Student Blog Posts VI: English Teachers, The Environment, and Teenage Pregnancy (unrelated to each other)

My name is Martinho .M.C. I am a man of 25 years old, Mozambican now living in Cuamba and doing teachers course. I like watching TV, reading books, listening to English programs, playing soccer sometimes, and my favorite dish is rice with chicken. Here in Mozambique we start to learn English in standard six, what is very difficult for us. Some schools in my country are facing problems of English teachers. One school is having one teacher for more than seven classes. It happens like that because our country has been colonized by Portugal and we learn English as a special language. English in Mozambique is very important to be learnt because it facilitates the communication with other countries around and abroad. But English to be learnt well in our country we need to start in standard one. I think it could be a nice thing to new generation and it is one way to develop the English learning system. Our country needs to learn more English. In this point we need well-qualified English teachers.

My name is Adamo R.J., the name Adamo but I am known as Day. I am africain nationality of Mozambican, Niassa province, district of Cuamba. The name of day atrvez of this arises child my parents chava me from daymilson and to emcurtar the name came to me day and pasted right too me because I sing. (I think he means, “The name “Day” arises from my childhood when my parents called me daymilson, nicknamed Day, which stuck to me because I sing). All my grandparents are alive and living here in Cuamba on the farm. My grandfather’s a tailor and my grandmother is a peasant.

I was born in 1990 in this district in the neighborhood of adine3. In this mean I have 24 years old. I live with my parents and three brothers with a baby sister, all of whom are studying. My sister is studying in secondary school of Cuamba in 11th class in the Medicine course, and my brother doesn’t live with us, lives in another district called Mandimba studying. He also is in the 11th grade in the course of economy, the third studies at Maguiguane.

My father works in the hospital as the laboratory technician. He calls himself R.J.S. and is a very good person. My mother is a peasant girl named M.E.L. and is a very caring usually, a few moments she is bad depending on the situation.

I’m a father of a beautiful daughter named Kelly. She is this year, she was born on January 6 and is 9 months. I have a girlfriend who is mother of my daughter, she is also very beautiful, nice, honest, respectful, that I love very much.

I am very fun. I am a young man of great peace in my heart, I don’t like talking too much less smile ideas from a friend, I am a young man who grew up making trips to my province alone. I’ve lived a long time out of my relatives, most of my childhood I made with my friends, I love to sing and play, until it was my dream to represent my district more by lack of support did not raise the dream. I’m a person who doesn’t like to be forced to do something I don’t want to.

Before I cast on this course I was a producer of music. I had my mini-studio that called sp Studio, I was charging 500 meticais (about $18) to artist who came into my studio to record a song, which I used to buy clothes for my daughter and some candy for her. Not all days reaching artists to write and spent barely these days because in sometimes there was nothing to eat at home, trust me.

But despite all this I never stopped being happy because happiness gives me energy and willingness to face obstacles and the sadness in some times I was showing. And I’ve never been sad when somebody told me, “no Valery get don’t like” I ask favors someone but two times and I like support, little have I share with friends. And I’m happy for my future family that I will have: despite being father too early I’m proud.

In Mozambique there are several problems for detect and resolve, problems of health, environment, political, economical, and others. One of several problems that exist I’ll talk about the problem of environment in Mozambique, nowadays the trees are already losing importance, the population as well as the government no longer bone goes to varus the environment. They say that because of the slaughter of trees that grow, they cut the trees to sell and sometimes wood, constructions and sell to foreign countries like China and others.

If we cut and replace the trees, it would be really good. I think this government is only interested in profits, not losses to the environment, like how the air we breathe comes from trees. Speaking of the uncontrolled burning are you too the population uses the slash-and-burn cassar animals and to scare away the animals on farms.

To end with this gloom, the government should encourage the lectures talking about consequences that the slaughter of trees has and the uncontrolled fires, talking about the importance that trees have, how they act in the life of man, and the reforestation should be seen as something serious. This is what I had to analyze and suggest. There are many problems to solve in Mozambique.

