Friday, November 18, 2011

The Rain.

The rain in Namaacha is insane. Yes, I realize that this is a lame attempt at rhyming, but it’s actually true. This whole tin roof + crazy thunder/lightning/rain storm thing means that sometimes I wake up in the middle of the night and feel like I am in the middle of the Wizard of Oz (or a discotecha, depending on the amount and frequency of lightning) and that either the entire house is going to be uprooted and fly away or we’re going to lose the roof. Namaacha is in the mountains, which means it’s substantially cooler than some other places in Mozambique, but the weather patterns are crazy and impossible to predict. The temperature quite literally changes 30 degrees in the span of something like three hours.

Take today for example. I woke up at around 5 and it was fairly cloudy. Strongly agreed with my decision not to wear a cardigan about 3 hours later when it was about 95 degrees . . . with probably 80% humidity. Gross. Anyways, went back to the house for lunch, headed off for more tech sessions. By four pm the sky was overcast, a major thunderstorm had begun and it was probably only 75 degrees. Some days I just wish for some consistency, as there are nights when the temp is around 50 and nights when it’s more like 80. For a week at the end of October I was wearing wool socks, flannel pants, and a sweatshirt to sleep. In Sub-Saharan Africa. During the summer.

Anyways, back to the rain. At first I thought it was kind of similar to camping. You know, the sound rain makes when it hits your tent at night. And then I realized that despite the fact it may only be a heavy mist, any type of raindrop hitting the tin roof sounds like hurricane. For the first couple of rainstorms I would put on my galoshes, rain jacket, and grab my umbrella, only to get outside and realize this was basically a heavy fog. Don’t get me wrong, the rain here can get worse than New Haven, but at that point I just completely lose the ability to hear anything. Also, the matope (mud) is crazy. It clumps together on your shoes and manages to make you about 4 inches taller by then end of the day.

But in early/mid December I’m moving to Inhassoro, Inhambane. Where I will live about a 5-minute walk away from the Indian Ocean. I’ll be teaching at a tech school (smaller classes). And right now they say I’ll be teaching Chemistry and English. Which could be pretty interesting. I’ll be living on/right next to a Catholic mission (unclear which). More details coming later (aka: as I find out), but you should definitely come visit.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Some brief travels around Mozambique . . .

November 12, 2011

I just returned from a site visit and am very grateful that PC had the funding to send all 51 of us out to various sites around the country. While I did not visit my official site (I find that out on Wednesday), I really enjoyed getting the chance to visit a PC Volunteer. I was lucky enough to be able to go North to Nampula province by airplane and visited two sites – Ilha de Mocambique and Nacaroa.

The Ilha was gorgeous as it used to be the Portuguese capital of colonial Mozambique. While many of the buildings have fallen into disrepair, the entire Ilha is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and the government is slowly working to restore it. This was a very interesting site because it is also a tourist destination – which means (like every other PC site in Mozambique) it has its positives and negatives.

I spent most of my time in Nacaroa, which was a small town about two hours outside of Nampula City. Nacaroa is one of the few PC-Moz sites that does not have electricity, most seem to have electricity for at least a couple of hours a day. Whether or not this electricity is reliable is a completely different story . . . However, I survived the 4 days without energy and, although I would prefer a site with energy, now know that I could go without (thank the lord that my kindle battery lasts forever). While the art of carvao (charcoal) cooking will take a while to perfect, at least I have some practice now. The volunteer I stayed with was very helpful and even shared some Kraft Mac & Cheese (using a cheese packet sent from home) which was amazing.

After having some form of control over my own life for the past week, moving back into my homestay was a bit difficult. While the family is great, I am really looking forward to having my own house, etc. As of Wednesday I’ll have an idea of where I’ll be living, so trip planning (for multitudes that plan on visiting Moz in the coming years) can start then!

The Portuguese is still coming along slowly but surely. I did okay on my week 5 language test, so I get to teach and watch others teach at the PC model school. I need the teaching practice, so I am very excited/nervous.

Also, I received my first card in the mail a week or so ago, as far as I can tell cards/letters take about 2 weeks and packages about a month.