There was a going away party for the group of Canadian volunteers in the city. I was invited to it. It was nice to say goodbye to some of the people had known and hung out with. Aside from that It was a little awkward because since I was white and siting with some of the Canadian volunteers it appeared that I was also one of the “guests of honor” so to speak. That and the food made me sick about two hours later.
I got a text message from a volunteer, from another Provence, one day saying, “You know 'So and so'?” I replied that I had only ever known one 'So and so' in my life; that she was a friend of mine in Middle school and the last time I had seen her was my High School graduation “Ya that's the one. She is in Maputo right now.”
Apparently my middle school friend became the college roommate of this volunteer and now they are super close. So, our mutual friend came to Mozambique to visit her old college roommate before she finished her time in Peace Corps Mozambique. They were going to Tofo beach (which is about an hour and a half from my house) so I met up with them for the weekend and hung out. It was cool to see her and chat about stuff and people I have not even thought about in years. In general it was just nice to see how she had changed/stayed the same and hear about what she had been up to the past 8 years.
Then the next day I went to a fish taco party in town with some peace corps friends. We got to use a really nice house as one friend is house sitting. It was almost like a real adult dinner party. It was interesting to compare where my life was when I was 14 to where my life is at age 26. Both on a physical location level and social level.
Site Mate Despedida
For my time at site there has been another volunteer who arrived about 8 months before me. She is a big hippy from the North Wast in her sixties. She did 2 years of peace Corps in Botswana before doing another 2 years in Moz. I would run into her from time to time around town and she was always eager to get into conversations and drink whiskey. She is quite a character and it was great having her around. So for her last weekend, myself and the other site mates told her that we would hold a going away party for her and that we would make it however she liked. She rented a room at her favorite guest house in Tofo and we spent the day swimming and siting on the porch drinking whiskey on the rocks. Then we made a big pasta diner. It was a great way to send her off.
Flesh Eating Bacteria
One of the new volunteers who arrived in August got a foot infection with a flesh eating Bacteria. He had to get skin removed around his ankle and then a skin graft. He is currently recovering back in the States it is unclear if he will be returning or not. His site is two hours away from mine and he was always hanging out. He is an awesome and funny guy and we all hope he gets better and gets his ass back to the “Terra de Boa Gente.” (the nick name for my Provence. It means the Land of Good People. I wrote a punk song with some others called “Fuck your Face and Welcome to the Terra de Boa Gente” )
I went to a town called Bilene for a Halloween Party (On Friday). During this same weekend all Education Trainees (people that are in Mozambique training to be Peace Corps Education volunteers as English, math, or science teachers) were sent off to visit different site around the country (prior to expressing what type of site they would like to be placed at). Many of these trainees were to be sent to the southern Provinces in which I live. The Plan was to get them all to Bilene and have a huge Halloween Party with all the Southern Volunteers and visiting Trainees. But the party got shut down by the Peace Corps Office in Maputo. So only about 15 people showed up in the end. But we had a great time anyways. We rented out a large Chalet on top of a sand dune overlooking the bay. We swam. We drank. We grilled. We got in our costumes and danced on the Porch (on Saturday). Then I went to a nearby city which has an Indian Restaurant (on Sunday). I had only eaten there once before, about a year ago. It was great :)
Then as I was in the middle of my meal; got a text telling me that everyone in my Provence is in my city along with all the trainees who are visiting sites in my Provence. I was instructed to book it back. So I took one bus to the outskirts of town, waited on the side of the road for over an hour, hitchhiked to a town just over the border into my Provence, then took a bus to the next town over, then took a bus to the town on the other side of the bay from my city, then took the boat over to my city. At about 9;45 at night I arrived at the restaurant/ bar everyone was at. I am now called “The American Hero.” Later that evening a Mozambique and musician played his guitar for us and sang some songs for us. He was very, very talented. It was a great way to end a long day.
