Thursday, December 28, 2006

Christmas festivities

Merry Christmas, Happy Boxing Day, and Happy New Year!

Just spent a very nice Christmas with about 15 other PCVs at Shannon and Allison´s site. Very relaxing, although it is somewhat surreal to be lying on a beautiful beach in the hot sun in the middle of summer and think, It´s Christmas. We did a gift exchange, and I had the AWESOME wrapped xmas present from mummy that arrived last month to open, so I was a pretty happy camper. Plus I bought myself a whole bunch of wooden bracelets, and some ebony sculptures that I thought were funny. They are three little monkeys carved into see no evil, speak no evil and hear no evil. So, 16 pieces of jewelery, three monkeys and 100 meticais (about 4 dollars) later, and I was happy. The series of pineapples that I proceeded to consume after this continued the happiness. Throw in some fresh swordfish, and shrimp and a few dozen sanddollars and life is pretty tranquil. How very relaxing it is to have electricity for a few days, and to be able to cook after sunset (6pm) with lights on and and electric stove, in a town where the market has more than three ingredients to cook with :)

There are a lot of things that I will not take for granted when I get back to the U.S. It´s amazing how privileged we are. A lot of people have asked me about the lack of fruits and vegetables in my town. My school director says people are lazy and don´t want to grow things, but I think the bigger issue is water. When you have to carry all the water you use on your head from a communal tap in the center of town, it´s an effort just to get enough for drinking, cooking, bathing and cleaning, let alone watering a garden! I´m going to try to plant myself a little garden in pots (as i will be moving sometime in the future my garden should be portable), so we´ll see what I manage to grow for myself.

In addition to my garden I will have a lot of projects when I get back to site. I bought a bunch of tools (saw, hand drill, drill bits, screws, bunchings, nails, hooks and all kinds of fun things) so when I get some wood (apparently available at site) I can get to work on the things I want for my house, starting with a closet, and followed by shelves and tables. Not things you can buy in my town, and a bit tricky to transport, so some creativity is required. Fortunately I have lots of free time, and there are only so many hours a day I can read. Hardware store proprietors in Mozambique are very amused by me. I think they get a kick of the little foreign girl trying to build things in their country. It doesn´t help my credibility that all the words for tools in my dictionary are wrong....but they smile at me when we finally find the right thing and give me great discounts. Speaking of tools, a great tragedy has occurred. Somewhere between homestay and site my Leatherman disappeared. I spent a few frantic hours unpacking and repacking my suitcases at site (all my stuff is still in my bags, as i have no shelves, tables, closets to unpack into...), but to no avail. Heartbroken. I loved my Leatherman. It was a wonderful, beautiful thing, and now it is gone, alas. Fortunately I have screwdrivers on my swiss army knife, but it´s not quite the same. I won´t give up hope entirely until I really unpack, but this will be after i build myself some furniture, so it may be a while.

Another tragedy was fixed though. There was a period of two days in which my portable CD player stopped working. No music for two days. This is particularly tragic when it is what helps you fall asleep because it blocks out the sound of rats squeaking. But through some great miracle it decided to fix itself, and has been working perfectly for the last week. Phew. I am actually rather impressed by it´s energy saving capacities. I listen to a CD a night practically every night, and I´ve only used four AA batteries. Pretty amazing.

Tomorrow we head off on public transport to the beach near Jorge and Zach´s site for New Years, which should be a lot of fun. I´ll be taking advantage of the fresh seafood and electricity while I can!

It just started raining here. We love rain, and clouds, and just about anything that brings the temperature down and hides the blazing sun. I just hope this doesn´t close Nampula´s central market....I wanted to buy more fruits and vegetables while i have the opportunity. Is a 3rd pineapple in the space of two days too much for one person.....?

Ok, sorry this was so rambling. There is a reason that I usually write these ahead of time......

Special thanks to my lovely email writers: mummy, daddy, uncle jon, aunty judy, miss marie and trev.
Letter writers and package senders thanks to you too, and i´ll find out who you are in a few months :)

Love to all,

Laura

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