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.