23 August 2013
2nd trimester has come and gone and I am 3 months away from COS (Close of Service)! My how time has flown. It’s funny, I can’t imagine a time when I wasn’t thinking that. Originally when I was thinking about joining the Peace Corps, 27 months seemed like SUCH a long time (as I’m sure it does to all volunteers – not to mention their family and friends), but I cannot think of a time when I wasn’t thinking “Wow, it’s already (insert date here)!” And, while I am certainly ready to be back home with friends and family, I cannot believe that I only have 3 more months here in Macomia. I never imagined it would, but this place really has come to feel like home. I wish I had time to get to know it even better.
As it has been sooo long since my last blog entry, I think I’m going to do more of a highlights reel of the things that have happened in the past 3.5 months. I’m sure as I get even closer to finishing up my service, my posts will become more reflective and philosophical, but for the moment there are still a lot of happenings to report!
- Teaching – 2nd trimester was a HUGE improvement
over 1st. I really
enjoyed teaching, particularly my 11th grade English
students. I gave them much harder
material and tests and they really rose to the challenge. And I saw definite improvements in their
speaking and writing abilities.
It’s going to be sooo difficult to leave them at the end of the
year. I really wish I could
accompany them through graduation, at least as an outside source of help
if not their primary teacher. Noções classes went well too, and
fortunately the P.E. teacher is now back so my workload has diminished
- English Theatre – Our English Theatre group is finally
underway! During the week of
testing at the end of 2nd trimester, I held auditions for 11th
and 12th grade students interested in participating. We had pretty good turnout with 16
students and it was really hard to turn down anyone, but I chose a group
of 10 really strong students (including 2 girls, yay!) to be the
participants. Last week, we sat
down to write the play together and it came out really good. It was entirely initiated by the
students. The overarching theme of
the competition is “The choice is mine, the future is ours.” so we
designed a play that shows some different choices available to students in
terms of their education and how that will affect the future. The play also sheds light on some of the
corruption present in the Mozambican education system. Again, it was all their idea! I’m merely
there for support (and translation, pronunciation, etc.) We’ll be traveling to Montepuez at the
end of September to compete against 3 other teams. Wish us luck!
- New member of the family – We got a kitten because we have rat
problems. It’s a boy, but we named it “Fofa”, which means “Cutie.” The
kids love it. We love/hate it
depending on our level of patience at the given moment.
- Music – Since the last time I blogged, my involvement in music
here in Macomia has exploded! I had
been playing a lot of guitar with one of the 12th grade
students, Zito, and we were able to perform at the Macomia Day celebration
downtown. Since then, I’ve recorded
3 songs with he and his group “Niggas Estranhos” – I explained to them
that this term was offensive in the states, but here they just think it
means someone who is involved in Hip-Hop and far be it for me to crush
their dreams. The group is made up
of Zito, his cousin David (another 12th grade student) and one
of my 11th grade students, Alfane. Zito writes some beautiful songs and he
and the other boys write lyrics to go with different instrumentals that
you’ve probably already heard.
We’re working on 4 more songs to get recorded before I leave. In one of them I rap(!) I secretly hope we don’t manage to record
that one because, while these ‘talents’ might be appreciated here with my
high school students, I’m pretty sure it will just provide reason for
laughing from all of you back home!
- Radio – They started playing our music on the local radio
station. It’s community radio, but
actually reaches pretty far – past the boundaries of our district. One of the DJs also asked us to come
down for an interview one weekend, which ended up being a two-night event!
We had such a great time! It was fun to get my voice out there and be
introduced to a new community. Of
course, the boys are ecstatic to be getting there name out there and feel
famous. It’s really fun to see. The DJ actually asked me to come down
and help him broadcast sometime. He
wanted to get a female voice out on the radio to encourage more girls to
become involved. I finally went
down and participated last weekend and will probably do so again! I
started off feeling very out-of-place, and I’m sure it was obvious to the
listeners as well. It was hard to
know what to say and I just didn’t have the radio lingo down. But by the end of the night we’d gotten
into a good rhythm. Lots of
listeners called in and said they’d enjoyed the program and hoped I’d be
back on the next night!
- Vacation – Eryn and I had a WONDERFUL vacation just getting to
know our own province. It started
off rough – we went up north to Mocimboa da Praia and the roads were so
bad that Eryn got sick. That was
an interesting experience. It’s a
very Muslim town and since it was the middle of Ramadan, we couldn’t even
find a place to eat lunch!
Everyone was fasting. But we
enjoyed walking around the fish market and seeing another part of the Cabo
Delgado coastline. Then we went to
Mueda, which was an equally awful trip: 30 people in the bed of a truck
filled with cargo in the middle (thus the hottest part) of the day. It took us nearly 4 hours to go about
100 km (if memory serves me correctly).
Mueda was….ok. We did some
good shopping. We came back through
Macomia for a night to do laundry and sleep in our own beds, and the next
morning headed out to the beautiful island of Ibo! The trip went very smoothly. We hardly waited between cars and got a very
comfortable cargo boat to take us out to the island once we reached the coast. We spent a lovely 4 days there, just
wandering around and eating delicious seafood and enjoying good cocktails
at the chique tourist lodges. It
was a much needed break after an exhausting trimester. After that, we headed straight to Pemba
for some sand and sun! The break
was restful and we saw a lot of people.
It definitely rejuvenated us for this 3rd trimester.
- Post Peace Corps Plans – Well, one of the biggest parts of my life these days has just been to think about my after Peace Corps plans. In terms of traveling, my plan as of now is to fly to Portugal and spend a week there before heading back to Cape Verde for a couple weeks. I should be home by Christmas! And…thanks to some researching on my dad’s part and some soul-searching on my part, I decided to apply to law school before getting home! I’d always intended to apply, but had planned to wait until next fall so that I could have some time to rest. But I’ll be home for a good 9 months before school starts and by that time I think I’ll be ready to get going. So…it’s happening! It’s been a challenge due to our lack of internet, but I’ve got a good draft of my Personal Statement and resumé done, so now it’s just a matter of waiting for my letters of recommendation and for the actual applications to open. I’ve actually had a great time doing the research. There are so many incredible schools and opportunities out there! I’ve been pleased to find that many schools have programs that focus on public policy or support work in the public sector, which is where I’m interested in using my law degree. So…I’ll keep everyone posted as the process continues. Keep your fingers crossed!
I’m sure I’ve skipped over a million other fun/exciting/mundane things that have happened, but this is already long enough. From this point on, I’ve just got to take advantage of each day because, before I know it, I’ll be done!