JUNTOS Workshop and Other Fun Things

“Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I may remember. Involve me and I learn.” –Benjamin Franklin

Life has been busy and stressful for me recently. Last weekend (my birthday weekend!) we had our JUNTOS workshop. As the Niassa JUNTOS coordinator, I was in charge of planning and running the workshop, which has been quite the experience!

We decided to have our workshop in Metangula, my favorite town in Mozambique. It is right on Lake Niassa and has mountains which come right to the edge of the lake. Beautiful! To get there, however, is a full day of traveling for me. I left my house at 5:30am to get a ride. Unfortunately the car broke down, so I ended up getting into Lichinga around 5:30pm, about 5 hours later than I had expected. Luckily, my replacement coordinator and another volunteer were there to do all the printing and buying of materials! That night I stayed at a volunteer house in Nomba. The view was beautiful, but it was really cold!

Metangula is gorgeous!

Metangula is gorgeous!

The next morning we had some apas and sat down to plan some things out. My Mozambican counterpart and I got on a chapa around 11am to head to the lake and work everything out in person. When we got there, we went to the hostel we had rented out for the event, but found they had given some of the rooms away! This resulted in us running around town trying to find other hostels to host kids. In the end, we worked it out amongst 3 places, but it was quite stressful! We also went to talk to the district administrator. He made us wait for half an hour, then yelled at us for not e-mailing him first before he realized we weren’t using people from his district. He then shook our hands and let us go. Oh Mozambique…

The kids began arriving in the late afternoon. We split them up, let them settle in, and had some dinner. After dinner we were all exhausted, so we let them have some bonding time and rest. We spent the entire next day doing sessions. The topics were Self-Esteem, Leadership, Puberty and Reproduction, HIV/AIDS, Malaria, Abuse and Violence, and a new section on Sexual Orientation and Identity. We played some games and had a blast! There were also a TON of questions that kids put in our question folder, which was great! That night I celebrated my birthday, which I had mostly ignored because of the conference, with a few drinks with friends near the beach. It was a lot of fun!

Group Hug!

Group Hug!

Diversity Games

Diversity Games

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The next day we woke up and had some more stress as we tried to hunt down bread for breakfast. We finally found some, and the kids were able to eat and finish up sessions on the beach. Afterwards we drove to a beach they could swim in. They had so much fun! They were doing acrobatics into the waves, and a number just waded out and had a good time jumping into the waves. It was a long 8 hour ride back that got us home in time to crash, but it was definitely worth it going to the beach! We also gave the kids a treat and watched Lion King and Space Jam on the way home 🙂

Me and My JUNTOS Group!

Me and My JUNTOS Group!

At the beach!

At the beach!

Other than that, we’re finishing up our semester here at the IFP. I officially finished my classes today for the semester, meaning I have the next 2 weeks off. I’ll be traveling a bit in Mozambique for our JUNTOS handover, and then going to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe! I’m definitely excited for that! My mosquito nets are also finally in to distribute to the community of Mendoça in Cuamba! I got 750 nets to distribute to about 250 families, and we’ll be doing follow-up visits to make sure they’re using them properly. My library project is going along slowly but surely, and our IFP crianças are as cute as ever! We even made a cake with them for Dia da Criança (Childrens day). These last few months are moving fast!

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Portuguese word of the day: Ciume (pronounced see-oom-ie) means jealousy. My JUNTOS kids kept saying it and I had no idea what it was!

Makua word of the day: Oloha- dream. I might get the word dream in different languages as one of my next tattoos…

French word of the day: Eglise- Church. The cathedral in Nantes burned down today L

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