I know it’s been months since I posted but the more time that passes, the stranger I feel trying to put my daily existence into words for (supposedly) public perusal. A Mozambican friend using my computer the other day came upon an attempt at a blog entry, and it struck me that I was embarrassed, self-conscious for him to read it: how can I accurately, or justly, represent my life and the people in it without becoming a voyeur rather than a participant? But practically, it is important for me to maintain some chronicle of this whole experience, so I try to put aside the short-comings of the blog as a form, along with the philosophical implications that might be bothering me, and to trust that the reader will, too. Now that that’s off my chest, I turn to the immediate task ahead of me—that is, to make up for lost time.

I finally killed a chicken! It wasn’t so hard or terrible as I expected but I felt like a badass anyway, much to the amusement of everyone here.

I was fortunate enough to go to Italy for these last school holidays and see my mom’s side of the family. It was sumptuous and too short, but Sarah, a friend from college, came to Mozambique directly afterwards. It was great to be able to show her around and introduce her to people and we had a lot of fun. There were very few people in Estaquinha but it was lovely to have a guest. We hiked around the mountain on the outskirts of Chimoio, went to the beach in the pouring wind and crazy rain and she explored Maputo while I attended a Peace Corps conference.

Etelvina (fellow English teacher, best girlfriend) got married in Beira and we went to the wedding. I knew one other person there, another teacher, but Sarah and I had fun anyway, dancing a lot with a bunch of teenagers. It was really fun. Other volunteers and Mozambican teachers and students were staying at our hotel after participating in a province-wide science fair. The teacher who brought kids from Estaquinha is another dear friend, and we all went out together at night, my multiple lives colliding in a pleasant way.

Two 10th grade girls—Vitoria and a different Luisa—were being baptized and asked if I would be their godmother. Turns out I couldn’t officially because I wasn’t confirmed and I’m not Catholic, but I’m happy to fill that role in spirit. It was a big deal and they all wore white and church lasted for like three hours. Confirmation is in a few weeks so there will be another long service and party.

I’ve been doing a lot of theater with students, one group in flawed but emergant English, and another in Portuguese/Ndau. It makes me feel like a big nerd; I get so much pleasure out of it. The students are great—sometimes I love them so much I don’t know what to do. (Other times they piss me off, but that’s for another post, another day.) They have so much energy that is amazing to capitalize on; they are comfortable doing improvisation but have never been exposed to the kind of games and warm ups I’ve been playing in theater class since I was little. So I try to remember all those and teach them to them. They challenge me to prepare and teach them well. It is amazing to me and gratifying that what I care and know something about has even some value in this community.

This past weekend I brought eight students to the English Theater Competition, an event joint-run by Peace Corps. We created a play and presented along with about a dozen other schools. Though we didn’t win anything, and I enjoyed taking the trip with my students and they worked so hard preparing. They all received T-shirts and dictionaries for their participation.

Photos of everything to come soon. Hope all is well with everyone reading this! Beijos.

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  1. mikey d

    hey rebecco awesome to hear that sarah came to visit! kill a chicken for me! (what?)

  2. yeah, sarah’s visit sounds like super fun! as does italy.

    i know what you mean about the whole participant/voyeur line getting crossed by blogging. i kinda get around it by just hoping none of my CPs ever happen upon my site, but i suppose that’s a cop-out. something to ponder over the next two years.

  3. Douglas Southgate

    A great report, Rebecca. Nice to see you blogging again.

    Your ears might have burned a little this last weekend. Your dad received this year’s (only) distinguished alumni achievement award from Oberlin College – nearly three years after I nominated him, with support from other classmates! [Shouldn’t complain; these things take time.]

    Anyway, I drove up on Friday afternoon and, since your dad was booked for a couple of lectures, I fetched your mom from the airport. There was a dinner on the second floor of the old Carnegie Library – a reading room in our day and the scene of countless “libe dates” (Oberlinese for fun). We then attended the opening of the new Alumni Center and finally adjourned to the Feve for beers. Before heading back to Worthington the next morning, I had a big breakfast with your parents at the Black River Cafe.

    All of this may be evocative for you. It was definitely poignant for your parents, whose last few visits to Oberlin were highlighted by the time spent with you.

    You are missed!

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