My name is Assane .M.M., son of M. M. I am in training at Belmiro Obadias Muianga in Cuamba district, Niassa province. I was born on the 14th of September in 1990 in Cuamba, Niassa, and now I am training in an English course in Cuamba, the district that I was born in and that my parents both live in. I have a brother and a sister; I am second born in the family.

I am going to tell you the issue of premature pregnancy in my country. I am going to focus on why it happens in my country and relate it a little bit with education, the possible ways to reduce and how government is involved with previous pregnancy in my country and some reasons for previous pregnancy.

In my country, most of the girls marry underage and eventually they get pregnancy very soon at the age of 14-18 before they finish their level, it happens because the girls marry because in their minds they think that marrying is the best way to alleviate poverty, when they live in poor family they look for a boy that they think this one can solve my problem because they see the boy changing clothes, each day they don’t ask about themselves where is this boy working and how does he get such good things. They go out with the boy and after he puts them in pregnancy, they decide to ask who is exactly this boy then they find he is a thief, then it’s too late to separate the love. Even the parents can’t do anything else. Our country, our government doesn’t offer high quality of education, in that it doesn’t motivate the young girls to go to school.

Talking about poverty in my country, that contributes to premature pregnancy. You find women with 12 children. It doesn’t allow the parents to take care of all the children. Consequently it’s women who need to have a better life, take other girls and her parents don’t have money, the only way to get money is to go behind boys to have sex and be paid to get clothes, goods, and other necessary things, and the boys of my country we are very sensitive knowing the girls look for us to get our money, we revenge then we ask for sex to repay or replace our money.

The best thing that the government could do to avoid it to happen he could ban night shift schools because many young ladies enroll at night shift schools where they can’t be controlled by their parents, and the government should bring and implement some rules that each and every girl or boy who pregnancyed before have at least 22 years old must be arrested and kept in jail. It should make us afraid or there are some places where people want to have sex, they go and meet many ladies with different prices these places are called at traffic light because when you get there you see a girl or girls coming to you to ask for money to exchange with sex to the best of my knowledge. These places should be sent policemen to forbid, those are selling themselves, and those girls would obey their parents and have a nice time to go to school to study.

Student Blog Posts V: Corruption and Politics

Because corruption and politics can be a sensitive issue, I will only be putting initials of my students.  Later this week I’ll post my own blog post about corruption when it comes to the discussion of grades…

My name is A.A., I live in the north of Mozambique, Niassa province, Cuamba district, Mujaua village. I am a trainee at IFP-BOM learning to be a teacher.

Multi-partism and democracy in Mozambique

The multi-partism and the democracy that is in Mozambique it is not true multi-partism and democracy. He constitutes as a big problem.

Firstly, Mozambique was facing the civil war between Renamo and Frelimo, that is Mozambique National Resistance (RENAMO) and Front of Liberation of Mozambique (FRELIMO). It took 16 years and they came to an agreement. They decided Mozambique to be a democratic country of multiple parties, and Frelimo is a powerful party in the country, never letting others to govern the country. That democracy is not true: if you are in the opposition party you’re treated badly.

The possible solution about I would like to make every effort to give a sensibilisation for people to try to change it by voting another president from another party to see whether it will be the same as did America mainly us.

In my opinion, the election will cause problems. What I hear in Mitukwe (Cuamba) two parties fought (Frelimo and MDM). One of the frelimo’s members tore an MDM flag.   As an MDM politician said, it was begun by Frelimo.

Being in Cuamba yst, in Mucuapa past was the same problem. Frelimo and MDM fought politically in campaing time. Also, one of the members of Frelimo party tore an MDM flag and the promoter was taken to the police where until now he is waiting the process to be analyzed.

In Zambezia died a man who was walking and what the doctors said, he was reported by the campaign member. So I don’t know if it really was Frelimo, MDM, or Renamo.

