Saturday, October 29, 2005


óla desde moçambique

Hi! It´s been another good week in Mozambique! Eli and I discovered the cashew trade here- they grow tons of cashews in the north and some in the central regions, so you can buy them pretty cheap here (like 4 dollars for a pretty large bag). The other day Eli and I saw a machamba, or farm, where they´re raising crocodiles for meat and skins. They have over 1200 crocodiles and we got to see them pretty close up- someone in our group was poking one with a stick until it bit the stick. We also saw a pretty large banana operation- it was impressive to see the women workers walking around with these huge clusters of bananas on their heads. My host mom tells me then can hold up to 50 liters of water, which is like 110 pounds, on their heads. Also, they sometimes carry huge packages like a big bundle of sticks 5 feet long or more (and really heavy looking) on their heads.
The other day one of our families cabrito´s (goats) got hit by a car. So they strung it up to a tree in our backyard and skinned it. I didn´t see but apparently Eli got a good look at it. So we had cabrito for lunch and dinner last night- hopefully they decided to save the rest for when we´re on our site visits next week. Speaking of site visits, we´ll be gone from Wed to Sunday in groups of 3 or so staying with volunteers. It should be really exciting, and a chance for us to just hang out and learn about how volunteers live here. Eli and I asked to be seperate, so we could try to be with english/biology teachers and see different sites. For some reason this really freaked out the peace corps, who asked us if we needed a marriage councelor or something. Its funny, because we had expected to be seperate during the entire training, and while we do have our language classes seperate because we´re at different levels- we´re together all the time.
Sarah M.- thanks for the advice on lesson planning. We start micro school, which is teaching to our peers in 2 weeks, and then model school, which is where we´ll have actual mozambican classes in 3 weeks. The Peace Corps actually buses in these kids, who are on summer break, for free classes and gives them food and school supplies, so it works out well for everyone.
By the way, our country code is 258, I think I had posted it incorrectly earlier. I dropped off some film today, but I won´t be able to pick it up for a while- I wish I could get pictures out sooner, you just have to see this place to understand what it´s like.
Eli has a bit to say, so here she is-

Hello everyone,
Everything is going well around here. Another week come and gone. I think all the trainees are really looking forward for the site visit, it's like a vacation basically :-) We're kinda running out of internet time, so I'll quickly write an interesting story that happened last night. Everyday we walk by this gas station that's kinda attached to a cafe/bar/restaurant, so the owner came us to us, and told us last week that they were gonna have live music and pizza on Friday night. So all of us Americans we really excited. Then, on Friday night about 30 of us show up asking for a pizza each. Let me tell you, i don't think they knew how to handle 30 pizzas, especially considering they weren't frozen, and their oven was a coal oven made for one pizza. It was pretty funny, Paul and I waited three hours for a small pizza!!! But, it was really good nevertheless. Hey, i gotta go, i have ten minutes before i get shut off.
I hope all of you are doing well. We still havent got any mail from anyone, so write us a real letter, aight? We will try to get some real letters out as well. Love and miss you all,

Sunday, October 23, 2005

Hello everyone,
Today was a pretty interesting day. We got up early, and got into a chapa (bus, but really minivan), and went into Maputo with part of my language group and Paul. There in Maputo, we went to a TV kids show that our Peace Corps Cross Culture and Language coordinator presents every Sunday. Let me tell you that this is national TV, and that considering the limited TV channels in Mozambique, i'm guessing that a majority of the country watched us dance the hokey pokey. In addition, two other volunteers tried to dance a traditional mozambican dance, and Paul shredded some coconut on a thing called ralador (you sit on a wooden seat, and there's a sharp knife on it, and you basically shred the coconut with that). All on national TV!! It was pretty cool :-)
Now we're all checking our email, and after this i think we're gonna go get some pizza :-) and hopefully a pastry shop where i can buy palmeras (mmmm).
This week that's coming up should be pretty intense, more lesson planning, and language class. The week after that tho, we're going on a site visit for a couple of days, and that should be pretty cool.
Anyhow, that's it for me. I think Paul's gonna write something now.
p.s. can anyone post a comment on the blog explaining how to post a comment? Thanks!

Hi, I wanted to write a little more about what Mozambique is like, because in the early 1990's after they had just come out of a civil war it was generally considered to be the poorest country in the world. You know its poor because there isn't a single McDonald's anywhere in the country- which is fine by me (although to be honest there is a KFC in the capital city, don't ask me why). Eli and I actually live with a wealthier family in a poured cement house with a real roof and a very small lawn in the front. The majority of families in our town do not have a grass lawn, and most houses are made of cement blocks with tin roofs. Roofs are generally attached, at least on poorer houses, with heavy rocks. Driving into the city you can see houses which are made of reeds and mudded from the inside and incredibly tiny. Like I mentioned earlier, the people may have one set of nice work clothes, but it's ironed every day- even shirts with holes are ironed every day. Also, everything is cleaned and kept clean. We spend a lot more time bathing and cleaning here, and people go to great lengths to keep everything clean, which is hard because it's very dusty and can get windy. Another thing is that the obsessive cleaning doesn't really apply to the environment- there is no such thing as a public trashcan here, people just throw trash on the ground and don't give it a second thought. So you see lots of wrappers and garbage all over the streets (some of it does get eaten by the goats). Hopefully I will get some pictures developed next week and mail them out- then maybe my parents can scan them and post them here on the blog. Take care everyone,


Saturday, October 22, 2005


my first post!