The next day (Monday) I went back to my house to do some laundry and take a bath. I returned to my friend's house in town in the late afternoon. She had three visiting trainees and it was decided that we should have an early thanks giving meal. Os we made mashed potatoes, stuffing, baked chicken and we got a hold of a can of cranberry sauce. We also had some really good chocolate brownies with cashew nuts.
The next day (Tuesday) was election day. We organized for a group of us to stay at a youth hostel in Tofo that had a large flat screen with Satalite TV. Even more Volunteers showed up and the trainees visiting them. We had about 30 Peace Corps people that had shown up by the end of the day. We hung out on the beach in the day, we cooked and drank sangria at night and stayed up late to watch CNN. But seeing as we were 7 hours ahead of east cost time, by 2 in the morning, still not much had happened. So most people fluctuated between getting some sleep and wandering in to check up on things. I was less smart and more obsessive. For the most part I stayed up all night long. Then AR around 6 in the morning (Wednesday). We were essentially just waiting around for one of the major swing states to turn blue. Instead of projecting Ohio for Obama and then projecting his reelection, they just straight up projected his reelection. It kind of came out of nowhere. There were hours of boring nothing developments and the projecting of states that we already knew would go red or blue. Then in an instant it was decided to be all over. I was to tired to express much emotion. But then there was the whole drama of Romney not ready to step down. So I waited for all that to happen. Then Ronmeny gave his very strange speech. Then Finally, Obama gave his victory speech. It was good. Then I went swimming in the Indian ocean.
We slowly made are way back to my city and the whole giant group (plus a few more visiting Trainees who
were making their way back down from their site visit. Also two people with another volunteer organization called VSO who were just in town for a visit from their site up north) made a big diner at one of my friend's houses. We ate. We played cards. I had trouble staying awake past 8pm. I felt bad for my friends who were forced to house a ridiculous amount of people that night. Even after splitting the group in two. By the time I woke up the next Morning (Thursday) they were all gone. And that is the story of my 6 six day bender from Halloween through Election day.
- I have set up a small vegetable garden with corn and beans as an example of proper methods for growing a substantial amount of food in a small space. This is good for people who are HIV positive and do not have the energy to do hard farm work.
- I have given some English classes
- I am continuing to give computer classes and help with project monitoring documents
- I gave a class on nutrition and medicinal plants in the area after a Mother and doubter from Zimbabwe showed up and tried to sell “natural Chinese medicine” pills at extremely high prices to the health works at my organization. The sad thing is that even though the health workers do not have much money, they were captivated by the selling point of “medicine without chemicals” and all the things these pills promised to do. So they were really tempted to drop a lot of money for six pills that “help their concentration.” Even though they need that money to feed their children. I will continue to give nutrition and medicinal plant classes during our meetings.
- I went out to another volunteers site and helped give a workshop on growing seedlings for Maringa trees. These trees are legit miracles. The leaves contain protean, calcium, vitamin c, etc.. The different parts of the tree have several medicinal uses. This tree is the real deal and the organization of one of my volunteer friends is helping to build a nursery with the organization of another of my volunteer friends. SO I helped with the preparation and facilitation of this workshop. It was really cool to go to this remote and beautiful site, see all the kids playing soccer at their school in between the Palm trees, then dance with everyone in the evening when they use a gasoline generator to power the stereo system and a single light bulb. Then we gave the workshop. Then myself and my friends went to a totally secluded and beautiful beach. It is my favorite beach in Mozambique.
Recording Studio in the Bush
A couple weeks ago I went to a get together at the house of an Austrian expat who has been living in Moz for 6 years. He has a small recording studio in my city but his house is a little out of the way. His neighborhood only just got electricity a few months ago. Once they did get electricity he decided that he would build a large, top of the line recording studio on his property. The basic concrete and metal structure is up now. It looks like to is going to be really cool if/when it is completed. Right now he is waiting on a special type of hard palm wood to get trucked down from the North. Then he has to install it all and lastly place in all the electronics. His idea is to start seriously recording and promoting Mozambican musicians. Also, I think he wants to get western musicians to buy packages where they live on his property for some time and get inspired and record and album.