So when I look these problems happening I lose my way even knowing that I am a future teacher.

You know trainer what happens in our country, when you are in a different party (not Frelimo) you are at risk. If you want to be free to live more time you must obey Frelimo’s rules.

Nowadays, Frelimo is loosing it’s weight. The opposition is getting many places for things like that. For example, in Nampula, Beira, and Zambezia MDM took and won election. When I walk around the village, I see many people very happy and what they say is “Vota MDM, Vota Simango” who will bring more opportunity to youngs. What you have to know about politic MDM and Renamo party they are together. When they win after election on 15 October, they are going to join the votes and to be counted as one. It is political idea about them.

Maybe you can ask, “Why are they fighting?” In war time, it was one party. Renamo president and Frelimo’s members such as Eduardo Mondlane, Samora Machel, Joaquim A Chissano, Armando P. Guebuza won together with Afonso who is Renamo’s president and Andre Machangaissa who is Afonso’s uncle.

While they were fighting against colonialism they stole a house where there were many things such as guns, bombs, and so many. It was in Cabo Delgado. What happened was Frelimo’s members took all the things and hid in the place where Afonso and Andre didn’t know until now. Since this time Afonso and his uncle removed themselves from the group and they created their party which they gave the name of Renamo, which means “Resistencia Nacional de Mocambique”, National Mozambican Power. And who is a lead of this party is Afonso. Now when you trainer ask about election it will be confused I tell you trainer. I am A.A. Thanks, trainer.

I am L.S. I was born on the 5th of March, 1996. I’m eighteen years old. I have three brothers and four sisters. I am from Mecanhelas district, Niassa province. I live in the boarding school of the Teacher Training Center Belmiro Obadias Muianga in Cuamba.

The problem in Mozambique is about lack of employment in Mozambique.

In Mozambique lack of employment is the biggest problem that affects in the country. Many people in Mozambique have level (have finished grade 12), but they are suffering with poverty because of lack of employment. The government is employing people, but the number of unemployment is not reduced in Mozambique. It happens for example when are many people in Mozambique. In the north there is a higher percentage of people because the number of birth rate is bigger. Mozambican people in each family we can find nine, ten children. In this case the government doesn’t manage to employ everybody. It is a problem because with large number of unemployment cause poverty in the country. When the level of poverty is very heavy it causes trouble in the country. The young men turn to become killer and seller to survive themselves. Thieves are result of unemployment. But it doesn’t mean that the government is not able to employ people. So the number of people in the country is very large. The money of payment is few.

The government has to find ways to solve this problem. The population has to understand and reduce the number of birth rate in Mozambique. And to leave everyone to study up to a high level to reduce the poverty in Mozambique to develop the country.

Student Posts IV: Corruption in Mozambique

My name is Cristina .M. and I am from Mozambique, Niassa province, Cuamba district. I am a trainee of Belmiro Obadias Muianga teachers training centre.

Corruption is a big problem in Mozambique. Why is it a problem?

It is a problem in all ministries of education, health, in all, for example, if a person is offended, the offender pays money to a daily police station official. When he goes to solve that problem, he says the offender will be imprisoned as he payed money he is to be free only he stays in the jail for two days and goes home he is loosened. In the schools, teachers need money for student to pass the class. If it is a girl some teacher they want to make sexual relation with her. If a student is intelligent they don’t like him otherwise he will pass the class freely. I think the possible solution if it happens and ease could be announced and the person who does it must be put away of the service.

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My name is Osvaldo .A. I am 7372 days old, and I am from Mecanhelas. I like listening to the news report.

One of the problems in Mozambique is corruption. The doctors in the hospitals are selling tablets. When a sick person goes to the hospital, the doctors say “come next week, because this week we want to treat those who have a stomach ache, and not those who have a headache.” After that, a sick person pays 1000 Meticais (about $33) to be treated. Many people die because they do not have money to pay a doctor.

