Friday, July 18, 2008

Off to Malawi!

Aren't you all amazed that only about a month has passed, and I am already posting yet another blog entry! What amazing internet accessibility! I may be using more in the near future as I will be traveling, and doing the tourist thing. This last trimester of school went reasonably well. I made my grading more manageable by never evaluating 8th and 10th grade in the same week (except for finals), which has kept my sane. There are only so many hours a day I can grade without screaming, and only so many times a week I can go beg my NGO friends to charge my iPod. Our Conselhos de Notas (aka Grade War) went reasonably well (ie. i didn't kill anyone, though I certainly contemplated it) and I managed to get through it all in four days since I had turned in a request to leave early with the director ahead of time (thank god, couldn't have survived another day).

My science fair went really well. In the end I had eleven kids participate, and I invited a bunch of NGO people, government people and school people to be on the jury (sadly the gov't had a last minute meeting, so they all bailed) and a whole bunch of people came and watched my kids present their experiments. Unfortunately the school decided to do a Limpeza/Cleaning--they make the kids haul water and wash down the classrooms, so our science fair was delayed a few hours (surprise surprise), but we did eventually manage to set up in a dry classroom. I'll eventually post pictures I promise....The jury picked four winners, three of my really bright 10th grade boys, and one of my 8th grade girls, so those four will go with me (and one of my colleagues, prob Muela who is a chem/fisics teacher)to the regional fair in Nampula in on August 9th (more internet opportunities!)which should be fun.

Things are going well with Kim, though she seems slightly alarmed by culinary interest in her ducks... She really likes namapa and is totally unfazed by the lack of water, electricity, distance to town, etc., so Custodio chose her well for us. We had a fun little birthday party for her this week, and she got a bunch of letters and packages, which was nice--nice for me too, because she got a bunch of tapes for her tape player, so I will get to hear some music that doesn't drive me insane like the Tirar Roupa tape she bought in our market :)

There's been some turn-around in our NGO neighbors, Mar and Maria are both long gone now, and Mar won't be replaced until the end of the year. Maria's replacement just arrived; she's a very nice spanish woman named Estibali, and I think will be a fun neighbor (she likes playing cards and gardening). Speaking of gardening, I now have a well! I paid a guy about 12 dollars to dig me a two meter well, which is full of water, and will let me expand my garden. I've started eating my green peppers, my japanese eggplants, enormous tomatoes, a few beets and a few carrots. In the expansion I want more lettuce, cabbage, herbs, spinach, peppers, tomatoes, carrots etc.

In the exciting news of the moment, I am about to travel about for 15 dias. The original plan was to go to Vic Falls, but due to the mess in Zimbabwe they don't even want us on the Zambia side of the border, alas. There were four of us planning on going, but we voted to drop Zambia altogether due to the $135 entry visa, and just do malawi (free), so bethany (who was only really interested in zambia) dropped out. Then it was down to Sarah and Megan, who very kindly did all the planning as they get to internet, etc. more often. This week Sarah decided not to come, as she's been having nasty headaches for the last month, and thinks extended time on public transit would not be conducive to feeling better (she gets stressed very easily). Sad. Megs and I are going strong, and we will still have a great time traveling together. Our plan is to catch the train (4 am tomorrow, whee heww!) from Nampula to Cuamba, overnight in cuamba then catch a chapa, then the bicycle taxi across the border, then another chapa to Lilongwe, Malawi. Then we'll head over to Lake Malawi (aka Lago Niassa on the mozambican side) and spend a few days hanging out on the beach. Next down to Liwonde National Park where we will do a two day safari (including canoing) and hopefully (finally) see some of the animals that africa is famous for, but in which moz is sadly lacking. Then we'll head down to Blantyre, and cross back on to Moz via Milange. From there we'll try to get a chapa to Gurue in time for Bethany's birthday, and then to Alto Molocue (megs and sarah's home) to spend a day or two with them. After that I will high tail it back to namapa to start teaching again. The roads have been rebuilt in the last year so i should be able to get home from Molocue in a day (when megs and sarah came to visit me this time last year it took two days each way). Needless to say I'm ridiculously excited.

I apologize if this blog entry is a bit of a mess, I'm rather tired, and having trouble focusing on the computer screen (i wrote out over 3000 grades yesterday, and was so excited about the trip i didn't sleep well--not conducive to staring at a computer screen for two hours...)

I really can't believe I only have 4 months until i'll be coming home! Oh and my official COS date (when i will be on a flight home) is November 21st, so i'll even get home for thanksgiving like i wanted! There was intense competition for the november slots, and they finally worked it out. I'm soooo happy I got the date I wanted! Although I'm not terribly excited about being poor and unemployed. Seeing Erin's twin girls will certainly be worth the long trek home though!

Ok, can no longer think in a logical manner, must go eat, sleep and get ready to catch the train. Will try to update from Malawi!

Beijinhos,

Laura

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