Wednesday, April 25, 2007


After the conferences

Hello everyone!

After a very stressful trip back from the Girls’ Conference, Paul and I are back home in Ile, ready to start the second trimester. I think Paul will write later about the Boys’ Training, but here’s what happened with the girls. There were about 50 girls, 15 PC volunteers and 15 Mozambican female teachers from 8 different provinces. The week was divided into themes, so for example, Monday was “sex and gender”, Tuesday “sexual health, HIV/AIDS”, Wednesday “self-esteem and relationships”, Thursday “future goals” and Friday was a general wrap-up day. My province was in charge of organizing the sessions for Thursday, which was really fun and kinda scary (you know me and public speaking). But I think it went really well, basically we had the girls think about the future (which is something they don’t do very often). One of the best activities was the “footsteps activity” in which we had cut up footsteps and asked the girls to think of an objective (step 1), think about the benefits of that objective (step 2), what obstacles you may encounter (step 3), how you can overcome them (step 4), who will be there to help you (step 5), and once you accomplish that objective, what is the next objective (step 6). So we had the girls think step by step and write in their thoughts in the footsteps. It’s kinda hard to explain, but I think it went really well, and it got them thinking about the future. We also had guest speakers (including two female, Mozambican med students that were amazing!) come and talk to the girls. Overall it went really well and it’s something that I’m very proud of, but man, I was exhausted at the end of the week! (I was even more exhausted after a horrible trip back home – involving a broken chapa, barely catching the last ferry across the river, not being able to find another chapa to Nampula, another broken down chapa to Ile, and a driver with malaria!!!! Seriously, that trip was a lesson on patience).

So, we’re back in Ile and classes technically started on Monday, but there are no students, and the teachers have to go into Gurue tomorrow to do some registration/paperwork. So, it looks like next Monday classes will start for real (which is fine with me, cuz I’m still recuperating from the conference!).

And the Boys’ conference in Chimoio went well too- it was six days (a day longer than the girls’) but I ended up meeting up with Eli on the way back because of all her chapa problems! I had a great time and was really busy- I got about 4 hours of sleep three nights in a row! Part of that time I was up working on a photojournalism manual to give to the kids, other people were up until 3am with me working on a newspaper using articles from the journalism group and pictures from my photojournalism group. There were a lot of fun activities for the kids, and my counterpart really enjoyed himself. On the last day we took the photo kids to an orphan farm (they don’t farm orphans, the orphans do their own farming- learning and growing their own food). It was really pretty spectacular- they are housed at the farm, fed, and it looks like they learn quite a lot. We got a tour and little orphans explained the uses and care of various plants. The whole place looked well run. This is a picture of the orphans shucking corn below.

Here's a picture of me putting my shoes on after the ferry ride across the zambezi river.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007


More pix, part 2

Here is a picture of two of our students (both are going to our conferences), making egg sandwiches for a end of the trimester party that our school group had.

Here's Eli's girls making cakes for their snack on April 7th (see other pics on previous post).

And here's the living room of our new house!


Some pix

Here are some pix from the last few weeks:

Here are girls from our school group helping Eli put on her capulana. All the girls bought matching capulanas, and they wore them on April 7th, Mozambican womens' day

Here's the students from our school group marching through town on the 7th, girls in front with matching capulanas and white shirts, boys in back in red shirts. They sang all the way through the middle of town (they even made up songs about us!)

Later in the day the girls had a snack, they invited the important women of the town including the hospital director and the distrect director of education. Here they are carrying a crate of pop and other stuff to the 'lanche' (snack).


Traveling in Mozambique

It’s been a busy few weeks; the first trimester of school just finished this week! No rest for the weary though, we are right now participating in the girls’ and boys’ conferences- in Beira and Chimoio respectively. It’s a two day trip from the north, so we each had a long trip down with our students. I'm with my boys (two guys, Filipe and Dionisio who are part of our school activista group) and my teacher counterpart, Adolfo. Eli is traveled down with her girls (Ivólas and Monica). They were supposed to travel further on the first day and stay in another city, since they have further to go, but they were delayed on the first leg of the journey and had to stay in the same place as me! They left at 3am to make up for lost time (we left at 5:30 and passed them on the road!) Each of our conferences will last for about a week, then we’ll be returning to Ile (and the second trimester will start!! No vacation!). To get to the lower provinces we have to pass the Zambezi river- which is a major river with no bridge! The only way across is by ferry boat, that takes a 2-3 cars and a truck each time it crosses. Of course when my chapa went the ferry was a extra full, and had to back out into the river a little to be in deep enough water so that it wasn't touching the bottom- so there was a stretch of water between the bank and the ferry boat. I was talking to Eli (and not paying attention) so I was the last person to board and I didn't realize that there was now this gap of water. And the ferry boat started to raise its door. I had to quickly tear of my shoes and run through the water, scramble up the closing ferry door; all in my jeans which got soaked. Fun.

Now that I'm at the boys conference we're doing a lot of work on our micro-project- photodocumentary. It's been fun so far, each group of kids is using a digital camera (my kids are using mine! Kinda scary). It's amazing to see how their pictures have improved after two days of practice and lessons. They went from nearly all bad pictures to mostly all good or decent ones. So far the conference has been a big success. I haven't spoken much with Eli, but from what I've heard she's having a good time too. Our only problem here is that my counter part got Malaria! I just came back from the clinic with him; he has medicine and should be better soon.

In other good news- we finally moved to our new house! We moved on April first, and the last two weeks have been great! The place is beautiful, there are hot showers, and the best part is the kitchen- now we’re cooking on a real gas stove and using good pots; having counters and sink helps a lot too! Living in the same compound with our missionary friends is really nice as well, as we get to spend more time with them.

The last two weeks of school has been a little rough though, in terms of it being the final exams. We are both sick of grading tests; it’s the worst part of teaching! I have about 550 students, and Eli has about 440. I made the mistake of giving an exam the week before the finals (the school wants us to give two minor tests a trimester; I also did it to help get grades up, but it had the opposite effect!), so I ended up grading nearly 1100 exams in a two weeks! It was awful! So in the future we’re only giving easy to grade multiple choice exams.

My basketball team is doing well. We’re taking a break because of final exams and the conferences. We still don’t have a hoop set up(!) but the school just started re-cementing the court, which is good because it had several large cracks (huge holes actually, a couple feet in diameter). Unfortunately they filled in all the holes with cement yesterday. Today, after all that work was done, someone decided that they’d better redo everything, so they tore up the whole court!! Right now it’s all rubble, hopefully by the time we get back they’ll have made it nice again!

Speaking of things being done by the time we get back- hopefully we’ll have cell phone soon!! We actually do have cell phone coverage in Ile now, but only in a few spots! And it’s very spotty, it tends to come and go. The cell tower that we’re using is about 38Km away and they have a range of 40. We don’t get it at home, only in the center of town! But our own cities tower is ready to go, as soon as someone shows up to turn it on. So, like I said, hopefully by the time we get back!

Take care, hope everyone back home is doing well.

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