Friday, March 4, 2011

Soccer, Shoe-forgetting, and Sun Dials

Happy March! This is the start of my 6th month in Mozambique. I’m also happy to note that I am just a few days from officially being done with the dreaded “first 3 months at site.” Most people say that those months are the hardest – obviously it differs for everyone, but they were definitely challenging for me. From here on out, things should be smooth sailing! Ha, let’s hope so. Well not a whole lot has changed since I wrote last week, except that my body is aching after bringing daily soccer back into my life. I’m a little out of shape! My first “practice” was last Thursday, and I had about 40 girls show up to run and do some conditioning drills! The next day, one of them actually showed up to run in the morning with me- I was shocked. Yesterday I was up to 3 little meninas trailing me at 5:30 am. We have a couple balls, now, so we have been having games every afternoon. I’m supposed to be picking the girls team, and I have a pretty good idea of who is going to “make it.” Some of them are pretty good! Especially given the fact that they are playing with either flip flops or no shoes and have had very limited “training.” It is just so funny to think back to my situation growing up… my soccer bag with my extra pair of shoes in it, our 20+ balls that we had to practice with, the artificial turf at my high school… we are a long way from that! It is amazing, though, when I tell the girls it’s time to quit because I have to go teach my night class, they all protest and beg for just 5 more minutes. “Senhora Professora, it is only 5:00! Nooo!!!” I’m going to need to study up on my Portuguese soccer vocabulary, though, because my team definitely needs some work. It looks a lot like the bumble-bee soccer you see from 1st graders in America… but they have potential.

Oh, and last week, one of the students knocked on the door to get back in the classroom after she had already turned in her test. I asked her what she forgot, assuming she left her notebook. Nope, she left her shoes. Just plain walked off without them.

One of my only preoccupations lately has been my lack of bed. The school was supposed to provide me with a bed frame, a table, and 2 chairs. I have a teeny table and one chair, but no bed frame. I did purchase a mattress, so I do have a little piece of foam on the floor that I sleep in (as you probably saw in pictures). When I arrived, they said I’d get it in January. In January, I was told February. Apparently, if the school won’t provide it, the Peace Corps will reimburse me. So, I figured it was time to take things into my own hands. I talked to one of my professora friends and she took me to the carpenter, who told me he could make it, but I’d first need to procure the materials. This would be easy if I could just run over to Home Depot, but in Mozambique that’s not exactly the case. In this situation, I have to arrange someone to go get me some wood, bring it back to Kaunda, give it to the carpenter, and then pay quite the hefty sum for him to actually do the work. Even though I’m getting reimbursed, I still will have to front about half of my monthly allowance to get this bed frame made- a little frustrating! I did mention to my director that I finally talked to someone, though, and asked once again if the school was going to pay for it or if I was going to have to (I don’t want them to know I will get reimbursed), and he said he’d talk to the financial director… so we’ll see.

Other than that, not much to complain about. I’m continuing to get to know the other teachers better. Last Saturday, we had a really long (and stupid) meeting about salaries, etc, that I was not allowed to get out of even though I don’t get paid (a little bitter?). Anyway, after the meeting, I immediately grabbed my backpack and headed out to the street to wait for a chapa to take me down into the city and back into civilization. After running to catch up to the one that had just passed, the chapa driver continued to just drive back and forth in Kaunda to pick up all of the teachers who were taking off for the weekend. One by one, 6 other professors from my school got on the chapa, and it turned into quite the party chapa! They convinced me to go grab a beer with them in the city, and it was fun to feel like I have friends. I also usually run into someone I know in Tete City when I go there, which makes me feel just way too cool. I’m in the middle of Mozambique, Africa, and I can’t go anywhere without seeing someone I know! Not really, but it’s nice to feel that way for a little bit. J

I think this will be impossible to explain via blog post, but it is also HILARIOUS to watch people in my town when anything about time is mentioned. They literally point to where the sun should be in sky as they say it. For example “The meeting should be over, oh, about 10:00” (pointing to the sky about half way up from the horizon). Or, as I mentioned with my soccer girls “It’s only 5:00” (pointing to the sun not yet setting). It’s clearly a better story when I can use my arms to explain, but you get the idea. It’s like living with the Aztecs. I also get “estou a pedir-ed” (asked for) the hours at least once a day. That magical watch…

Okay, well the song for this post really has nothing to do with how I am feeling, it just happens to be what I’m listening to right now. So, I hope you all enjoy “I and Love and You” by the Avett Brothers.

I also hope this post finds you all in good health and happiness! For all my U of M friends, graduation is in just 2 months! That is pretty crazy. Hang in there! I hope spring is starting to show in most of America, although I know that March is usually pretty far from springy up in Michigan… Have a wonderful, productive, and fast-moving month!


  1. Ha ha ha: 'living with the Aztecs." That made me LOL!!! :-)

    Love your little stories and so glad you have so many to tell these days!! Sounds like you are definitely making your mark and people are enjoying having you around.

    Love you!!!

  2. Wouldn't it be great if there were chapas everywhere and we wouldn't need a car?... "Hannah's Chapas"... perhaps a new business model when you're back in the states? And with $5.00 per gallon gas, you could be very successful!

  3. I had a student walk out of the therapy box today without his shoes on! Not just an African thing. Thought of you...

  4. I`m choose good future you can help me to go good way