Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Merry Christmas, although it certainly doesnt feel like christmas to me when it is over 80 outside...oops sorry that wasnt very nice to all of you who happen to be dealing with the snow. I hope that everything is going well back stateside. life in africa has been of eventful. after spending about a week in maputo(the capital of mozambique) i went to Swazliand to Hlane game reserve, and it was FANTASTIC! even though i had been living in africa for over a year the only thing i had seen was a baboon, but at the game reserve i saw crocs, hippos, rhinos, zebras, giraffes,warthogs,impala,elephants,lions, and dung beetles.it was amazing. the elephants were so close to the truck that i honestly was scared for a bit,they are HUGE! both nights that i was there we had massive thunderstorms, with lions roaring...just a little african touch. unfortunatly i dont have any pictures because my camera was stolen again. Also in swazi i went to the incwala cermony. it is basically the first fruits ceremony where the king eats the first fruits of the harvest, therefore giving the rest of the popluation permission to enjoy the harvest as well.very very interesting...the kind has 13 wives! after swazi i went to durban south africa, but left rather quick like because i am still not a real fan of cities. i then headed to a place called coffee bay and hung out at the beach for a few days. after coffee bay i went to east london where i got to spend some days with my wonderful friend amanda. i stayed with her family for a few nights and it was fantastic. not too much exciting happening now...hanging out in pertoria for christmas, and then back to mozambique in january. love and miss you all!

ohh ya my phone number here is 0797327879
i think you have to dail 02779327879 or maybe 002779327879, not sure...that is my south africa number, so i will have it until the end of december/early jan!

Monday, December 8, 2008

back again

hello hello...back again! so my life in mozambique has been pretty exciting for the past few weeks, not really, but more exciting than normal. lets see...we had some kids threaten that they were going to the witch doctor to have a spell put on us because we stole their soccer ball after they continually kicked it in our yard, and the threat was rather entertaining because all of the neighbors were really worried. i was on holidays for a little while, and was unfortunatly bitten by a dog, and had to be flown to maputo(the capital) for rabies shots, thank goodness we had already been vacinated because i am not sure how well i would have dealt with shots for 21 days. it is so crazy being in the city as compared to my life in the bush, there are resturants and grocery stores...its kinda weird. and some places even have christmas decorations up! so i guess things really havent been that excting... just wanted to check in and say hi! love and miss you all!

Friday, October 31, 2008

lots of love from mozambique!

Hi again! I am done with my duties as a teacher…I am officially half way done with my teaching career! Life is moving along rather quickly right now, our house has been a parade of visitors lately so things have been exciting. A few random stories from the past weeks. We had the Mozambican equlivant of senior prom and it was pretty fun, the students “waltzed”, but it was more like all of the most dramatic parts of a waltz in a few seconds and they just repeated it a few times, but it was pretty cute. There should be some pictures on webshots if you are interested. The other day I was telling one of my students about winters in south Dakota and how children like to build snow forts and snow men and all of those other types of fun things, and right before we finished talking he asked if these snowmen could walk. The idea of making a “person” from snow was so far fetched for him, but it was really cute. Not sure if I have mentioned this before, but I have become a little bit of a liar here, and I told all of my students and the neighborhood kids that jackie chan is my father, and they think it is the coolest thing ever. But everytime a white guy comes to our house they first ask if he is one of our husbands, and then they ask if it is Jackie chan. Or when I ask them what my name is they say dona Cecilia Jackie chan. They also asked if all of the people in Jackie chan movies actually die or not, I guess that they don’t totally understand that they are movies and not real life things. Went to the market to buy food today and stopped to talk to this lady we know, she might have had a bit to drink, but as she was explaining some things to us she was patting my boobs like you would pat someone on the shoulder and thought absolutely nothing of it, it took just about everything in me not to burst out laughing in her face. Hope you are all preparing for the upcoming cold months, we are almost finished with the really hot stuff, just waiting for the ultra exciting rainy season to start. Rain 7 days a week…cant wait! Lots of love!
Linds J

