This entry may not make much sense because I am exhausted! It is 3:30 in the morning. I wanted to update this last night but the computer wasn´t working loading Blogger, so now is my last chance--at 4 I will go to the bus stop to catch the Mecula bus back to my site....and hopefully get back by 9ish. I am in Nampula right now, and really lucked out with where I´m staying. I came down Saturday to do some shopping-internet-seeing friends, but the bus took FOREVER and despite the fact that I left my house at 7:30am, I didn´t get here until around 4pm, at which point it was really hard to get everything done, so my friends decided to stay an extra night, (rather than go back the next morning at 4am!) as some of them were staying too. I had planned to stay in a cheap pensao, but it turns out that if there are four of us it breaks down to the same price to stay in the nice hotel, who would have thought? So I got two nights in a comfy air conditioned room, hot showers, and (as you can see) free internet, when it´s working. Pretty sweet. It was really nice to see some friends, trade some books, and buy important things like granola! oats! spices! flip flops (in three months have worn my last pair almost completely through...)! Alas there was no fresh ginger to be had. Next time. It will be nice to get back to site and the slow mato pace. Though I have a distressing amount of stuff to take back, as i always buy too many heavy things (soy sauce...), and there was a heavy package for
Mary in the Peace Corps office chock full of books for our town´s library, so I have to lug that back with me too ;)
We are two weeks into the second trimester now, and I have taught two lessons. I should have taught 6. On monday the school was still doing Conselhos de Notas (the epic grade battle, "but she´s my girlfriend/wife/friend/niece/cousin, you can´t fail her!"), so there was no school. On Tuesday I got to an abandoned school to be told that all the teachers are in Namialo (130km south) at a teacher meeting....found out later they are putting together a national employee database. Wednesday no one showed up. Thursday more teachers in Namialo, friday no one showed up. And the following Tuesday was a public holiday, so only a third of the kids showed up on Monday. Argh. Taught the itty bitty classes with only 30-40 kids, and the following lessons wed-fri I had most of my kids, and I managed to switch the schedule around to make sure all my turmas got both lessons. Oy. I´m teaching nutrition now. It´s heartening teaching a subject that is really important that they just don´t know! It makes teaching feel really important. Though it´s a little harder to harp on the kiddos to eat their green vegetables when they don´t grow half the year (too hot!). But I think they got that different foods have different essential nutrients, so they should vary their diets, etc. I´m having them do a week long homework assignment in which they write down everything they eat, and mark which nutrients each food has (carbs, protein, vit and min, etc.). I hope this will make them connect what we learn in class to their lives, and I´m also just curious to see what they all eat....I know some of their families can´t always afford food, but I would like to see what they do actually manage to buy/grow and eat.
So my garden is failing. That lovely watermelon growing in the picture is dead. Eaten by the horrible biting ants that infest my yard. My squash withers on the vine, and two of my three basil plants died. Alas. The combination of really poor soil, fiery hot sun, and vicious ants were not conducive to growing even tho I water twice a day. Plan B. I bought some basins, had a neighbor ride his bicycle to the river (5km) and bring me back some good river soil. So I drilled some holes in the bottoms, put in my transplants and seeded more herbs, and a batch of heatwave lettuce. They were all sprouting happily when I left, and my guard will water them, so I have high hopes for returning to thriving plants. If not I´ll figure out a new solution. That´s what Peace Corps really teaches you. Try something, it flops. Try something new. Also flops. Don´t get discouraged, keep going until it works. Lots of creativity and lots of patience.
I would like to write more, but I have to walk over to the bus station (right around the corner from the nice hotel). Special thanks to everyone for their nice birthday wishes. I had a nice day, opened presents and cards, got phone calls, and my radio request station just happened to play the request I had emailed in the week before! Just got to read all the nice emails and facebook messages now, so thank you. Also a very special thank you to the Wonderful Walshes, who sent me a spectacular package jam packed with delicious things (asian soups, gnocci, dried peaches, hot tamales, wow!), which also arrived by some miracle at my post office at site in SIXTEEN days! Who would have thought that was possible? So thank you very much, I feel very loved and very fortunate.
Love to you all, will post more next time i´m in town in 4-6 weeks.