To pass a class, the teachers want money; The teachers want a student to sleep with them. When the student does not have money, the teachers say he is sleeping. Many students have concluded grade 12, but they don’t find employment because they don’t have money to pay teachers. Many people are buying certificates. As a result, many teachers are weak, thieves, and drunks. When the students pay money, they get good marks, and many intelligent students without money are always crying by the end of the class, and it causes poverty in the country.

To eliminate this problem, the doctor should receive money from the government after he treats a sick person. In this case the doctor will be happy when a sick person comes to receive money from the government.

The tests should be corrected in Maputo where are some wises like a president, so that they can control it. In this case, the mark could not take a part of relationship, but only knowledge.

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I am Lucio A., a trainee at teachers training center in Cuamba district in Niassa province. I was born in 1988 in Nampula province. I am the third son of my family, I am a boy who likes so amuse with friends specifically my colleagues of my course and the rest of my college.

I am going to post here a certain problem of my country, in that I am going to present how it comes for, why it occurs, the possible solution, and the possible points where it affects.

Corruption

In my country, wonderful Mozambique in these days we have been mecalued with a certain problem that comes from our leaders to us, the young men as the work finder. Why am I saying it comes from our leaders? Many gatherings people discuss about it and seems to be tough to be solved. When someone studies and gets a degree to find employment with our government, it’s really hard to employ before she/he sends money to pay those who are managing the working for this you employed.

One of the best ways to try to reduce the corruption is from top. It should be divided the rights in our country we find that the president of the country is also the president of party in power. In that when people look for employment it’s hard because they know our leader leads in two or three places then they do not easily leave employment for us, they ask for money.

When it comes I think the government as refuses he should establish rules saying each one who makes corruption should be arrested. I do remember before last year there was a law, each one who should become rich illegally must be sucked out and lose his/her employment. And the government should let people who apply the criteria of employing people who are not competent because when people are pleased where they are not competent they are doing things with pressure to sell employment. And the people should not accept to pay for their employment by paying money.

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Student Blog Posts III: Education and Corruption

My name is Alberto .A. I’m 23 years old. I was born in 1991 in Nampula city. I’m a trainee of Belmiro Obadias Muianga teacher trainer center. I’m taking English course. I’m living in the boarding school. My father’s name is A.L. and my mother’s name is F.J. I have many friends from school and out school. I have twelve siblings, but we are not all from the same mother. We are from the same father. 6 sisters and 6 brothers. My free time I like play football, dance, and conversation about any kind of topic which we can discuss about the life itself or our academic level.

Grade 1 up to grade 5 I was studying at Muegani primary school and grade 6 and 7 I was studying at Belenese full primary school. Finally grade 8 up to grade 12 I was studying at Nampula secondary school.

Mozambique is a country that the problems never finish. We are facing many problems in Mozambique. The problem that we are facing around Mozambique is:

The lack of an employment

Lack of water because the taps that we have are not sufficient to population because every day many people who are living around society they are remarking about it.

Mozambican school have not sufficient days for students also all primary schools have not school bus neither hospitals.

Corruption is the first problem in Mozambique.

The roads are not good,

When is a project of constructions takes a long time to be already.

Mozambicans have not helps center for the people that their family has passed away.

If you are poor, you are nothing. You can’t have a word.

To end with these problems, Mozambican government must monitor all problem that the government is facing.

My name is Juvencio A., a native of Cuamba, Niassa province. I was born on February 24, 1996, so I am 18 years of age. I was born in Cuamba and grew up in Nampula. Unfortunately my parents are divorced now I’m living with my aunt and uncle. Now I’m in teacher education, English Course.

As for education in Mozambique. In Mozambique education, it is globalized in government. Mozambican education has several problems such as the problem which is corruption in Mozambique. It means that students don’t pass without paying money to teachers, if woman are doing the trade often it is compulsory sexual intercourse.

