“When you come to the end of all the light you know, and it’s time to step into the darkness of the unknown, faith is knowing that one of two things shall happen: Either you will be given something solid to stand on or you will be taught to fly.” –Edward Teller
I’ve really dropped the ball in terms of blogging. I had been doing so well! Between teaching, secondary projects, and traveling I’ve been quite busy! Here’s what I’ve been up to for the last month and a half.
The new year with our new students is going along. The students have been working on Phrasal Verbs mini-lessons where they each teach 2-3 phrasal verbs to the class (a verb+preposition that changes the meaning; ex. Run into= to meet). Those have been going along, though they have trouble staying within my time limit. My students also did campaign projects where they each created a political party with a presidential candidate and ran for president of Paradise Land, the corrupt country of which I was the president. It was very interesting to see—many of their campaign strategies mirrored campaign strategies I saw from the presidential candidates last year. For example, they often promised things that were way too big to be possible (giving everyone a bike, building homes for people affected by flooding, free mosquito nets for everyone, etc.). They also focused a lot on patriotism and loyalty to Paradise Land without saying much about party ideals itself. The students had chances to ask the different parties questions too after their presentation, so it was a good way to see them respond under pressure! It was a fun project, definitely, and there was even a political party called Peace Corp! In the end, the political party Greenpeace won.
I had a fun time integrating the project with my TICs class by creating a number of votes for each party (as if Paradise Land had 25 million people) and using that data to teach addition of big numbers and creating graphs on Excel. It was really interesting for the students to see the numbers represented visually! Otherwise, my students in TICs are working on simple research projects. Since we don’t have much access to internet, students are creating their own surveys and surveying colleagues and community members in order to gain some data off of which they can draw conclusions. I don’t expect the “research projects” to be very professional by any means, but I’m excited to see what they come up with and what kinds of conclusions they are able to draw from their “pesquisas”!
Since my last post I’ve also taken on an additional 4 classes of TICs, bringing my total number of turmas to 6. I now teach more TICs than French and English combined! It’s difficult with these classes because, since the semester is almost over, they don’t really have time to do a research project. Their teacher has been sick for over a month as well, so they are starting really at the beginning. Back to teaching students how to click and move the mouse… at least this time I have some former experience to go off of. At the moment I’m teaching them what a thesis statement is and how to make folders. We shall see.
Aside from all my teaching, I’ve been quite busy. My JUNTOS group still meets every Sunday. We gave a lecture about Malaria to over 120 people from the community, and are doing a mosquito net distribution in the community. The 231 families we surveyed are currently short about 1300 nets if they were to have a net for each person in the family. Next week we’ll receive 700, so we can make a dent in that! We’ll also be teaching community members how to hang a mosquito net, how to properly sleep under one, and how to repair it if it tears. Hopefully this project will benefit the people! We’ll be doing house visits in July to make sure they aren’t using the nets just to cover their plants. My JUNTOS group asked to learn about puberty and reproduction, so that’s are next topic. It’ll get us prepared for workshop next month!
My Community Library is going along as well. My counterparts and facilitators have all left or are unable to make it unfortunately, so we are currently in a process of recruiting facilitators. However, I’m planning a training with the nearby church literacy program workers which I hope I can merge with my existing library. The children still come, and it’s encouraging that I can see actual improvement! Aside from those projects, I’m still running my French club, tutoring individual kids, and holding Conversation Club with our students. I’m pretty low on time.
May 1st was Dia dos Trabalhadores, or Labor Day in Mozambique. Having received our T-shirts the night before, Caitlin and I got dressed and got a ride into town to go see the parade. It was in a different spot than last year, so we ended up wandering around for a long time before finally watching it go by Brianna’s front yard. We found a colleague who drove us back, and we just sat outside chatting with our colleagues and tasting chicken parts (we’ve both tried the feet, but only Catia braved the neck!). Finally around 4pm they called us into the gym where we ate, watched our students dance and sing, and tasted foods prepared by all the different classes. It didn’t go on quite as long as last year, but it was a lot of fun!
Last week two friends from my group, Justin and Emma, came to visit us in Cuamba. We made tacos, climbed Church Mountain in the early morning, relaxed, and made a full on Thanksgiving dinner with REAL PIE! Made from scratch! It was all delicious. Before leaving, Justin and Emma visited and guest-spoke in our class. Our students loved them so much that they are still asking for them to come back!
On Wednesday Brianna and I headed to Nampula to take part in the Malaria Task Force training meeting. She is the provincial rep for our province, and I’m on the curriculum committee working to develop malaria curriculums that PCVs can use during their service. We got to talk to some important people in Peace Corps and people in Mozambique who are making big changes in terms of malaria education, which was really interesting! We also got some much-needed time to plan in person. Overall it was fun and I learned a lot!
Brianna and I also decided to go to Ilha de Mocambique for another visit (I visited in early April) after our training finished. We caught a ride there and had a full 26 or so hours of relaxing on the pier, swimming, eating good foods, and hanging with friends. I got to catch up with a few volunteers I haven’t seen in a while (since I almost never leave Cuamba) and meet some of the newer group of volunteers. It was definitely strange to meet a lot of the newer volunteers, especially knowing that there is another group in training. It makes the time feel like it’s going by so much quicker…
Today I got some important news—my COS (Close of Service) dates! I’ll be leaving site on November 21 (6 months from tomorrow—yikes!) and heading to Maputo for some last minute medical and paperwork business. I officially become an RPCV on November 26! Caitlin and I are already preparing our Europe trip and looking at tickets. That didn’t take long! We did have a minor freak out earlier though. Having the actual date we’re leaving makes it seem so close and the time go by so much quicker. I’m realizing how much there is left that I want to do and how little time there actually is. I’ve had quite my share of frustrations here, but at the same time there are so many things I’ll miss, and things that just aren’t possible to live again. Oh, but if only we could! I guess there’s no choice but to go on to new adventures.
Portuguese word of the day: Padrão means pattern. I’m trying to teach a 10 year-old how to recognize patterns and sequences in Math…
French word of the day: Le beau-père, La belle-mère: father-in-law and mother-in-law, but literally translated they mean beautiful father and beautiful mother. Isn’t that poetic?
Macua word of the day: Hirima means heart, or coração