Saturday, November 18, 2006

Week of suspense..

Only three more weeks of training! It´s amazing how things drag along at first, and then FLY by. Something someone said the first week is incredibly true here--the days are very long, but the weeks are very short. It´s Monday forever, and Tuesday forever, but then all of a sudden it´s Friday and you don´t quite know how you got there.

This week will be the third and final week of teaching. I will have 9th grade students this time, which means plants plants and more plants. Note to self and other foreign language science teachers--do NOT change your lesson plan drastically while you are giving it unless you are A. very confident in your language skills, or B. it is absolutely necessary, or C. you like feeling like an idiot. No major teaching problems, just moments of "oh dear god, i have no idea how to explain this in Porguese, wish I´d thought about it more when I didn´t have a class full of kids staring blankly at me."

Next Saturday is a BIG DAY. We have Thanksgiving lunch (ALL of the trainees together) and Site Placement. A week from today I will know where I´ll be living for the next two years, and who I´ll be living with! We have interviews with our Programming director this week, and then he will make final decisions about where we´re all going. We can indicate preferences for things that are important to us. I want a site-mate and access to varied food--I´ve decided I like the idea of having someone nearby, (plus it´s pretty common in Peace Corps Moz), and I´d rather not have months of the year where the vegetables in my market consist of onions and the occasional tomato. At some point after placement I´ll try using the internet in my town to give you an update, as I probably won´t get back to Maputo until the end of training (thanksgiving festivities next Saturday, and homestay celebration the following) right before SITE DELIVERY. In past years Peace Corps has dropped everyone off at their sites individually, but our training group is enormous, so we may be sent off with our school supervisors.......there´s potential for 10 hours of awkward silence in a chapa*....

*Note on chapas: Imagine a mini-van, take out the regular seats and replace them with four rows o tiny seats, the the left of which folds to one side. Put four people in each of the "regular" seats in each row, plus two-three up front with the driver (try not to get your arms-legs-belongings in the way of the stick shift), then add maybe 5-8 more people crammed in by the door, sprawled/leaning over the people in the first two rows, oh and toss in a few live chickens just for kicks. The cobrador (guy who collects the money) worms his way in the door, the chapa starts moving as soon as he has one foot off the ground, and he uses an impressive flicking motion to close the door behind him (this often takes a few tries when there are people in the way). You are now crammed into a teeny tiny space, and hopefully have one of the back (less crammed) spots by a window, so you can actually get some air. The my usual chapa ride to maputo is only 45 minutes, and the longest chapa ride that I´ve had so far (complete with chicken flapping against my legs) was only four or five hours, so I´ve been spared the "real" experience so far, but we will see in the two years to come....

In the last 45 minutes another 13 pictures have gone up, many of these from site visits--first few beach ones at Xai-Xai, the provincial capital, and the later ones at the small town I visited, also in Gaza province. We´ll see i ever manage to get captions up on some of the pics...

Special people of the week: mummy, Uncle Jon and Connie-girl for sending me letters!
Victoria, Uncle Jon, daddy and Professor Fraser for sending me emails!
and my oh-so-fabulous mummy for my very first PACKAGE, complete with wrapped christmas present, so now I have at least one present to open on christmas day :)

Note about the package: the padded envelope was great (lower taxes, which means i don´t have to pay to receive it), but make sure to really really UNDER-value the contents on the customs slip, as this helps avoid theft.

Love to you all, and keep me posted!

Laura

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