With the implementation of the new curriculum in Mozambique, education is divided into cycles.

In Mozambique there is a high level of illiteracy because children are rejecting the entry on school grounds if they think it is a waste of time and fearing the return of their property or raped. Not only, but also the Mozambican government has no material for the construction of more schools, and school materials for easy education in Mozambique.

Break away with these problems, we need help to fight corruption, that is, the government should adopt some methods of crime fighting as justice and attorney fortilized.

Student Posts II: HIV/AIDS

My name is Gildo .J.E., I am from Nampula province, I am twenty-five years old, I am not married.

I did my grade twelve in 2011. After that I was relax and I did it one year. (He didn’t work/study for a year). To be a teacher it was my vocation and since last year I would like to be it.

I am not intelligent, but I try to be a better student or trainee and to do something to improve my teaching, reading books, studying with others.

First I would like to say for everybody that HIV/AIDS is a serious disease or problem that take many people to die. And I think all people know that it is not cured.

When we look for the myths some people says that HIV/AIDS is a disease who come here in Mozambique to reduce the Mozambican people, but I think it is not true.

Many people are dying because they doesn’t believe that this disease exists.

So about solution I think the government should have some measures as to do some strategies to eradicate this disease or problem, and should bring more medicine to cure this disease quickly.

Also, the government should bring the medicine to cure this problem definitively. Also, the people should have some measures of prevention of this problem.

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My name is Abilio .A. I am 20 years old. I was born in Nampula city in 1994. I’ve got 4 sisters and 6 brothers. I am the seventh son in my family. My mother’s name is F.L., my parents are still alive, they live in Nampula province. I am in training at teachers training center in Cuamba district, Niassa province where I am taking my course. It is located on your way going to Marrupa. There’s a big boarding school, but I am not living in this boarding school, I am living outside. I used to be a very happy boy when I lived in my state with my parents, but now I am too sad because of my course, I am afraid to fail and I pretend that I am happy while I am not until people think I am a trouble maker. I myself believe that it’s not my behavior. I am only sad and I pretend to show people I am not sad.

I am going to talk about a problem of my country known as HIV/AIDS, a very dangerous disease which is killing many people around my country. I am going to tell you about possible ways to eliminate it.

Firstly, HIV/AIDS is a disease that is killing many people in Mozambique. This disease is known as human deficiency acquired disease, it’s considered like a problem because this disease kills many people in Mozambique, especially young people in the age of 18 years old and on.

The government discusses a lot about this disease but it can’t eliminate it because so far it has no core. It is transmitted by sexual relations without the use of a condom. It can be caused by the use of blood transfusion before being tested, the use of non-sanitized syringes, used objects like laser. The disease kills many people because it contains some virus in our body. When someone has sexual relations with someone who is HIV positive he can get the disease and his body loses the human system that fights against disease and any disease comes and affects our body, then we become sick, then we die. It’s important to remember that HIV doesn’t kill people it only destroys the human system which is responsible to fight against diseases and our body stays with no protection.

The possible ways to eliminate this disease is when someone wants to have sex he or she must use a condom. When he gets this disease he can’t revenge with others to say I have to spread it.

We can’t leave the responsibility for government, we should fight how to get ways to finish this disease going abroad to study about medicine how to finish or eliminate this very dangerous disease in our country in order to be safe and help those who got this disease in our lonely country doing these things. I believe our country one day the new layer of people should live here free and far from the disease which was acquired and destroys our human system.

In government discussion has bring responding in use of condom although some stereotypes say that HIV/AIDS is acquired by using condoms. I don’t think this can be true but there are people who believe in this one hundred percent. Maybe they are right to say that, they perhaps got some experiences in that.

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Quick Update and Student Blog Posts Part 1

“The best thing you could give someone is a chance.”

