I hope 2011 found you all well. Down here in Kaunda, 2011 got off to a pretty good start. School finally starts one week from today, and I am pretty ready! Much to my surprise, though, the days have been filling up pretty well. Many of the teachers are moving back into town after their holiday trips, so it is nice to have some people around. I find a group of people to talk to every day, and I know my Portuguese is improving drastically as a result. I’ve also explored my village a little more. There is a mountain that I am pretty sure I can get to, and I’ve gotten close a couple times. It started to get a little sketchy, though, in the sense that I was starting to picture myself getting bitten by a black mamba snake and dying alone under the African sun, so I decided to wait until someone visits me to try to do the whole trek!
My house is starting to feel a little more like home. I made some little decorations and am anxiously awaiting the arrival of some pictures and other décor from my parents via Janet and Luc, 2 volunteers that were back in the States for the holidays and graciously offered to bring some things back for me. I’ve been asking around about getting some furniture, too, and I’m pretty sure once school starts and the town is back in “full swing,” I’ll be able to get some. I just want a table to sit at! Dinner time is my least favorite time of day. It’s dark outside, so I usually just stand in the middle of my living room/kitchen and eat as quickly as possible.
I should also mention that not once, but twice, have I had to shoo goats out of my house while I am writing this.
I’m still figuring out the social norms for women in my community. All the women teachers stop by my house to converse with me, and comment on how I am always sitting alone. This is totally not true and fairly irritating. I leave my house multiple times during the day, but none of the women are ever out to see me! Every day this week I have sat for a few hours with other teachers. Unfortunately, though, they are all men! I’ve seen other women with them a couple times, so I know it’s acceptable, but usually I am the only girl. It’s a bummer because if I want to be social, hanging with the men seems to be my only option unless I want to invite myself over to some woman’s house and help her cook. Perhaps when I get to know more women I will do that, but for now, the men it is. I try to be careful though; I only drink sodas and make sure to never have it be just me and one guy. The group dynamic seems pretty safe. Yesterday, a group of them walked me around to see where all the teachers live, too, so that was nice. I just want to find some female friends! I am just in a weird place because although I am a woman, I don’t quite have the same responsibilities that the women here have; I don’t have a whole family to cook for, I don’t have children to watch, I don’t have gallons of water to carry every day, Hopefully with more time, I’ll find my niche.
My counterpart figure returned from holiday yesterday. He greeted me with the traditional “Wow, you’ve gotten so fat” that most Mozambicans like to give me, and then today came over to comment on how dirty my house is (it’s not.) Ah, great to have him back. Luckily, without him around I have found lots of other “friends” to talk to! I have a feeling I’ll be hanging around with the younger teachers more as opposed to him. He’s nice enough, just very intimidating and doesn’t seem to respect me that much. Time will tell.
Well, I wish I had some more interesting stories to tell. Next week I will find out exactly what and when I’ll be teaching- I’m anxious to know! As of now, my most exciting moments consist of things like realizing I had packed a second box of dental floss. Similarly, though, my most upsetting moments are things like realizing that a goat had pooed in my bath house. Although I’m anxious for more excitement, I wouldn’t trade the dullness for worse low points, that’s for sure!
Tomorrow I will head to the City for the day, which is hopefully how I’ll get this post up! I have quite a few errands to run and will meet up with Audrey and Helen and also Janet and Luc to get my American goodies! Can’t wait. I do enjoy my relaxing time at site, but four consecutive days of having absolutely nothing on my agenda is about the max I can take. So, tomorrow’s trip is needed! After that, I’ll come back to just a week more of empty days before things really start to take off. Can’t wait to share more details of that!!!
I miss you all. The song for this post is another Rolling Stones pic- “She’s a Rainbow.” Great song, plus there are rainbows here almost every day! Puts me in a good mood.