Tuesday, March 27, 2007


more pictures

Here are two more pictures to go with the post below.

One is of me working with Suzete (the teacher who's coming with me to the girls' conference) and the other is movie night, when we showed our first film.


It’s raining frogs

Or something equally as strange, because we’ve found six frogs in our house over the last five days (and none before that in the last three months- very strange). Maybe it’s the same frog coming back each time?

We are on our last week of classes before final exams for the first trimester. We don’t actually teach classes next week at all, just proctor exams all day. After that it’s smooth sailing until April 14th, when both Eli and I will be taking kids to conferences (the REDES conference in Beira and the JOMA conference in Chimoio respectively). It should be fun, but also a lot of hard work and it means no break at all!

We’ve been doing a lot of interesting projects with our HIV/AIDS activist group. Lately we’ve been making short films with them about gender equality, discrimination, using condoms, etc. Then we show a film to the whole group and have a discussion. This last Saturday the group then presented the film to the kids who live in the school dorm, and had a little debate about it. It went well, but there were over 100 kids in the room, watching a small TV, and they were making a lot of noise (see picture). Next time I think they’ll show it a couple of times to smaller groups.

I’ve also started coaching basketball 4 times a week. I’m enjoying it a lot so far, although we still don’t have hoops(!) and we only have 4 balls- 3 of which I bought.
But there are a number of students who are really interested, and we’ve been doing a lot of dribbling and passing drills. At least one backboard and hoop has been made locally, and supposedly will be mounted soon. It’s actually been completed for over a month, but things here can take so long to happen, it’s unbelievable!

Speaking of things taking a long time- early this month a contract was signed for us to move into the missionaries’ compound. The only problem is the school doesn’t have the money for the first payment (apparently they only have $41 right now!). So we’re waiting for a while longer, in the meantime all our clothes smell smoky.

We have tried biking around a bit, but my bike pedal has fallen off 3 times. Eli tried to fix it but it fell off again after we went 20 yards or so. Even the professional bike fixer here only got it to stay on for 15 minutes or so of easy riding. I’m not sure I have a lot of confidence in the bike anymore.

I did a final count and we have about 420 eight grade students total. The classroom without chairs and desks somehow lost the few chairs and desks that it did have, and now is completely empty. At the same time the school transferred more kids there, raising the number to 93. Yesterday, giving an exam, only 13 kids were sitting on chairs, and none of them had a table to write on. They all spread out sheets (capulanas) to sit on the floor of the room. Before giving the test I made all the kids leave the room, then I picked up their capulanas and removed all the biology books which they had stashed.

Everything else is normal- we’re really busy but having a good time. Hope everyone at home is doing well.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007


The goings on in rural sub-saharan Mozambique

A lot of things are happening at the same time here, most all of them good (we think). Last weekend we were at the Peace Corps regional meeting in Nampula, which was a lot of fun for us- it’s a real vacation being somewhere with hot showers and, if not good, at least regular meals. It’s also nice to see all the other PCVs and see how things are going in their sites. The recent groups of volunteers is a great group of people who seem to be doing very well in spite of some tough conditions up here in the north. We also had the ¨pleasure¨ of making two 10 hour bus trips from hell with the other zambezia volunteers. Coming back from Nampula we had to get on a bus at 4:30 am- and getting on the bus itself was a challenge since there was a small crowd of people all pushing to get onto the bus (less seats than there are people), and it was starting to rain. We managed to get our seats, but a lot of people didn’t have a space- no problems there, they just kept getting into the bus, filling the aisle until there wasn’t room to scratch your back with out touching someone. For the next ten hours the bus went over some of the worst roads in the country (technically the national highway), dirt roads which I’m sure would constitute a motor bike race track in most other countries. It started to get hot, and the windows on the bus were very small; before long we PCVs were all dripping sweat. The body heat of everyone pressed in around us added a lot to the temperature- we noticed a substantial drop once when everyone got off the bus for a break (due to a blown tire). When we got off the bus, finally, we all stank; probably, I have never smelled as bad in my life. I feel bad for everyone that had to smell us.

Speaking of more pleasant things, the school has met with our missionary friends, written up, and signed a contract with them to pay for our housing for the rest of the year. We are planning on moving sometime this week. Hopefully everything works out- we’re not there yet and things have a way of not working out just as planned in Mozambique. But things do look good.

I don’t know if I mentioned it, but I think I may coach basketball. There are a lot of kids interested, the school is supposedly working on making the basketball backboards (I have seen one, although it hasn’t been paid for) and I actually received a nice leather ball from the phys ed teacher. Those of you who watched me play basketball in high school may be laughing now.

Eli and I have been working a lot with our HIV/AIDS activist group, and things are going really well. We have meetings at least once a week and are working on a lot of activities. Every Saturday we try to make a presentation from the Peace Corps Life Skills handbook. The idea is to work on behavior change, since most people know already know all the important facts about AIDS, they just don’t follow through on making safe decisions. On top of that, they’re working on making short skits about HIV/AIDS that we’ll film with Eli’s digital camera, then edit into short videos (we have a DVD of short AIDS films which they’ve watched for inspiration). I’m training a group of kids to do photography; in April I’m taking 2 kids and another teacher to Chimoio for a JOMA boys’ conference (I went last year, remember?) where the micro project this year is photo-journalism. It should be really interesting! Eli is also preparing to take 2 girls to the girls’ conference in April. There are a lot of other little side projects, and the kids seem genuinely interested. We have between 20-25 kids most days.

Eli is pretty bummed out because the school just got a new history teacher, who took all the history classes she had. She’s only teaching English now, but having had a taste of history she prefers that a lot more than English! (Despite that, she hasn’t shown much interest in my history books… I’m reading one about the naval build-up to World War one that’s pretty good).

Our cell phone tower is finished- however we’ve heard from a reliable source that it will take 4-6 more weeks for them to actually activate the tower. So expect late April.

I’m including some pictures from one of the classrooms that has almost no desks for over 80 students. This was after all their classes for the day were over, so many of them had gone home before I got there with my camera. Last time I gave an exam at least 33 students were sitting on the floor and 13 more were sitting on top of desks but didn’t actually have a chair (you can see a lot of the desks are broken). It almost makes me feel bad for stealing a desk to use as a kitchen counter in my house. The first picture (above) is the school bell.

Friday, March 02, 2007


Pix part 3

Another view of one of our classrooms.

The school secretary, where they only have 1 type writer! (no computers or anything else!)


Pix part 2

Here are some more Pix:

Adolfo and me at the pool, which is now empty, although sometimes it really is full of water. (You wouldn't swim with all the people washing clothes and little kids peeing in there though!)

We biked to the pool; the two yellow bikes are ours! They've only broken a few times on us, though there are lots of people who fix bikes in Ile.

That piece of metal hanging from the tree there is the school bell! The people on the right are all teachers, sitting around and talking


A couple of Pictures

Eli and Adolfo (another bio teacher who is a co-leader of our HIV/AIDS group at school and one of our best friends in Ile) at the town pool. It was very nice, say 40 years ago. Today it's mostly in ruins and you would never want to swim in it.

One of my 8th grade classes (Eli and I both teach these kids), it has 80 students. It's one of the nicer rooms because they have almost enough desks and the chalk board isn't rough like some of the other rooms.

Here's a view of the school- you can see it in the distance (middle of the picture).

Here's Eli, talking on the phone to her mom!

This page is powered by Blogger. Isn't yours?