It’s been a busy month for us so far. We’ve finally got electricity back! Still no water… The first weekend I went to Monapo to visit Henco. We spent a lovely Sunday afternoon on Mozambique Island (Ilha de Moçambique). The following weekend was Dia dos Professores, or Teacher’s day. We didn’t celebrate on Sunday, but on Monday we watched our students sing, lip sync, and act in skits. It was a fun night and our students were very excited to perform. We finally have our EGRA books, so our library program has really kicked off! Last week was also elections here in Mozambique. They have not announced the official winner yet, but it is most likely the leader of the party that has led for the past 40 years.

The side of the fort on Ilha

The side of the fort on Ilha

Me and Henco

Me and Henco

Look at our new fancy stuff for EGRA!

Look at our new fancy stuff for EGRA!

Aside from politics and holidays, the school year is coming to an end here. This week is the last week of school at the secondary school before final exams. Two weeks ago were final exams for the IFP. They still have “test preparation” classes, but the grading aspect is finished. As one of my final projects in my class, I gave my students the opportunity to write a post for my blog. According to the assignment, they were supposed to write a short intro about themselves and discuss a problem with possible solutions. I corrected only slight mistakes to make it easier to understand, but I kept errors because I don’t want to take away the voice of the individual students. I will be posting one or two every few days, so here goes!

My first student cheated and copied his problem paragraph, so I will not include that, but here is his introduction:

Hello, how are you? I’m Daniel .E.C., I am Mozambican, and I’m actually living in Cuamba but I’m from Gurue. I am 19 years old. I was born in 1995.

My mother’s name is D.V. She was a farmer. And my father his name is E.C. he was a mechanic. So they already passed away and I hope god blesses them.

I have got two brothers and one sister. The old one called H., he is 28 years old. And the second named J., he is 25 years old. And the third is a girl named A. She is 20. Soo I am the 4th in my parent’s son.

I started to go to school when I was 7 years old. With 8 I was in second grade. When I was in 9th grade my brother and I moved from where we were living to his post job. There I was doing my 10th grade. It was in Gurue. But in 2013 I moved to here Cuamba to study since it is the place where my brother lives. I did my 11th grade. So in this year I was doing 12th grade so I didn’t finish my lessons because I heard about people who want to be a teacher they can concur making some exams that we were given. The condition was to pass and go to study and know how to teach students. I succeeded in passing that exam. Then there was the new plan to follow in my life. Now I’m here studying to be a teacher since we are finishing the year. I hope I have good luck to pass my second exams. This is my dream teaching English among people who want to learn English as a new language. It is not all; there are many things that I don’t remember. Since I fought a lot to learn English I hope I have your help.

Thank you very much, much.

Daniel's Mural

Daniel’s Mural

My second student is one of my JUNTOS counterparts.  He is very active and even has his own blog: jolnovidosenglishblog.wordpress.com. Check it out!

My name is Jolnovidos P., I was born in Mecanhelas on July 22, 1992. When I was a little boy, my childhood was a bit difficult in the time of teenager. I liked to play as childish also, I was afraid to play with people who did not know me and were not my friends. My speech was not clear and loud. It happens before I enter in any group.

In 2007, July I had applied to be an activist, a program of business where I had to talk about HIV/AIDS, Gender, sexual reproduction, etc. I did the application which I had turned purified to become an activist. After refinement on 10 July I was trained during ten days.

During training I started to get used to people that I had never known. We were always sharing ideas and learning from one another. During training I learnt to get up in public, how can someone get diseases and prevention, working in a group, and I learned a lot.

In 2009 I heard that there was a group of Santegidio also no one was being paid and it was a volunteer work.

In this group the activities is to visit prisoners giving advice, to teach children about peace, look after old people, and right now I like to play with children.

In this group the problem was that the people would miss meetings because even now people are not paid.

In Mozambique I discovered some problems, one of these problems is about leaders.

In Mozambique when people become leaders they don’t respect ideas from citizens, youth, and small leaders because they say that people they didn’t study, and they despise population. I am saying that they despise population because these leaders don’t give the population a chance to suggest. Another problem is about stereotype bad behavior of youth and adults through women.

