Tuesday, December 20, 2011

First Impressions

The first couple of days at site were so hot and humid. Luckily I’m living about 5 minutes from the ocean, so there was a tad bit of a breeze. But I was still pretty much miserable (living in Sequim this summer with its highs of all of 70 degrees did not really help with my acclimation). However, little by little, I’m moving in and was able to spend the entire day yesterday cleaning and organizing my new little house (the weather finally cooled down a bit). I now have an electric stove (basically 2 hot plates stuck together) and combined with my electric teakettle, life is pretty good. I’ve even gotten over the fact that I will be killing 3-4 cockroaches a day – and my aim with the nasty bug spray has drastically improved (however, I am especially happy when I wake up in the morning and the cockroaches have flipped themselves over on accident, it’s the little things).

I’m living on the mission compound about a 5-10 minute walk from the school where I’ll be teaching. In my town there is a market of vendors as well as a more “supermarket”-y store which has some of the essentials that cannot be purchased at the actual market (like oatmeal, so happy to have real breakfast foods again). There are a number of hotels/lodges in my town and although it’s definitely not the most touristy town in the area, right now is the peak of tourist season (most of Moz’s tourists are from South Africa or other neighboring countries), so there are a number of tourists throughout town. This also means that every once-in-a-while, when neither my neighbor PCV or I feel like cooking, we can find a place to eat (the resort affiliated with my school has pizza with sauce and real cheese . . . so delicious). I am living on the same compound with, but about 3 doors away from another volunteer from my training group, Zach, who will be teaching English and computers at the tech school. 

More about my school. For the next two years I’ll be teaching chemistry at Estrella de Mar, a commercial and industrial technical school that goes from eighth to tenth grade. Rumor currently has it that chemistry is only offered to eighth graders, so there is a possibility that I’ll only be teaching one grade. In Mozambique, students (or at least those in towns/able to move to town during the school year) can attend either technical schools or secondary schools. Estrella de Mar (like many other Moz secondary and tech schools) has a dormitory for students who live outside of town to stay in. Tech schools tend to have smaller class sizes and are focused on providing students with practical skills for a job after graduation. Due to Inhassoro’s location, this school’s curriculum is centered on the tourism industry. The school is run by the Church (I think?) and is partnered with an Italian NGO (maybe two) that support a recently opened resort in Inhassoro. The hope is that the students will move from the school to jobs as resort employees. In order for the students to gain more practical experience, the other PCV at my site (Zach) and I might be working with a couple of other teachers to organize after school English groups that would emphasize the accumulation of conversation skills necessary for work in the tourism industry.  

However, school is on their summer/holiday break right now . . . and it sounds like it doesn’t start again until the beginning of February. So I have a lot of time to finish getting organized and brush up on my chemistry skills!! 

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