Hey guys,
This is the first chance I've had to write in our blog (two weeks ago the internet died before i had a chance to even check the blog). But, Paul's been doing a good job writing about our experience. So far, everything is going really well. Everything that we do is new and interesting. For example, just the other day we found a foosball table (futbolin), and decided to play. Suddenly more than a dozen Mozambican kids appeared out of nowhere to play against us, and watch us play (they even cheered for us, it was pretty cool). I guess you kinda had to be there, but it was a highlight of my stay here.
The town where we live (Boane) is a really nice town, the people are amazingly nice (and they go out of their way to be nice too). I don't really want to repeat myself from what Paul wrote, but it's cool to be greeted by everyone when i walk to class (sometimes in english, sometimes portuguese, or sometimes shangana - the local language). And although Peace Corps emphasizes on being smart about your safety (never go alone, don't go out at dark, etc), i feel really safe in Boane. The only unsafe part is walking in the dark, but not because of someone attacking me (or "ninjas" as they call them here), but because I can't see a thing, and i might fall.
Anyhoo, the weather here (since you asked Daddy) is really weird! We never know when it's gonna be unbelievably hot, when it's gonna be cold (i actually wore my coat the other day), when it's gonna rain (every morning it looks like its gonna rain, but so far, it rained one day), when it's gonna be really windy (Boane is really dusty, so windy kinda sucks)... But it's funny, because, every morning we wake up (at 5:30am!!!!!!!!!!!), and it looks like a cool, rainy day. But, once we get to 10am, it can be really hot, and then at around 16:00, it can be really windy, etc. Mozambicans say that they have every season in one day, and it's true.
Changing the topic a little, we've been writing a lot of lesson plans. I dont know if Paul told you, but in a couple of weeks, we're doing something called "model school", in which we will teach a real class, and have other volunteers, PC people, trainees evaluate it. So, now, we've been practicing on lesson plans. I find it really hard, especially since i have no idea what level my students will be, so i'm not sure if my lesson plan is way easy, or way hard. I'll be teaching 8th, 9th and 10th grade, and they say that sometimes you have 50 students in a class!!! I think model school will be pretty cool, but intense.
Aright, i think i'm done for today (tomorrow we're also coming to Maputo, so i can write some more). I hope you are all doing well and healthy.

Thursday, October 20, 2005



In case you want to get ahold of us my cell phone number is 824 101 229, and country code 235- incomming calls are free for us. Also email is fine and we can check that every weekend or two. Eli will leave her number up when she gets a chance. No picture phones sorry. But we can also text for pretty cheap if you want to email your phone numbers to us. Julie I don´t know your cell number. Thanks for leaving comments everyone!



Hi everyone! I just finished visiting the natural history museum in Maputo, which was a special field trip for biology teachers and we get a few minutes on the internet before going back to our training town. Eli and I are still having a great time and everything is going well. We´ve had some pretty hot days and still no rain.
Theres a lot of interesting stuff to talk about. Last friday we got to witness a ceremony at our school, where the neighberhood chief talked about the history of the town and the school, then revealed that the school´s founder was buried nearby. They then killed 6 chickens in front of us by beating them over the head with sticks, cooking them in a big camp fire, and serving us the chicken on leaves. The idea was to cook the chicken in the same way that the ancestor would have. We also got a special drink and were supposed to offer some of both the drink and food to the ancestor. Overall it was really interesting.~
Speaking about killing chickens, I told my host mother that I wanted to learn how to kill a chicken. It seems that other trainees wanted to do the same in the past, and really freaked out when she let them, so she was against letting me do it myself. I did watch someone else´s host mom kill some chickens today though, and I agree that I probobly don´t want to do it- it´s not humane at all, they just saw the chickens neck part way through with a knife and let it bleed to death.
That happened today so it´s on my mind- usually we´re not seeing chickens being killed. Last weekend we had a chance to play sports against some mozambicans, which was fun. Eli and I played basketball (I wore my chaco sandals, which by the way, you can get for 1/2 off if you are a peace corps volunteer, and I wish I´d known that before we bought 4 pairs). Our host brother joined us and played on the peace corps team, which was a lot of fun. Peace Corps does a lot of work to keep our time structured with classes and other activities. So far nobody had dropped out and I think the fact that peace corps takes such good care of us is really helping a lot.
Our portuguese keeps comming along to. We´re starting to work on lesson planning and teaching short- 10 minute lessons- to our language groups. I´m really looking forward to the model school we´ll be having in another 3 weeks or so. Also, we´ll be doing site visits to other volunteers in like 2 weeks and see what things are really like. All the volunteers I´ve met so far are nice and love their sites.
I´m not sure what eli thinks about this but I´m hoping we get placed up north in Nampula or Tete because it´s supposed to be very beautiful and also more isolated. Hopefully Eli will have a chance to update the blog this weekend because I´m rushed and forgetting a lot of the good things that are going on here.


