other is my neighbor. Just another day in the life of a PCV.

We are right in the middle of dry season now, and it is DUSTY. I am sure it doesn’t compare to other countries that aren’t blessed with our rainy season in addition to the dry season, but it’s still unpleasant here. All of our green trees and grass are not a little less vibrant in color, having been covered by a layer of brown dust. None of the roads other than the main one are paved, so anytime a car passes people shield their faces from the dust clouds that follow it. You can taste it on your teeth and lighter shades of clothing have to be washed after one wear.

I walked home at about 7:45pm a few nights ago and ran into two little kids (probably 5 and 7 years old) skipping down the street alone. “Hey, go home and eat dinner, I bet your mother is looking for you!” I chided them. “No we already ate!” responded the older one. “Well then what are you doing out?” I asked them. While I think that American kids could benefit from more freedom and less supervision, one thing that bothers me in Mozambique is how often I see (or hear, let’s be honest I’m usually home by then) kids out at night, and I wonder where their parents are and why they aren’t concerned. These two kids had been sent in search of their dad who was presumably at the bar, since he hadn’t come home for dinner.

Nick, our South African friend who lives in Swaziland (we stayed with him during Bushfire this year) came into Maptuo recently to do some banking. He told me that he had Google searched for a BCI bank in Namaacha, in hopes that he wouldn’t have to go all the way into Maputo city, but instead my blog came up.


Last week I traveled up to Zambezia to coordinate a malaria prevention “training of trainers” with PCVs and their counterparts from eight districts across Zambezia. Check out to read about it and see pictures!

This trip was my first time north of Inhambane province. Pause for a second, find a world map and really appreciate how huge Mozambique is (twice the length of California, I’ve been told). And since teachers’ schedules are quite rigorous, teaching for 9 months of the year and controlling and grading exams while not teaching, and my school was fairly strict (not letting me leave during breaks like many of my PCV colleagues’ schools did), I haven’t had much time to travel around the country. I unfortunately didn’t have time to fit much other travel into this trip, but it was great to at least get a glimpse of other parts of Mozambique. One thing that struck me is that it wasn’t as Islamic as I had expected, having learned that in Mozambique the south is predominantly Christian and the north is predominantly Muslim. And maybe part of this is due to the fact that the south in fact has, in my opinion, a large Muslim presence (I can actually hear the call to prayer as I write this, and both Inharrime and Namaacha have large mosques), and Zambezia certainly wasn’t Muslim the way Senegal was. What I thought was the coolest were all the bike taxis everywhere. For shorter distances (within Quelimane city, for example), rather than the chapas that are ubiquitous in the south, there are hundreds of bike taxis everywhere, where passengers sit on a cushion on the back rack. It makes trying to cross the street as a pedestrian terrifying, but I loved the idea of everyone on bikes, rather than piling into the hunks of metal chapas we have down here.

And, the BIG DIPPER is visible from Zambezia! Apparently it’s close enough to equator that it’s visible. (Again, take another look at a map and appreciate how long Mozambique is).

I caught the night flight back to Maputo, and as we rode our bike taxis in the dark calm of early evening on the tree-lined road to the airport it was almost idyllic. Then three men rode by on a motorcycle (yep, three), with the driver drinking beer out of the bottle as he drove. And then, killing his bottle, he chucked it to the side, a few feet in front of my bike taxi, so we had to swerve to avoid the shattering glass. I just shook my head.


Sorry my blogs have been sporadic recently, I have been on the run for a couple weeks now.

The newest group of future PCVs (they will swear in as Peace Corps Volunteers in August) is here in Namaacha living with host families and doing Pre-Service Training for ten weeks (just like I did almost three years ago). The last week of June was given a malaria focus*, with a session from the Peace Corps Medical Officer (PCMO), a session from the President’s Malaria Initiative (PMI) resident advisor (who I have been working with this year), and me, the Stomping Out Malaria in Africa team member for Mozambique. The PCMO session would cover a bit of the epidemiology of malaria, but focus primarily on the risk of malaria to them as PCVs and the precautions they should take to avoid getting malaria. The PMI session would focus on what is being done in Mozambique in the fight against malaria by different organizations and the national policies and prevention/treatment strategies. Then my session would give an introduction to the Stomping Out Malaria in Africa initiative, how they could be involved in the initiative, and how they could integrate malaria prevention into their sites and jobs. Since my session was last in the line-up, my plan was to sit in on the other two, so that I could know exactly what the trainees’ knowledge level was. After the PCMO’s session I casually asked who would be doing PMI’s session the following day, since I knew the resident advisor is on leave in the states. I was told, in an equally casually manner, that the PCMO would be filling in to do the session, but that she didn’t want to return to Namaacha (from Maputo) two days in a row, so the session had been switched to a different week. I panicked because my session would make ZERO sense without the trainees having learned the information from the PMI session. Since I attended the Stomp boot camp in February and have since read about every new article (or the abstract, let’s be honest) in malaria research and prevention practice worldwide, I feel fairly comfortable in the subject—so I suggested I give the morning PMI session, in addition to my afternoon session. All this happened at about 3pm the day before these sessions were to happen, and all I had from PMI was the powerpoint that she had planned to use, but none of her notes to go along with it, so I spent the next 8 hours preparing for my surprise session. The great news is that I think both sessions went well and a few trainees approached me afterwards to express their interest in working malaria prevention and ask additional questions about how they could become involved.

*Despite the fact that malaria is the #1 killer in Mozambique, accounting for 29% of deaths, it gets very little attention in comparison to HIV/AIDS. All of the Mozambique Health sector PCVs are funded by PEPFAR (President’s Emergency Plan For AIDS Relief), and are thus primarily HIV prevention volunteers. The most recent studies report that the HIV prevalence rate in Mozambique is 11.5%, so it absolutely should receive attention and funding for prevention/treatment activities, my problem is that it often does so at the expense of other health issues, such as malaria (again, the actual #1 killer in Mozambique), nutrition, STIs (Sexually Transmitted Infections—during my Pre-Service Training the national prevalence was 79%!), and tuberculosis (which I have been exposed to since being here and one of my PCVs friends who recently closed her service tested positive for).

Friday, July 13, 2012


Sorry I haven't written in so long, all my traveling and work has been great, but I am still trying to catch up on  the work I fell behind on while doing it! The Ambassador is leaving Mozambique next week, here is (from the left) me, Anna, and Cameron at Peace Corps' goodbye party for her (sporting our capulana dresses!). I will update tomorrow!

Tuesday, July 3, 2012


            On Saturday I was buying samosas from my samosa lady when her friend said “estás a ver como tua branquinha está bonita?” Literal translation: do you see how your little white thing (brancinha is the diminutive of a female white thing) is pretty? I just smiled awkwardly—I still have no idea what a proper response in situations like this is…
            On Sunday our host mom sent my brother and sister to mass with me, this is them on the walk back.
            Off to Zambezia province for a workshop on malaria prevention!