April 26, 2013

Visitors, Reconnect, and Beer

The past couple of weeks have been a little different than my usual here in Messica for a few reasons. I had some visitors to Messica, a week long conference in Chimoio with all the PCV's from my group in the central and southern regions, and took a weekend trip to the beach.

So let's backtrack to almost 2 weeks ago when the Peace Corps Country Director of Mozambique, Carl Swartz, took me out to lunch and visited Messica. Yeah, that was cool. My friend, Ryan, was also evacuated from his site that week to Chimoio, so he decided (after I pressured him a little bit) to come out and see Messica. He spent a day and a half with me and I was happy to have the company because my roommate, Sarah, had gone to Chimoio for a REDES (young female empowerment group) conference. I was excited to show people around my town and introduce them to my friends/colleagues. I got some compliments on how integrated I was, and although I still have a ways to go, I'm proud of how far I've come over the past 5 months (whoa...it's already been 5 months at site!?).

So last Monday morning, I left Messica for Chimoio. Many other volunteers had a two day journey to get to Chimoio, but I took a 45 minute chapa to get to the conference. Yes, you could say I have a prime location for the whole horrible travel situation in Mozambique. We stayed in a really chique hotel in Chimoio, conveniently located right next to the Peace Corps and about a 10 minute walk from the heart of the city of Chimoio. Hot showers, internet access, and good food were enjoyed by all. There was also the whole seeing my friends from the south that I hadn't seen in almost 5 months, so that was also super awesome. We used the conference as an opportunity to share about our successes and struggles at site and also swap teaching strategies/suggestions. It was all in all a very rewarding experience to realize all of my blessings in Messica, and rethink my teaching strategy for the second trimester. I've decided to try a few things differently this time around, and I'm hoping they will end up working a little better for me. We shall see.

After the conference, I headed out Friday morning for Vilankulos in the province of Inhambane. PCVs from all over Mozambique were meeting up for the weekend that would culminate on Sunday with the annual Beer Olympics. Beer Olympics pits the three regions of Mozambique against each other to fight for the monkey trophy (but mostly bragging rights). The most exciting part about the event for me was seeing my long lost best friends from training that came all the way down from the northern provinces (a 29 hour chapa ride...yikes!) to hang out at the beach for the weekend. The weekend was seriously just what I needed. I got to hang out with friends, enjoy some beverages, and watch (and cheer) as central clenched the Beer Olympics win and monkey trophy for the second year in a row. The first regional repeat victory. What. Up. Coesão!

Monday night I arrived back in Messica after being gone for a week. I have to say, it was very nice to be home, although I enjoyed getting away for awhile. On Tuesday, I went to the school in the morning, found out what I was teaching that afternoon, ran home and planned, and taught for 5 hours that afternoon. Right back into the groove of things. I was a little surprised at how easy it was to get back into the routine, but it's also a relief that Messica feels like home.

Basically, it's been a good couple of weeks, but I have a lot to work on now that I'm back in Messica. I'm looking to form my JUNTOS group (which has been a failure up until now...let's hope that gets figured out soon), planning the JUNTOS workshop in June (still haven't started...whoops), planning a rosary-making class, and trying to figure out how I'm going to teach my students how to factor when they don't know how to solve a linear equation. Challenges. Anyway, lots of work to do and all I want to do is watch How I Met Your Mother. Moz problems. So I'll be working on this stuff (with a little bit of HIMYM thrown in) and update you guys when there is something noteworthy going on. Until then, stay healthy, stay safe, and thanks for your prayers!

People throughout the world may look different or have a different religion, education, or position, but they are all the same. They are all hungry for love.” – Mother Teresa


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