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ola! Everything is going well here in Catandica, finally finished my classes for the year so now all that I have left to do is what we call conselhos de notas, which is when all the teachers get together and they try and make you give students higher grades, kind of annoying, but if you aren’t there they might just go ahead and change grades, but that is a couple day process and then I am done. We went to the beach a few weeks ago,and it was amazing, minus the fact that I fell asleep reading on the beach, this made the ride home one of the more unpleasant experiences in my life. I loved the beach before coming here, but going to beaches with next to no development is amazing, we walked along the beach for 2 hours and the only thing we saw was a small fishing village with less than 100 people. It was BEAUTIFUL! Not too much exciting has been going on. Although we did get a helicopter fly-by hello from some of our friends, and then the kids were asking if we saw the helicopter. Last week we had a huge thunderstorm for about 2-3 hours, the energy went out and it was one of the coolest storms that I have ever seen. Normally I might be kind of crabby about the energy going out,but I was quite pleased this time. 12 October was Dia dos Professores- Teachers Day, and I think that teachers in America deserve this day too. The day started off amazing when my best friends ( boys ranging in age from about 4-14, whose father is a witch doctor) brought me ripe mangoes! Starting the day with ripe mangoes, nothing gets any better! We had a party at our school where the students served us chicken, salad, potatoes, and beer. It was pretty fun, a little bit weird to have students serving beer, but some of the other teachers were so drunk they could hardly dance, so I didn’t feel too bad. By the end of the night all of the teachers were dancing and the students loved it. I think that it is the goal of a lot of students and teachers to get carrie and I to dance, because when we do they go crazy. On Monday I presented certificates to the students who participated in English theatre, all of the students who were there happened to be boys, and thought that rather than shake hands that it would be appropriate to do the kiss on each cheek thing, and after every student the other students had a lot of fun cheering,it was kind of embarrassing.On Saturday we have the Baile Dos Finalistas- which is basically the equivalent of a senior prom. The preparation for this dance has made me realize that I teach at the closest thing to a “ prep” school that exists in Mozambique. The students have been working since the beginning of the year to earn money for the dance, but it is kind of sad because a lot of them don’t get to go because they don’t have money. It costs 150 Meticais, about $10, which is a ridiculously large sum of money for most of the kids. But they are brining in chefs from Chimoio, they have been learning the waltz, and there is a dress code. The boys have to wear black pants and suit coats and the girls have to wear white or crème colored dresses, it all seems a bit over the top to me, but we will see how it goes. The students are really excited about it, and really excited about the fact that carrie and I are going. I cant imagine being excited about having any of my high school teachers being at prom, let alone asking them weeks in advance to save a dance for me, but I guess that just goes to show how different the student/teacher relationships are here. Another thing that I have been wanting to write about for a while, but have just failed to do so is the way that names work here. First of all people have names such as Vinagre( Vinegar), Cebolla (Onion), Alface (Lettuce), Castigo, Ndamo( Punishment) Faz-Tudo ( does everything), Sabao(Soap) Sande(Sandwich) Tendai( Gratitude), Torres( Tower). All lovely names, so we all know how names work in most western countries right? Well here it is a little bit different. First of all when people get married a lot of them don’t change their names, at least where I live. The other thing that is a lot different is the way that children are named. For example. John Smith marries Jane Doe, they have a child and name it Matthew. So the kids name would be Matthew John Smith, if Matthew has a kid named Ben, the kids name would be Ben Matthew John, , it took me a while to figure out why when you ask someone their name do you get a million names rather than just the first name, and this is why. And in many cases the mothers name is just forgotten about. Interesting huh? That’s all for now! Hugs and kisses!
Linds :)
Not sure if I will get to it, but there should be some new pics up on webshots!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Hello Hello! I am having a love hate relationship with Mozambique right now, so take this as a warning before you start reading. First of all thanks for the birthday wishes….it turned out to be a very interesting day. I was in the city the day before and when we were at the chapa (mini-bus) stop we were kind of playing with this little boy and making faces at him and whatnot. When we are almost out of town Carrie notices that this little boy is still on the chapa, so she asks the cobrador (the guy who collects the money) who this little boy is traveling with, and he continuously ignores her. 150kms later, we arrive in Catandica. (On the way we stopped on this bridge and watched some guys slaughtering a hippo…kinda gross, but kinda cool). We start walking home and notice that this boy is following us, so we ask what he is doing and he starts crying. We take him back to the chapa stop, and they tell us that we are responsible for taking him to the police because if not we are going to be accused of child trafficking. AWESOME! So we take him to the police station where we get to deal with an officer who appears to be intoxicated, and more concerned with our marital status than this boy. Over the course of a few hours we learn that this boy is 7 years old and that his father cells CDs on the street in Chimoio. The police say that they will take him to social services...done with that thankfully!......or so we thought…Monday morning the boy shows up at our house bawling….he ran away from social services so Carrie takes him back and they say that they are sending him back to Chimoio on Tuesday. Ohh wait….Wednesday morning I look out the window and who is sitting under our tree…none other than the little boy. So we once again take him back to the village, and during the course of the 30 min walk this little boy becomes almost un human…it takes 3 adults to carry him as he is kicking, hitting, screaming and trying to bite us. We get him back to social services and they claim that they have been looking for him, but who really knows. But honestly a 7 year old kid travels 150kms by himself, and no one really seems to care…soo weird. The other part of my hate relationship is that I am working with a couple teachers and about 15 students on an English theatre presentation, and the night before the competition their biggest concern seems to be what we are going to eat for breakfast and if they are going to get a per diem or not…soo frustrating…cant you just do something because you want to and not because of the money that you think you should get. And the love part of it…. For my birthday 3 students who also come and hang out at our house gave me a teacup and saucer…they are so sweet. They were a bit upset that I wasn’t here in the morning on my birthday because apparently the thing to do is pour water on the birthday person. The Kids here are just sooo CUTE! When we first arrived all of the kids just called us muzungu( white person), but now they say Dona Cecilia Dona Cecilia tali shanwali( no idea how it is spelled, but it means hello friend in dialect.) and I also find it rather amusing how much entertainment can be had by the hair on my arms….the kids think it is really cool. Basically the kids are the best thing ever…if I am having a bad day I can almost be guaranteed a smile when I walk down the road with all the kids…some of the parents have even started telling us that the kids talk about their friends Cecilia and Carolina J
Other than that not much new, but the time you read this I will have officially been in Mozambique for over one year! To get you really excited about the upcoming winter months at home…it has been 90 by 9am the past 3 days…sounds like fun doesn’t it? And I finish school in 21 days!!Love and miss you all!
so that is all kind of old news now, but since i already had it all typed out ifigured that i might as well post it. the english theatre competiton went well, minus the fact that the other 2 teachers from my school and 3 of the students thought that it would be a good idea to get drunk, but other than that it went well. i just got home from the beach...it was amazing, you can walk for miles and miles down the beach and there is no development, it is just untouched and so beautiful. i guess not much else to say...school is done is 11 days! yay! love and miss you! :)

