Sunday, May 28, 2006


teaching, climbing and shrimp

Sorry, it's been forever since i've written anything on the blog (Paul has more patience with the slow internet than I do). Everything is going pretty well here, I think both Paul and I are getting extremely frustrated with teaching - we both still like teaching, but it kinda gets to you when you've taught the present continuous for two weeks (this is second trimester of ninth grade, so they've already had a year of English) and students still write stuff like "I is drive a bicycle"! But there are nice things, for example when I got sick and Paul taught the class for me, a bunch of my students came by our apartment to see how I was feeling, so that was nice.
A couple of fun things happening around here: we found some rocks to do rock climbing about a 45 minute hike out of town. It's quite amazing, you're pretty high up so you can get a beautiful view of the bay. We're planning on taking the camera next time. Since we dont have our harnesses or ropes, we just boulder around, which is still really fun.
Paul has gone in a shrimp buying frenzy, so we have about 12 pounds of shrimp in our freezer now! (that's in addition to our box of snickers bars :-)
My girls club is up and running, it's still a little unorganized, but going well. I'm really excited for the Girl's Conference in July (kinda what Paul did in March for the boys). I'll be taking two students from my school and two from Monapo (where two other PC volunteers are at). It's difficult to choose the girls tho, so for now they're writing an essay, and then I'll probably sit down with a couple and "interview" them. We'll see.
Paul is about to finish War and Peace, which was our emergency back-up book! We're hoping to get some new books from the Monapo girls and when my mom and Lyn come :-)
Anyway, I think that's it for today. I hope everyone is doing well. Love,

Sunday, May 21, 2006


5 minutes of fame

Ok, I already had my 5 minutes of fame, when I grated a coconut on national TV during PST, but I had another 5 minutes of fame when I played basketball this weekend. It actually wasn´t really fame, since I didn´t do anything good, I was just the only white person playing and everybody was talking. Our game against Pemba was at night, under the lights (yes, they got light bulbs for the game, and put up nets- we also had referees and jerseys, and about 100 spectators). Somehow we had a coach whom I have never seen before in my life, and I think he only let me play because I´m white (we had 3 guys who are better than me who didn´t get to play at all). We did end up losing to pemba, not necessarily because they´re better than us, but our guys started out pretty darn nervous. Anyways, it was a good time, but I think the games are going to be pretty few and far between- there are only a few towns with teams within a couple hundred miles.

This weekend we got an unexpected call from Bern, the volunteer who had organized the boys conference that I went to. He called us and said he was in Ilha, and the next day he showed up at our door. It was fun to have a visita, since we have so few here in Nacala. On Saturday we went to the beach, where we witnessed a) people brushing their teeth with twigs, then pooping on the beach (they did this in big groups) and b) muslims praying on the beach only a dozen feet from the poopers. This was an interesting contrast.
After lunch at the beach we asked a group of chinese guys for a ride home. It turns out they live really close to us and are working in the lumber trade. We got to talking with them and ended up going out to the local disco together, where it was really funny to see the chinese guys dancing, and we got treated well by the managment. We didn´t come back until after 3am, and since on a normal night we go to bed at 9pm, this morning was a little rough.

Here´s a reminder of our mailing address and contact info for people who want to email
Email: or phone: 82-101229 and you have to look up the country code.

Paul and Elisabeth
Escola Secundária de Nacala-Porto
CP 187
Nacala, Nampula

Hope all´s well and you´re enjoying the warmer weather. Our weather is getting cooler, which is to say, we only sweat a little bit when we´re inside.

Monday, May 15, 2006


What a weekend

This weekend we were invited to church by our empregada, who goes to the baptist church which our missionary friends work at. We were pretty excited to go and get more involved with the community. I am very glad that we did go, because we had a great time. The church is small, one room with cement pews and a thatched roof. It did not remind me of a US church because 80% of the time here was spent singing (in portuguese and makua, and it sounded good). They also had a drum to spice it up! As part of the church ceremony they announce any guests that are there that day, so our empregada, Rosa, took us up to the front and announced us. This church is a little far from our house, but when Eli mentioned that we were teachers at the secondary school, someone in the front leaned over and whispered to her neighbor, `oh, he´s a biology teacher!´ It´s interesting how widely known, if not us at least our presence, is here! After being announced they started singing a song (the words were basically ´it´s a pleasure to meet you´and everyone in the church came up and shook our hands- it was fun). The majority of the service was then singing and announcements, followed by a sermon in portuguese that was also translated into Makua. We may try to go once a month or so because it´s very fun to see the people and hear the singing in Makua.

