February 22, 2013

Hitchhiking around Africa...no big deal.

It's been too long since I sat down to write a blog. Things were just a little crazy last week because of the test and last weekend because I went to Catandica for the weekend. So let me just hit the highlights of the past two weeks.

The test. All in all, I'd consider it a success. That was the quietest I'd ever heard the rooms of the students. I had to kick 4 people out for talking during the test, but I have a heart and I took 5 points off (so basically automatically failing) and separated the students and let them finish them. The scores of the cheaters ranged from 2.5 to 4 out of 20. So...not very good. But 10 is passing here, so many students are happy with about an 8 or 9. Not very high standards. My average was about an 9-10 throughout the 4 turmas, the highest score being a 19/20, lowest being 2.5/20. Quite the range. But overall, I'll take it. I gave them the opportunity to correct their test and turn it back in to get points back (which is a great idea in theory but it actually is just a TON of work for me). It was an absolute disaster trying to explain to them how I wanted them to write it out. I think I explained it like 4 times and still had only a handful of students from each turma do them correctly. Oh well. I'm still grading the corrections and I kind of feel like I'm going to be grading them for the rest of my life. Yes, I'm being dramatic. But really, there are like 60 students per turma and it freaking takes forever.

Catandica. Seriously, last weekend was awesome. There about 10 volunteers that met up and stayed with the two awesome volunteers living in Catandica. Sarah and I headed out from Messica early afternoon on Friday and were super lucky and caught three awesome boleias in a row, making it to Catandica in about 3 hours. A boleia is basically a free ride...which you get by standing on the side of the road and holding out your hand to cars that pass by.  So...basically hitchhiking. (Yeah, you read that right, hitchhiking around Africa...who am I?) It's most PCV's preferred method of travel since chapas are extremely uncomfortable and you have to pay,  and sometimes in boleias you have the luxury of a seat belt.  We got our first boleia from “downtown” Messica to the EN 6. We could have walked, but it would have added 25-30 minutes to the journey. We caught our second boleia on the EN 6 in this nice, fancy, brand new looking truck. I had a functioning seatbelt and we talked to the driver about his visit to the U.S. a few years prior. It was awesome. He dropped us off at the intersection with the EN 7 up to Tete City (we would be stopping about halfway when we arrived in Catandica. He gave us bananas and told us how wonderful it was to meet us. After about 10 minutes walking on the EN 7, we got our last boleia with a Lebanese man and his Mozambican wife and son. They had a nice car with air conditioning! (SCORE!) So getting to Catandica was a success! We spent the weekend hanging out, eating great food, hiking, and getting to know each other. It was awesome to see some of my fellow 19ers that I hadn't seen since Christmas and to also meet some other fellow Moz PCVs. We got back to Messica on Sunday after 2 hours of waiting for a boleia, a couple hours on a bus, and one successful boleia right to our door. :)

Things to be excited for. There are lots of things that fall into this category. I'm a lucky girl. Including PCV gatherings, Coesão, beer olympics at a beautiful beach in Vilankulos, starting a girls' group in Messica, and the Mozambique version of “Sunday School” starting this week, there's a lot going on in the next two months. Further down the road I also have things to look forward to such as my family visiting me in the beginning of December, followed by going back with them to the states for a few weeks to spend Christmas and New Years with my loved ones. I know it may seem a little crazy to some people to already be excited about this, but I've been in Mozambique almost 5 months and they will be coming to visit in about 9 months. So I'm already over 1/3 of the way there! That's crazy. And awesome. And I'm so excited to show them everything and introduce them to everyone. :)

I'm settling into my routine here. My definition of normal is quite different than it was 5 months ago, but I like it. There's about one time a week that I have the realization that I'm actually living in Africa. Maybe I'll eventually get used to it, but as for now it's still pretty insane.

Also, update on my lenten sacrifice, I am still alive with no fan...for now.