Saturday, September 13, 2008


hello everyone and good afternoon! how are things back home? going well here, not too much has changed, but i am super excited that i am closing in on the one year mark! only 15 months left to go! school finishes in a little more than a month , and i am getting very excited to get out and do a little bit of traveling. other than that not much new...i was doing lessons on gender equality in my classes and one of my students was kind enough to inform me that men are intelligent and that women are not intelligent, and that women can not fly airplanes...and they also told me that they hate me.ohh i love being a teacher. a few weeks ago i had one studnet put a dead bird in another students backpack! ohh exciting! not too much else for now! love and miss you all!

Sunday, August 17, 2008


Hi everyone! I hope that all is well back in america...things are moving along quicky here. I cant believe that I have already been gone almost a year. It is a pretty crazy thought. Sometimes I forget that I am living in Mozambique....but the things that remind me that I am here always make me laugh. For instance: the other day I was wearing this dress that I had recently purchased, not the most beautiful dress ever, but I wanted it to use as a patten for a different dress, but anyway I was walking to the market, and this guy calls me over to his house and says in portuguese “ cecilia you are not pretty today, you are ugly and that dress is ugly too.” ok thank you! And then I continued a little ways down the road and this old man says in english “cecila today you have beauty, you are very much beauty.” sometimes the honesty makes me laugh, but I love the fact that you can be told you are ugly and beautiful within 10 min. the other day some of my students were looking at my pictues from america and they were telling me that I used to be fat and that my skirts were too short.ohhh mozambique. In class the other day I teaching time and my studetns asked if if was the same time in mozambique as it is in south dakota, so the next day I brought in a globe to show about the rotation of the earth, and they told me that I was lying because if the world were turning we would fly off. There is a year 12 student at our school and everytime she comes over she yells at me for not wearing my flip flops in the kitchen. Mozambicans are pretty big on the idea of wearing house shoes( for that matter if any of the new moz invitees are reading this, despite what peace corps say bring flip flops because your host family will want you to wear them in the house.) last saturday we had a meeting that lasted over 7 hours ( just a note, it was supposed to be 3) I honestly thought that I was going to die, it could be on the top 3 of the most miserable days of my lifer Ohh ya when carries mother came to visit she brought carries comptuer, and we now have battleships! That was thrilling. I never know what is going to be interesting for you guys...so if you have questions let me know. I did just find out that our villa has a population of 20,000...never really realized that.....now I am curious as what what percentage are under the age of 7....i think it is probably about 20-25%. we are also going to be getting a bank here, how is that for exciting? But apparently a bank means a supermarket too....not a supermarket like any of you are thinking, but something that sells more than beer, whiskey, and really gross cookies. In my wishful thinking I am also hoping that it means internet...but I am not getting my hopes too high for that. The other day at our market I got a new shelf for our house, and the guys that I got it from are zimbabweans, and they had left zim at 4am walked to catandica, a 12 hour walk. And as soon as they sold their shelves they were going back home. 2 guys one with a shelf one with a coffee table, and they would be walking for about 24 hours in total to make less than $20. makes you think about how tough life actually is huh? Better cut if off before you are all bored to death. Love and miss you all! Just a friendly reminder.....dont forget the importance of september 14th....... I am 17,000 miles from home :P and I really like fruit snacks, cereal bars, and my ears wound not mind some new music, and my eyes would like some new magazines....i promise that somewhere in my soul I still have some amount of shame.and if you want to check out some of carries(my roommate) pictures they are on webshots, I think you just have to search carriecarnevale, but beware they might make you want to come visit even more than you do now. So I never know what to write anymore so if there is anything that you want to know... leave me a message!
Linds :)