Last Friday I had decided that I hated teaching, because my new schedule is so bad and my students had just failed a test, tried their best to cheat during it, and then I had to sit through a long meeting which did not accomplish much, if anything. But then I went to school today and had a very good class, followed by 5 students who were telling me about their ideas for the science fair. I was really happy about that, and I only hope that they actually do the experiments. (Most of them seem to involve killing rats, and I´m trying to steer them away from that, as in, how about working on worms?) We have just 1 month to go, so the students will have to work pretty hard to get everything done by then. Hopefully it´s a success! And I´m not serious about hating teaching, that was just one day after a series of bad exams. Normally I really enjoy teaching, and so does Eli (she actually enjoys it a lot more than I do!)

On the 20th my basketball team has a game against Pemba!

Hope everything is going well. Nacala is actually starting to get kind of cool, at least in the mornings, when I now have to shut the windows the keep the cold breeze out.


----» extra news:: we have just found a store that sells Snickers bars for about 4o cents. This is very amazing.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006


Boys Conference Pictures!

I just got these off of the Peace Corps Mozambique website (

Here are my students painting a mural! Thats abdulcadre (number 11) and Ismael in the forefront there. They´re the ones who are going to be leading the mural group at school. They´re working on a painting about gender roles.

A group picture of everyone at the conference. I´m in the middle, in a yellow shirt! We´re in front of the secondary school at Inhambane, which is very nice.

And here I am in the middle of a session on gender roles. That was hard, because its all about what a rough time the mozambican women have, and how the mozambican men have all the advantages, but you´re discussin it with a room full of mozambican men. Not easy. But it was good.

Hopefully someone will email me some pictures of me with the murals I painted! Take care,



Trading Spaces

Today Eli and I traded spaces, or rather, I went and taught her classes and she stayed at home watching tv and eating spanish tortilla (which I cooked) and drinking tea. Its funny how hard words like departure and schedule can be to pronounce.

The school just changed our class schedules. I´m not sure why. But lets do a comparison between the old and new schedules. Old Schedule: Fridays off. New Schedule: 1 class Friday morning at 6:45am. Old Schedule: all of my classes in a row. New Schedule: first two tempos, then the last 2 tempos, with 2 empty periods in the middle. Eli also got her schedule shuffled around, and I think she´s not super thrilled with it either. Hopefully we can switch again next trimester.

Our science fair is slowly getting organized- I think the school as a whole is having trouble grasping the idea, but today I had a student come up and ask me for help with his project(!). Unfortunately, as I was going to teach Eli´s classes, I will have to talk to him about it tomorrow. Also, we´re starting a mural club, to paint he walls of the school. This is the ´microproject´that my students learned about during the boys conference. My counterpart and I are doing a lot of work to make sure it gets started, but from there the kids should be running it. I´m sending in our proposal today, hopefully we´ll recieve about 8 million. (about $320). I´m excited to start painting some murals!

I was surpised to show up at basketball the other day and see that we had a bunch of baskeballs (normally we have just one). Then I was surprised when we started stretching as a group. But I was really surprised when we started drills. So while we´re not an ´official´team, we´re trying as hard as we can be to be one! We even have a game against Pemba this saturday! Someone told me that, and I was like, ´ah, you´re playing pemba on saturday,´ He responded, ´No, we´re playing pemba on saturday,´which was nice. Except that during our first practice I slipped on the court and hurt my wrist :-( So I probobly will just be in the cheering section for the first game.

Walking home from Eli´s classes today I had a number of students tell me what a good teacher she is, and how much they are learning with her. A bunch of other students told me they hoped she feels better soon, or said they would stop by to wish her well. It was pretty nice to hear all their coments about her.

In computer news: not much is new, but the librarian is now addicted to hearts. It´s a start.