According our debate with trainer Fei on 15, August 2014, I discovered that men don’t respect women because she said that when she was in Mandimba waiting on a bus in the bus station came a man speaking to her to kiss the man and asking for marriage. It can happen a man asking for girl about marriage, but not the way that the man behaved.

If someone love other people he can try to ask for a good way. Also, my classmates presented the same problem that had happened, but she said are not all men that do the same that happened with the trainer.

Another problem is that women are working more than men in terms of home activities. In Mozambique women are always looking for a man, in this statement means that at home women work harder than men.

To end those problems we have to promote many discussions in our communities to figure out what are the good ways for gender equality.

Jolnovidos's personal flag

Jolnovidos’s personal flag

More to come!

Portuguese word of the day: Eleçōes (elections)

Macua word of the day: mwetto (leg), which goes with wetta (to walk)

French word of the day: Qu’est-ce que (what).  My students are learning questions.

Elections, Teaching, and Mato Living in a Chique House

“Life has so many ways of testing a person’s will, either by having nothing happen at all or by having everything happen at once.” –Paulo Coelho

This year is an exciting year to be in Mozambique. Not only did FRELIMO, the ruling political party, and RENAMO, the opposing party, sign peace accords and finally stop the fighting and raids on each other, but it is also the year of elections in Mozambique, which will take place on October 15th. There are 3 parties with presidential candidates: FRELIMO, RENAMO, and MDM, a breakoff party of RENAMO. On August 30th, the campaigning started.

Even in the states, I’m not a huge fan of campaigning. I believe the goal there has become to humiliate the other party and expose lies or false promises more than to present one’s views. This campaign of negativity—and really the whole political atmosphere in the states—frustrates me to no end. It is equally as frustrating here, but for different reasons. Whereas in the states we have many opportunities to watch debates, look online, and participate in discussions about the views of the political candidates, here the information is rarely available, and mostly lies when it is. I asked my students how we can find out more information on the political parties. They said there are some ways, but everything is a lie anyways, so it’s better to just vote for who you like best (though I’m not sure how they figure it out). Our students are required to campaign for the ruling party and told to vote for them. I’m not sure if it’s legal or not here, but it’s definitely an order that restricts their freedom of voting/thinking. I’m sure this isn’t representative of all Mozambique, but it frustrates me to see such restriction of thoughts and ideas in a political atmosphere.

Politics aside, teaching here has been going well. Caitlin and I taught our students about co-teaching (planning and teaching with another person) and had our students teach lessons in small groups. Some groups were really good and had a great dialogue. Others not so much. The other day I taught how to read aloud. While it may seem a simple skill, it’s a lot harder when you don’t have access to books for a young age and have not had the example of read alouds in school. I read The Little Engine that Could, and my students loved it. After, we played follow the leader to learn about prepositions and they pretended to be a train. Who says adults don’t like to act like children?

Our students playing follow the leader as a train around the football field

Our students playing follow the leader as a train around the football field

We also did a unit where we talked about gender roles in Mozambique. It was definitely interesting. The students, divided into men and women, drew a poster showing the stereotypes of the opposite gender and acted out a short skit to show behavior. The women’s poster just said, “Mozambican men like to drink.” Their skit was about a group of men who were smoking and drinking and womanizing. The men’s poster depicted a woman in a capulana, traditional wear for women, but their skit was about a woman sitting and ordering her husband around. Interestingly enough, some men arrived at the house and began to tell the husband that he wasn’t being a good man. It’s ironic that the men’s skit about what a woman does turned into a commentary on what makes a man. I think it tells a lot about how Mozambican men think.