Monday, July 28, 2008

end of the world

sorry about the random titles...so i am on my way home from a whirlwind tour of northen mozambique. my friend natalie and i used our 2 week break from school to heat north. we went to this place called lichinga...otherwise known as the end of the world. it took us 5 days to get there and 4 to get home, but it was definatly a fun journey. we basically hitchhiked all the way there, and some of hte people that gave us rides were hilarious. we got one from this semi truck driver and part way he got out his digital camera and then we all had to get our tof the truck and take pictures with him in front of hte truck...it was super funny. i am highly suggesting that any one and everyone come visit mozambique because it is beautiful, and well...i kind of miss you guys! i hope that all is well at home!
linds :)

Sunday, July 13, 2008


so it has been way too long since i last wrote,sorry! i am kind of stupid and ruined my flash drive, so now it takes me forever to type these things when i am actually at the internet. i hope that evryone at home is doing well. things are mozmabique are good for the most part, you know...besides having daily cravings for mexican food. i just finished my 2nd trimester, so that means only 4 more to go until i am done being a teacher! woo hoo! i hope that everyone had wonderful 4th of july weekends. we had a bunch of our pc friends come to our house and it was fun, definalty not like being in america though, but we made the best of it. lets see random funny stories from the past few months. on wednesday morning i saw all my little best friends going out into the bush like they do everday, but then when they finally came out at about 3 they had caught and killed 47 field mice that they were going to take home and eat! i took a picture, and it almost made me vomit just because i hate mice so much, but they were having a heck of the time with them. and yesterday when i got to the city there was a woman who had a basked full of grilled mice that she was selling, kinda crazy huh!ohh ya the president(of mozambique) also visited about 3 or 4 weeks ago. and i got to shake his hand and he asked me if i was a teacher and what subject i taught, and ya it iwas in portuguese so i felt kind of cool. i think i have already told you this but i started taking shona( local language) lessons, and they are coming along pretty slowly, but yesterday our language tutor walked to villa with me and he was telling me what all the kids were saying and it was quite funny. when the kids would walk far from their houses the other kids would yell at them and tell them that they were going to get stolen, it was kind of making me laugh. i hope you are all well at home!
love and miss you all!
linds :)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

amazing mozambique...the 13 original colonies that are being taught at one of the secondary schools here: albany,new york, boston, chicago, florida, california, mexico, los angeles, korea,uruguay,georgia, and philly....amazing educational system. ohh ya i now have a new phone so feel free to call me whenever. made it 6 months so far..only 18 left!
love and miss you
linds :)

Friday, May 30, 2008

boo boo boo

hello! so i last wrote on sunday..at that point everything was going wonderful. carrie and i had just gone to visit our friends in this place called mangunde...the most bush of africa..it was kinda funny...and we had a great time. and then my phone got stolen when we were only about 3 min from our house! so i am a little bitter about that, but it was kind of funny because my students and all the other teachers were so mad. they were all telling me to go to the curendario( traditional healer) and have him work some magic on the guy who stole my phone, but they said that i had to be careful because if i didnt do what the guy said or if i didnt pay him that i would go crazy. they also told me that the crazy people in the villa are crazy because they went to the curendario and took some medicine to become rich. it is just kind of funny the things that some of them believe. the said that they guy who took my phone would know that i went to the curendario because the curendario would use a bicycle pump, and when the used it the theifs stomach would grow and then he would know that there was curse on him and i would get my phone back.sorry this is kind of random...just wanted to say hi....i am still working on getting my old phone number back... so for now i am cellphone less!
love and miss you all
linds :)

Sunday, May 25, 2008


Once again not too much exciting stuff is going on here. I had an awesome trip to the beach a few weeks ago... well it started out pretty awesome at least. We were waiting at this place called Inchope to get a lift, and there were these 4 little girls who had just finished school and they just kept running back and forth in front of us and then randomly stopping and dancing and laughing and laughing and laughing. It was pretty darn cute. We were lucky enough to get a lift in a private car, so we made the 400 Km trip in about 4 hours, this is exciting news because on the way back we got a lift in some random transport truck that went about 50-60 kms/hour, so our trip home took us almost 8 hours, definatly not the coolest thing that I have ever done. But once again the beach was awesome. There were a ton of volunteers there, so it was awesome to get to see everyone. We even found a place in the villa that sold smoothies and wraps...i am not really sure that I am in the peace corps any more. The only bad part about the trip was that on the way home we had to take a chapa ( a van type thing that should seat 15, but normally has between 20-25) from inchope to chimoio, this is a 60 km trip that normally costs 45 mets. Not a bad deal right? I gave the cobrador( the guy who collects the money) 500 mets, and the jerk only gave me 50 mets back and told me that I was a liar and that I didnt give him 500 mets, I was so mad I thought that I was going to go to jail for murder and maybe if I was lucky get sent back to america. Annoying that he robbed me of 400 mets ( only about $16), but I was just plain mad that he was calling me a liar. Ya enough of my ranting.

