Saturday, November 13, 2010

Peanut butter cookies, Permagardening, and (im)Patience

Hello again! We just finished week 6 of training and it’s hard to believe that in 3 short weeks, we’ll be off to our sites! It seems like just yesterday we were counting the days until we got to the half-way point of training, but now all of a sudden we are so much closer to the end than we are to the beginning! My emotions are mixed – while I am anxious to be out of the watchful eye of a host family (“No, I didn’t take a second bath today, I didn’t want to!”) I know it will be quite the change to be away from all the friends we’ve made (and English we’ve spoken) during training.

The last 2 weeks have been pretty busy. Last week we got the chance to have a “permagarden” workshop. This was definitely one of my favorite sessions so far. We were trained in not only how to make our own personal garden, but how to teach people in our community how to build one. I’m excited to grow some of my own food! Hopefully that is something I can really carry out once I am at site. This week we have been mostly preparing for model school, which starts on Monday. We will be giving full 45 minute biology lessons to real Mozambican students.  It is actually summer vacation here, so the students are mostly volunteers from our host families. I am anxious to see how much my Portuguese is challenged during the next 2 weeks! I’m giving one lesson on the female reproductive system, so that should be pretty fun!

This blog post would not be representative of our preoccupation if I didn’t mention site placement, too. I doubt an hour goes by without someone bringing up something about the big announcement that we’ll have this Thursday. Whether it be a funny dream (I dreamed I got placed in Kansas), new “fofoca” (gossip) about which sites are opening up, or just general stress elevation (I’ve been grinding my teeth again at night), site placement is on everyone’s mind. Apparently in the past years, everyone receives an envelope at the end of the day and has to wait to open it at the same time. This may include a lot of information, or just a little bit if we are opening a new site, but apparently there is a big map of Mozambique that we all go and put our names on with our general location. I really don’t think I’ll be able to control my facial expressions during this. Mozambique is just a really BIG country. Our friends for the next 2 years are pretty much just who we can travel easily to see, so we are all anxious to find out who they’ll be! I think, at least within the education group, though, that most of us get along pretty well. Time will tell!

Next weekend we have our mental health break, conveniently placed right after site placement, so we will all be going to the beach. Not sure if I’ll have an update for the weekend, but hopefully soon after I’ll be able to let everyone know where I’ll be living for the next 2 years!! I’ll also hopefully get some good “people” pictures so I can prove that I do have friends in this country.

Of course this update wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t include something about food. Last weekend another trainee Michelle and I made the BEST peanut butter cookies with chocolate peanut butter frosting. My host sister helped us with making a “traditional oven” (dutch oven) and they turned out spectacularly. We are going to make them again for the Thanksgiving potluck. This weekend we might try to make a cake. I am going to start a “bread binge” this week, too. Apparently the bread here in Namaacha is much better than we’ll have at site, and you can by a “loaf” for about 15 cents. I decided it’s time to take advantage of it! I’ll obviously still eat the other food as well… just swapping out snack crackers for bread.

Well, I do promise that the next post will have some big news- hopefully good- about my next 2 years. I hope you are staying warm back home (you can think of our days with a high of 105 here to warm up) and all have wonderful plans for Thanksgiving! The first holiday away will be tough, but I know it will make Thanksgiving 2013 that much more special! :) Sorry to get slightly corny here, but I am definitely learning how much I have to be thankful for. But, more on that later!

The song for this post doesn’t quite have a literal connection to my experience, but is just what I’ve been listening to lately. Here’s a shout-out to my sister, Molly- the song is “The Sun” by Portugal the Man. She burned me some CDs before I left and I’ve found the ideal time to listen to them is while I’m washing my clothes outside. This past weekend I had SO much laundry, and definitely got through a couple albums, including this one, and was pleased!

Okay, thanks for reading such a long post! Miss you all!


  1. That's my favorite one on that album!

  2. So look forward to your posts and reading about what you are doing. Miss you, little girl! Will add The Sun to my list of tunes from I-Tunes so I can burn a cd of your songs. Loved reading about your peanut butter cookies - that is so cool. Love and

  3. We've got our fingers crossed for a spectacular site that needs your talents. Uncle Sam is proud of you but Uncle Bill is prouder!!! and Aunt Ann, too. Oh my, 105 degrees?

    All our love - B & A

  4. oh how I miss the stories about your dreams, Hannah :) haha