Boys being Girls

Boys being Girls

Girls being Boys

Girls being Boys

We discussed why it was harder to be a man/woman in Mozambique. The men thought it was harder to be a man because you are expected to work and be the sole earner in the family, so if you can’t find work or provide for your family you are looked down on. The women thought it was harder to be a woman because you are doing manual labor all day: cooking, cleaning, hauling water, taking care of children, laundry, etc. It was also interesting to see the intense stereotypes that they all had. One boy in my class, for example, said that men and women could never be equal because women will always spend a lot more money than men because they need makeup and hair products and clothes and will expect the man to provide for them. Women thought that men only cared about sex. The majority of my class, at least, was optimistic about men and women being equal in society in the future. Hopefully this taught them something about their own stereotypes…

I’m also planning on talking about HIV/AIDS in both my IFP classes and in JUNTOS. It turns out kids have huge misconceptions about HIV and have often been receiving conflicting information from different sources. Their schools tend to focus on things such as that tripping and falling on a knife that an infected person cut themselves on being a strong transmitter for HIV when in reality less than 10% of cases in Africa are caused from blood getting into a cut/wound. I’m hoping to dispel some of these myths and further educate these kids…

The big change in my life recently has been a lack of electricity, and therefore water. It’s definitely been a difficult 3 weeks. I was sitting at our table on my computer a bit over 3 weeks ago when I heard a noise like an explosion and the power went out. Turns out the transformer blew up. Because this is Mozambique and things take a long time, we need to order a new one from another country and go through all the paperwork to import it first. The rumor is that we won’t have power until January. In addition, because the water pump runs off electricity, we no longer have running water in the house. My life just dropped down from posh corps to not-quite-mato. Luckily, the school has a generator. This means that I can go to the guardhouse at night and recharge my laptop/phone. This also means that the water tank/reserve can be at least partially refilled at night so we can get water on the IFP campus itself. Even though we have to haul water, we often don’t have to haul it far—maybe 200 yards. It has made us a lot more conscious about how we use water.

Our life now has become thus. Sometimes we wake up early to get water before it runs out. Sometimes we can get it in the afternoon or at night. In the morning we’ll wash dishes from the night before (since it’s harder to see at night, we leave them to soak). If we have to do laundry (maybe once every week or every other week), we use as little water as possible and only rinse once instead of twice. We use the dirty laundry water as toilet-flushing water. We’ve got a bucket in the kitchen for washing water, 2 buckets in the living room for cooking and boiling/drinking water, a bucket in the bathroom for washing water, and a dirty water bucket in the bathroom for toilet-flushing water. When we bathe, we use as little water as possible. If I am washing my feet, I often use water we used for cooking, such as drained water from pasta. Believe it or not, we use A LOT less water than the other Mozambican trainers here.

At night, we cook over a coal stove. I’ve surprised myself by having a lot of success in general lighting the stove. It takes a while to heat up and to boil water and all, so I usually light it around 5pm when we won’t eat until 7 or 8pm. I’ve had a lot of success making things though, such as sweet potato curry, pasta with garlic sauce, scrambled eggs, soup, and fried rice. Around 5:45pm when it gets dark we light candles in our house so we can see. My headlamp has also come in VERY handy with the coal. Rich and I have taken to watching our way through the office, so we’ll usually watch an episode or two after dinner. Sometimes I go to the guardhouse and let my students use my computer. Sometimes we go to bed before 8pm. It’s definitely been a complete change in environment.

This is how we cook

This is how we cook

I’m hoping that the situation will, in fact, be resolved soon, but it seems nothing will happen until after the elections next month because our director is so “busy” campaigning. There have been a few times that the reserve tank has become empty, or the generator has run out of fuel. Word now is that the nearest well may have dried up. We can only hope that something will change soon. It’s definitely been a low point in my service the past few weeks, but now that I’m getting used to it and I’ve got hope for the future, I’m finding my positivity again!

And because cuteness…

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Portuguese word of the day: Bomba (pump)

Macua word of the day: Wipa (to sing)

French word of the day: L’eau qui coule (running water. I need to figure out how to say this in Portuguese!)