So this next portion is going to involve a bit of foul language...sorry. But today was just too funny...first of all before the bad words. I was teaching one of my classes today and another professor came into my class of 53 studetns and pulled all but 18 of them and said that they couldnt be in class because they were still not caught up with their work in the school garden, I guess that they dotn realize that it is more frustrating for me than for the students because I am the one who has to deal with students who are behind. But whatever.... now the bad lauguage...i am sure that this really isnt going to be funny to anyone but me, but I found it hilarious so in my mind it is worth sharing. I walked out on the front porch today and was telling my neighbor how I am still scared of kelly( the girl who lived here before us)'s dogs and she says in english “be careful because there is a bitch in your yard” ...kind of struck me as funny. And then we were walking to the market, and normally there are a bunch of kinds who yell “ howareyouhowareyouhowareyouhowareyou” and have no idea what they are saying....but today after we passed our little howareyou friends there were a couple kids saying F*** you, no clue where they learned it, but it still struck me as funny.

Yesterday we were at the market and started talking to this lady that we had met before, and she took us over to her little shop. She sells traditional medicine to people and to the witch doctors, so we started asking her about the stuff, and it was kind of interesting. There were all of these powders and beans and tree bark, and something that looked like hedgehog quills. She was telling us how some of the powders you mix in tea or this corn meal kind of stuff and it will help to get rid of stomaches or headaches. That I can understand because I am sure they are just some herbs, so it didnt seem to far off. But then she was saying if a woman is pregnant and is having trouble with the pregnancy, she can eat this powder and within a month she will have the baby, but she also said you can only take it towards the end of pregnancy, so that just seems like a mental thing to me. And there were also some to take to get rid of bad spirits, and some for male masturbation and she was also telling us how sticking the quills under your braids will help get rid of something, but I cant remember what it is... it is all just kinda crazy interesting. I am now how of the 20s and into the teens....less than 19 months to go!


at the market the other day this guy had a monkey on is back and I asked to take a picture super cute monkey, but guess what his name was..... george bush! The picture is on webshots

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

hello hello!

So life has not been terribly exciting here as of late. I have turned into a big sissy, I keep thinking that it is cold here...i think wrong. We finally got a thermometer and it is about 62 when tend to think that it is cold. I dont know how I am going to survive another south dakota winter. Hit the big 7 month mark today( april 27th), I cant believe that I have already been gone 7 months. I think that this is the longest that I have been away from home, kind of crazy. So now I have less than 20 months to go.. woo hoo

Saturday, April 19, 2008

eu so eu ( i am me)

hello hello! so i have so much to say, but i am being kind of lazy and dont really want to type it all. but i just finished a pretty darn amazing week. there is this girls group here called Redes . in english it stands for girls for information education and health. we had 54 girls from all over the country together learning about womens empowerment and making healthy decisions. it was so crazy to see the transformation in the girls over the course of a week. some of them came in super shy, and they left with so much confidence. it was great! i have also never seen people have so much fun with toilet paper. we did a human mummy contest, and i think that hte girls had more fun playing with the tp afterward. it was just hilarious. i think that i am going to get in on the planning for next year, so that should be fun(a ton of work) but fun. random gross story. bt i woke up this morning feeling terribly ill, and when i got off the bus in the city i got sick. then some dude walked up to me and told me that i had to clean it up..uhh sorry dude you just watched me be violently ill. thanks! and then afterward i went to the post office to mail some letters, but they didnt have stamps. a post office not having stamps? alrighty then. i think that is all for now. love and miss you all!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