Friday, May 05, 2006


Something is seriously wrong

with our cat. He just stole a half eaten squash from the kitchen table and growled when I took it away from him. (It was cooked in the oven with butter and sugar... later I gave him the remains and he sat there happily eating it). What is wrong with this animal?

Eli and I have had a pretty tiring week. We just set up 2 more computers at school- and just the sheer volume of teacher questions are keeping us busy. Apparently we will have wireless internet access in all of Nacala in a very short time- however at $80 a month! The school is thinking of getting internet for at least one computer, which would be very nice- and might increase the number of times we can update the blog!

Today we went to Nacala-a-Velha, which is a little village on the other side of the bay. It was the original town and tiny port here, before the portuguese decided to build a whole new city where present day Nacala is (apparently the whole city was built in just a few short years, then the Portuguese were forced to flee). The trip was fun because we took a sailboat, or dhow, over. This is a sailboat where you can still tell what peice of the tree the timbers came from. The trip itself is maybe the best part- just because the bay is really spectacular.
The city of Nacala-a-Velha is small, nearly empty, hot and dry. We wandered around for a little while, but there really wasn´t much to see. We tried finding the secondary school but turned back because of the sun.
Just before leaving we met the cheif of police (which worried us, because we had both forgotten our papers at home, and you´re always supposed to carry ID). He turned out to be really friendly, and offered us a guide to show us around the city. Since we were just leaving, he gave us his cell phone number and said if we ever want to come back and needed anything we could ask him. So that was nice, and since there are some good beaches in the area (and birds, but Eli laughs at that) we might return.

However, we both got a lot of sun, so I think we might take a break from traveling by boat for a while. On the up side, we both look a lot tanner right now (granted it´s a farmers tan).

Hope all´s well. My inbox has been empty for a very long time so I assume everyone must be extremely busy back home. Take care,


Monday, May 01, 2006


a weekend in Nampula

This weekend Eli and I took a bus down to Nampula to spend the night at the home of our Makua teacher´s mother´s house. It was a good time- his mother lives in a neighborhood outside of the city, in a little cement house without electricity. The experience was very cultural- as in we saw more of the traditional moçambican culture. Since we live in a city we see a lot of western things, but as soon as you step a little bit outside of the cities borders, you see bigger differences.
One interesting thing we learned is that our makua teacher has a son! We had no idea, until he introduced us to the kid (our teacher is a 12 grade student, 21 years old). It turns out that he had been married before, but he was a student with out a job, so one day his wife left him- taking everything in their house with her, including the kid. Now that he lives in nacala and has a job, she has been asking to move back in with him (he has refused). Interesting.
While at his house we had some interesting food, like octopus and rice for dinner, and my favorite type of tea- a hot water and sweetend condensed milk combination (they call it tea, but really there is no tea). I thought it was good as is, but many mozambicans like to add sugar to this mix.
On sunday morning we went to the craft market. Our teachers friend was supposed to pick us up in her car, so we waited 2 hours for her before we decided she wasn´t coming and made the 15 minute trip by foot :-) The market was pretty large and interesting. Unfortunately, we didn´t have a ton of time, and we felt bad about buying lots of things with our mozambican friends with us. So we kept it down to 3 peices of makonde art. We got 3 tree house scenes, 1 large and 2 small which are pretty neat. The only problem with the market is that being white, makonde art vendors are practically fighting to put their goods in front of your face, and if you really don´t want something, you have to say so about fifty times before they stop trying to sell it to you. If you take something to look at it, sometimes they don´t want to take it back, so you ahve to just set it down.
Anyways, we had a good time in Nampula. We were sent home with a large sack of peanuts, beans, cucumber and melon.

Today someone came to our front door selling live crabs. They were $1 per kilo, so we got 4.5 pounds for $2. We were putting them in a plastic bag when they ripped the bag open and escaped into our living room. We had to round them up and throw them into the freezer to kill them- we´ll let our empregada cook them tomorrow.

In other good news, on Friday we set up two computers in the school library. We´re really excited about getting some computer classes started (2 more computers should be set up soon). I´m still trying to get some rules-norms for computer use set up, but it´s looking promising.

-paul and eli

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