Training concludes

Since site placements were announced, training has seemed to fly to a close. Yesterday there was a big party to celebrate the host families. Several mothers, including Benedita, got up at four in the morning to cook lunch for everyone, which included a whole cow purchased especially for the occasion. Each family received a certificate of thanks and each trainee received a capulana—a pieces of fabric in traditional patterns that women wear wrapped around their waists—a different style for each neighborhood where we’ve been living.

My social life here has mostly consisted of playing cards or board games at a couple of restaurants and bars near my house. I brought Bananagrams, which has been a big hit, and some kids made a Peace Corps Mozambique-themed version of “Apples to Apples” called “Mangos to Mangos.” The weather has been really extreme, oscillating from dry and sunny to monsoon-like rains and thunder and lightning over the course of a few hours. I’ve watched a couple of dry lightning which were super cool, but a couple nights ago I was at a tiny outdoor bar with some friends and the tin awning overhead did little to protect us when a downpour began. So we and the other patrons squeezed inside the little kiosk while the storm raged outside, continuing to drink in the dark after the power went out.

I’ve also gone into Maputo a few times to shop, eat pizza, Thai food, and ice cream, get photos developed, and to support to friends getting dreadlocks. It is fun and convenient to have a big city so easily accessible, but also be in such a beautiful environment as Namaacha provides. There are a number of nice walks to take, including one that leads to some waterfalls, and another up a mountain where you can stand on the meeting point between the borders of Mozambique, Swaziland and South Africa.

On Tuesday we will head to Maputo where we will be sworn in as Peace Corps volunteers by the chargee d’affaires of the American embassy. (A new ambassador will likely be sworn in in early 2010.) He actually came to Namaacha to address our group last week, and I found him very impressive. He was knowledgeable and articulate about the state of affairs in Mozambique, and spoke candidly about the recent elections. Afterwards, the majority of our group will return to Namaacha, but because I and the others going to Central region need to catch an early plane the next morning, we’ll be spending the night in Maputo. In many ways, I am just beginning to feel really comfortable with my family and become close with other trainees, so as much as I am ready to begin my new life in Estaquinha, there are things I will miss here, too.

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