Thursday, December 16, 2010

December 10th- Wild Friday Night

Well, it’s 6:30, and I’m already tucked in my mosquito net. This is almost as exciting as last Friday night’s swearing in/birthday celebration in Maputo, but just not quite. My first days at site have gone pretty well. Aside from my classy back flop in the mud outside my latrine my first night, my epic hour-long battle with a cockroach in my room at 2 am last night, and the fact that my head lamp is falling off of my head because I am sweating so much, things have been great! Ha! All sarcasm aside, though, I really do think I will come to love my site. Things are awkward now, as expected, but I am pretty confident this will turn out to be a good fit for me.

My first impressions of my site exceeded all expectations.  My town is actually big enough to have a couple small bancas, or stores, and I was greeted very welcomingly by my director and his wife. My house is very cute- I have a huge yard with a fence and 3 rooms. I do have electricity, but the only 2 outlets as well as light are right by the front door, which is why I still end up retiring to my bed when it gets dark. I have a nice electric water kettle, but because I have no extension cords, I have to stand holding it right by the door. It works, but it’s pretty funny! My director’s wife gave me food the first night, and because of some slight stomach issues, that has been enough to get me to the weekend. I met a bunch of other teachers the second day, and they were all very nice and young. My teacher/representative/counterpart figure told me that they like to joke around a lot, so I’m pretty excited. There are 11 female teachers I think between the primary and secondary school, so I should be able to find some friends! Everyone has been insistent on my not sitting alone in my house. Today I was reading on my front porch after a trip over to Manje to meet the district director (which ended up falling through) and another teacher came up and told me I shouldn’t be sitting alone. I’m not quite sure what she wanted me to do, but I asked if other people were doing anything and she said I could go sit with the other teachers as they completed grades. They ended up letting me help, which was a good introduction to the process and a good chance for me to talk to some people. They are all leaving for holidays next week, though, so I think my village will get pretty lonely for the next month! I just wish my Portuguese was better so I could act a little more like myself! That will come with time.

I had quite the chapa adventure today. If I haven’t talked about them yet, chapas are 16ish passenger vans that act as buses. This was by far the most crowded one I have been on yet. I counted at least 25 people, and was at one point sitting with my knees between an old Mozambican man’s legs. I was finding the whole situation somewhat comical, and couldn’t help but start laughing out loud when they loaded a live goat in the back. And then a boy got on with a chicken. And then more people just kept piling on. And then we stopped so people could buy mangos. It was so ridiculous, let alone uncomfortable, and I fully understood why the Peace Corps demands a sense of humor.

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