this is what i really wanted to say

So much to say: Most days there are 7-10 different boys( of course not girls, because they have to be home or in the field helping mom) who hang out in front of our fence saying “ tha-tha” “tha-tha” (hello in dialect, probably spelled wrong) “dona Cecilia, dona Carolina” and they basically just stand there in shifts talking until they get some sort of acknowledgment. Some of them take the goats to and from the fields, and the others...well i am not sure what they really do. I asked some of them how old they were... my guess would have been about 6 or 7. but they said they are 9 and 10. i also asked if they go to school and they said no. I am not sure if this answer is entirely true because they don't speak Portuguese all that well, so they may not have understood the question. But it doesn't seem that unreasonable that they wouldn't go to school because they sit in front of our house everyday. I was just sitting outside messing around with them and i figured that i could at least do something useful, so i wrote down the numbers 1-10 on a piece of paper. Clearly something that i thought would be elementary for 9 and 10 year olds, but i was wrong. They could all count to 10, but if i pointed to a number out of sequence, the only way that they could recognize it was to count up to it. I am not exactly sure why they don't go to school. School here is free until 7th grade, but students have to wear uniforms, and these are not free, so that could be one reason. They also might have to work in the field, or in some cases it could just be that the family does not think that education is important. Whatever the reason may be, I am hoping that we can at least get them to recognize the numbers 1-10 and letters, hopefully over the course of the next 2 years we can move on to reading and simple math, but who knows. It is just terribly sad to me that they could go to school for free, and for some reason unknown to me, they don't. I have been learning a lot about the school that I teach at recently, and there is so much of it that I just cant believe. Sorry if I have said this already, but every morning classes start at 7 and kids have to be there by 6.45 and then line up by class and sing the national anthem. We have these 2 huge gates at the front of the school, and when they are getting ready to close the gates the guards blow a whistle and the kids run like made to try and get in before the gates are closed. One day I was walking to the market and the director was standing in the guard house yelling “run, run , run, faster, faster.” it all just seems so weird to me. The reason that it is such a big deal to get there on time is that kids are only allowed 3 absences per class, and if they have more than 3 they cant pass (well theoretically, but there is so much corruption here that they can just pay someone, but that story will wait for another day.) What I have been learning that I don't like mostly has to do with the dorms. The kids have to wake up at 4 everyday but Sunday, and then they can sleep until 6. they are also not allowed to leave the school grounds except on Sunday, and even then they have to be back by 4.30, so if your family lives far away, you can only seem them on holidays. Also students have to be sick for 15 days before the head of the dorms will let them leave to go home, it is so crazy weird. Tembo (one of the boys who stayed with us) was sick and we were trying to get them to let him come rest at our house so we could give him good food and stuff, and we had to go to the dorms with the director of the school, and as we walked through he woke up everyone who was sleeping and told them that they had to go do work. Some things here I will never understand. There is also a couple students from other classes who like to come over and practice reading and speaking. It would be nice if they were my students, but oh well. But one of the boys is 16 and the sweetest kid ever. His family lives 1.5 hours away by chapa, and he lives here in Catandica with 3 of his brothers, all students at the school. The four of them share this two room mud hut, and I think that things might be pretty rough. But last time he went home to see his parents, and he came to my house on Monday with a pumpkin, a cucumber, and 4 lemons. It just amazes me that they have nothing to give, but they give everything that they have. I cant really imagine 4 brothers in America being sent to live 1.5 hours from their parents and supporting themselves. Nothing else too exciting has been going on, the children still jump up and down and chant “ MuZungu” every time Carrie and i walk by. Amazing that after nearly 3 months of living here and walking to and from the market on the same road everyday that the sight of a MuZungu never ceases to excite them. They are also incredibly amazed by indiglo watches, indiglo watches might actually be cooler than the muzungus wearing them. We made the mistake of the little “1,2,3 and then you pick the kid up and swing them game” now every time we want to get rid of them it takes about 5 minutes to pick up every kid and swing them, but thats ok, they love it. I think thats all for now!
Happy Birthday Kenz!( Ya I realize that it is really late now.)
Love and miss you all!
Linds :)
ohh ya the trivia from last time....lots of plastic bags and a condom.....a soccer ball. They take all the plastic bags and tie them together and them for a soccer ball, real soccer balls here cost about $40, a bit spendy. The condom is blown up and put in the middle and all the bags are wrapped around it. Sometimes they only use the plastic bags, but then the ball doesn't have as much of a bounce. Genius kids huh?
This is unbelievably long...sorry...but I the first one is the one that I couldn't post last time...and well.... this is about my amazing vacation that I took over Easter weekend. I thought that Mozambique was pretty amazing before, but after visiting the beach I am sure of it. You all need to come visit. We went to a place called Vilankulos and it was amazing. It might have been the most beautiful beach that I have ever seen in my life, and in addition to being beautiful, there were no tourists. The tides are just amazing. When the tide is out there are a ton of boats that are beached and then when it comes back in all of the boats go out for fishing. It is pretty cool to see. You can also buy fresh fish, shrimp, crab, squid, and just about any other sea food that you can think of for next to nothing. One day we took a day trip out to one of the islands and went snorkeling. It was my first time and to be honest I was pretty scared at first, but after about 5 minutes it was awesome. I got a little cut up because being the smart girl I am, didn't realize how strong the current was and bumped into a huge rock thing...oops, but it is ok because it was totally worth it. I think we probably saw about 50-70 different types of fish, it was just awesome, I guess I don't know how else to say it. I guess you just have to come and see how amazing it is. I think that my next goal is going to be to get certified for scuba diving. They also had some amazing art that doesn't come to my parts of the country. I might have gotten myself into a little trouble splurging on art...but oh well.... I will only live in Africa once right? When we were driving back on Sunday we saw a group of about 20 wild monkeys just hanging out on the side of the road, it was kind of crazy, something that I never thought that I would see in my life time. Ohh ya...embarrassing story of the year.... I got home from school the other day and realized that I had a hole in my skirt....so my students could probably see my butt for all of class ...nice work teacher Cecilia. I think that is all for now. Love and Miss you all. One trimester down....only 5 to go! If anyone has some recipes they would like to send me,(email would be best) that would be amazing. They have to be pretty simple because our ingredients are pretty limited here. Yet another random comment... I was talking to one of my colleagues and he asked me what the significance of my anklets was.... I guess they dont have a significance, just for looks really. He told me that people here only wear them to fend off bad spirits, and they type of thing around your ankle depends on what type of spirit you are trying to keep away.
Another random story.... I went to school this morning to do some work and I was in a kind of bad mood. To annoy me even further this police officer said ( in Portuguese) “ good morning, how are you?” “ we are good thanks, and you senhor?” and then the jerk says “ senhor policia” you have to be kidding me. Senhor isnt good enough it has to be senhor policia. Clearly I am not Mozambican, give me a break jerkface.