Saturday, October 08, 2005



**This is a personal website and does not reflect the views of the peace corps or the US government**

Hi! Eli and I have been in Mozambique for over a week now, but this is our first opportunity to use the internet and email. Theres too much to tell- but here's what we've done briefly. Our flight was 17.5 hours and not bad in itself- we did have our own little tv's and we could choose from a bunch of movies- but you know how nothing can make a 17 hour flight fun.
We spent our first 3 nights in a resort called Kaya Kawanga just outside of Maputo, but we weren't allowed to leave since we didn't have any language or city survival skills. The resort was very nice and Peace Corps did a good orientation/ vaccination/ simple language program. Eli and I found that we were going to be living together with one host family.

There's way too much to say in my limited time, so let me start with our host family situation. First, we live in a town of 8,000 outside of maputo. at first i was very surprised by the level of poverty, and for some reason i had expected our host families to be a little bit more 'western' to ease us into life here. that was an initial reaction though, and i'm really quite amazed with the people and the life here. my family does not have running water, but it's not really a big deal- we take bucket baths, use a latrine, and wash dishes in a big basin. we do have electricity, and eli and i do have our own bedroom in a seperate building. also our host family is amazing, they are extremely nice people. my father is a nurse, his wife works at home, there is an older brother who is a traffic cop, the younger sister (our age), i have a high school age brother whom i really like- he's also very smart and can understand all my portuguese/ spanish/ english, and a 5 year old boy who's a lot of fun.
even though the houses are cement and far far far poorer than any house i have ever been to in the states the people here all wear nice, clean and ironed cloths and carry themselves with a tremendous amount of pride. the students who are able to study in the secondary schools tend to be pretty intelligent, also everyone is very friendly. we feel very at home here, even after 1 week.

we have seperate language classes of 5-7 people and are learning portuguese pretty fast. eli understands 80 percent of what people say if they speak slowly, and i can use a lot of my spanish to understand or be understood. last night i helped my host brother with a question he had about the appendix and how it helps us understand evolution.

our host family also feeds us well, although its nothing extravagent either (by our standards) we eat a lot of rice, beans, and small ammounts of meat. Yesterday we had fish which was very good, although they also served us the head with eyes intact. i passed, although some time in the future i will try it. we're certaintly not going hungry, and i hear that a lot of tr ainees actually gain weight during training. its funny here because our family does not think we know how to work, and my mom was very proud of me when she saw me ironing my own shirt- although when my father say me he took the iron away from me and ironed it himself- he told me he was giong to teach me how to do it. also my mom was thrilled when i knew how to sweep my own bedroom.....

today I plan to buy a cell phone and eli will get a sim card so she can use hers. apparently we can text msg internationally- so to you guys- for the same price it costs to text someone here, so we can text you really cheaply. please email me your phone numbers if you want me to text you sometime. also, incomming calls to us are free (for us) so if you can get a good calling card, I will get you my number as soon as i get a phone. yes, there is good cell coverage around the country, or at least where peace corps is. its funny because my town does not have running water or land line telephones or internet, but we have 2 cell towers.

Its hard to describe my town and family and life in mozambique- everything is so different, and not what i expected, but also really wonderful. people are generally very curious and nice. women here carry huge loads on there head, babies on their backs in a sling, and groceries in both arms. the ground is dusty and there is trash everywhere. people litter like crazy. on the other hand, there are much fewer chemical polutants. we like to go out and have a coke (33 cents for a 200ml glass bottle) or a beer (85 cents for a good one of decent size) with the other volunteers. once i went to play pool with my host brother, but it was too crowded. also, peace corps keeps us veeery busy- we get up between 5:30-6:30 every day and go to bed around 10ish, they keep us busy with lots of language and culture and safety classes. the other day we had a class on cooking where a group of mothers actually made a meal with us (it took about 4 hours!)

one thing is that the people are always working here, except on sundays. my family never seems to be taking a break, unless it is to watch a brazilian soap opera on their little black and white tv.

Hopefully eli will be able to update with her opinions today too. we're both very happy with everything so far and are definetly glad that we decided to come here!

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