ohh ya if anyone still loves to send packages:
i dont need anymore chapstick,lemon pepper, toothbrushes, and razors
things i would love to have more of:ketchup, parmasan cheese,once again girly things, and fun spices

lots of love!
Linds :)

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

hello hello!

once again i cant get my darn flash to work! ahh i am getting so frustrated! but i love and miss you all!, i am back now with nothing to do, so why not at least give a little sort of update. over easter weekend i went to this place called vilankulo, and it was absolutly amazing! it was probably the most beautiful beach that i have ever seen, and there were no tourists. we went snorkeling one day, i was terrified for hte first 5 min but i got over it and had a blast! i wasnt the smartest girl and didnt realize how strong the current was, and therefore got a little cut up, but it was totally worth it. i am guessing we saw somewhere around 60 types of fish, it was crazy- i think you might have even liked it zo :) we also got to eat some amazing seafood, something that we definatly dont get here in the mountains. when we were driving home the guy slowed way down and on the road in front of us was a group of about 20 monkeys. something that i would never have thought i would see in the wild. not even in a reserve or anything. they were just hanging out. pretty darn crazy. i just finished up my 1st trimester! finally! 1 down and 5 to go. i could quite possibly be the most unpopular teacher in all of catandica. the students love to cheat, and i think that carrie and i are the only ones who give zeros for cheating, the kids hate us as teachers, but other than that i think they like us. I gave a couple zeros on the final trimester exam, and those kids really hate me because that grade is worth 50% ....my students here make me laugh so hard becuase the days when i feel the crappiest and crabbiest are they days when i walk to school and the neighbors and my students say how pretty i look. i think they must have pyschic abilities or something, they can just tell when i am having a bad day, pretty impressive. yesterday i was talking with one of my colleagues and he asked what the sifnificance of my anklets was... i said that they were just for looks. he then told me that people here only wear them to fend off bad spirits, so people think that i am trying to fend off spirits...always nice to know. the other day i was in a pretty bad mood...what a surprise... and i was walking to school and this police officer said ( in portuguese) good morning, how are you? and i said i am good thank you, how are you senhor? and he turns around and says "senhor policia" i was pretty annoyed with it. clearly i am not mozambican, do you really need to get angry about me saying the policia part... frustration! ohh ya if anyone wants to send me some simple recipies, i mean really simple that would be great. those involving squash would be fantastic because that seems to be what is growing the best in our garden, and i am not really sure how to cook it.
love and miss you lots!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

eu vou comer arroz com boi

once again, i had a great post, and i cant seem to get it to work. ya the condoms and plastic bags...used for soccer balls...pretty smart huh? a realy soccer ball costs about $40, and when the average pay is $2 per day, isnt really reasonable. i guess nothing is super exciting. i started tutoring some 7-10 year olds who dont know the numbers 1-10, it is going pretty well. umm ya i guess i dont have a whole lot to say. i will post the other thing when i get it to work. love and miss you all! thanks a ton for hte packages!! it is like christmas in march!!! :) :) :)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

This will probably be kind of random because I am writing weird things as they happen, so it might just be a random blob of stories. Every Friday we have what are called reunios de turma, which are just meetings of the classes. Some of the students didn't think that we were going to school, so they came to our house to make sure that we would be going to school, and then they carried our bags for us...interesting. I am the director de turma, basically I am just a homeroom teacher.Yesterday we didnt have anything to do and they wanted me to sing (dont asky why-they obviously dont know horribly I sound), so I taught them some lovely songs in English. You know the good ol classics twinkle twinkle little star, itsy bitsy spider, abcs, head shoulders knees and toes. If anyone can think of any other fun easy ones tell me because they love them. The other day my roommate said she was woken up at 4am, because she could hear students in the gym. 2 of the students came to visit us and we asked what time they had gotten up and they said 4. apparently the school made all of the students who live in the dorms get up at 4 and go running in the gym. A lot of the students have been sick and the administrators think that it is because they are doing any sort of exercise...once again interesting. I also met a German girl a few weeks ago who lives in my village and the other night we went to have dinner and drinks together and were talking about the AIDS project that she is working with, and she was explaining how they do a baseline study to figure out the level of information that community members have. And one of the things that a lot of people reported on the survey is that they think that white people created HIV/AIDS so that they could have even more control over black people in Africa....sad huh? And more random stories...And more random stories...a few weeks ago when we were coming home from the city the chapa stopped and everyone had to get out and go through this hand washing station, we all had our hands washed with bleach water in the hopes that cholera will not be spread. They also implemented the same thing at our school, everyone has to wash their hands when then walk through the front gate. Weird, but whatever. I finally remembered my camera one day when we walked to the villa, and on the way home I asked one of the mothers if it would be ok to take some pictures.. when the kids saw my camera they went crazy. They love to have their picture taken. After each picture they would jump up and down clapping and screaming because they were so happy. I love the simplicity of life here.The only bad thing is that everytime I walk to town at least 3 children say “Dona Cecilia tirar foto.” “Ms. Cecilia, take a photo.” I am also working on learning dialect- lets just say the progress is going to be really slow. I am only working on good morning, good afternoon, good evening, hello, and what is your name- but it is going to be a long process. One of the ladies in the market is teaching me, so everyone else gets a nice laugh when they hear me try to repeat what she says. But the dialect is so hard.My favorite world is malala- good morning. Muzungu is someone who is sick but MuZUngu is a white person, then plural white people is AZUngu...looks like it is going to be a long road. Thanks to my cousin Paige for the hemp, we have been making lots and lots of stuff, and we started our girls group, and at the first meeting we all made matching hemp bracelets, and they loved it Norths and Grams-first- THANK YOU so much for the packages! you might find this kind of interesting- All of the movies that you sent in the last package had stickers on the boxes, so one day I was being anal and peeling off the stickers while Tembo and Simba were here. I had fully intended to throw them away, but the boys had better use for them. They used them to decorate their phones and notebooks, and the continued to go on and on about how beautiful their note books were. And these stickers were not beautiful by any means. They were stickers with blockbuster bar codes- ohh the simple things that satisfy. As I am typing this there are 4 children standing outside our fence begging to come in, and then speaking Mbarue(the dialect) thinking that we understand. Yesterday one of carries students was wearing a Sioux Falls shirt- how crazy is that! Sorry about the bad link to my pictures, my mother informed me that it doesn't work trying to get it fixed, but I think if you go to webshots and search for Lsongstad it should still work. Once again apologies for this being so random, it has been written over the course of the last 4 weeks, which have for the most part been pretty awesome, so there is a lot to tell about. You will have to go look at my pictures, because I finally got to go to the top of the mountain and it is BEAUTIFUL! I am not even going to try and explain it because it was honestly breathtaking. We drove to the very end of this 'road' which was more like a footpath, it was like the end of the world. It is actually the path that the people coming over from Zimbabwe use. If you don't know, conditions in Zimbabwe are really bad, really bad to the point that people will walk for 2-3 days just to come to Mozambique to buy a bag of rice, and then make the 3 day journey back home. If they are lucky and can get a lift they can save about a day, but most of it has to be done on foot, horribly sad, but the people are still are so friendly. We were also privileged enough to meet this guy who is writing / doing a photo documentary of the Mbarue culture. And he has taken us to see some pretty amazing dancing, singing, and instrument playing. The last few days have been the days where I am getting ready to go to bed saying that I could live in Mozambique forever .I hope that all is well at home. DONT FREEZE! Love and miss you all.

ps- mom I have a new obsession with patsy cline. And to both mom and dad- HAPPY ANNIVERSARY!


I have some pretty amazing colleagues, ( have I ever used that word in America- No, but here it seems to have become common place) in the English department. One of my favorites is a guy from Zimbabwe called Goodluck. Nope not a nickname, his name is really Goodluck. My favorite thing about Goodluck is that one day he wrote a note to another colleague called Albino asking for a favor. In this note he asked Albino if he could get some stuff from me, but in the note he said “ Could you please get the 9th grade book from the woman (white). Awesome reference huh, but I guess when you are one of 4 white people in the entire town it is kind of fitting isn't it?

And trivia for the next post.... if you had a condom and a lot of plastic bags what would you do? Or what do you think a mozambican would do. Nothing perverted please.

just so you can all be jealous...i went tubing on a croc infested river yesterday...good thing i didnt fall off!

Saturday, February 2, 2008

I love it!

Hello Everyone! So I am officially a teacher! What a scary thought! I am teaching 5 turmas of 9th grade english! I everyday at 7 or 7.50 and I am done by 12.05, so I am going to have a lot of free timeA turma is basically just a class. Each turma has between 35-55 students. And I teach each turma 3 classes a week- so my work load here is going to be pretty light. Only 15 classes a week. It kind of makes me feel bad because there are teachers at the school who are teaching. Classes in the morning, afternoon and evening. Our school is so big and overcrowded that they have classes broken up into morning afternoon and evening. I think that there are close to 45 turmas each with about 45 students. So there are somewhere around 2000 students. Last week we were helping with some tasks at the school and having meetings, and you would not believe some of the things that were brought up at the meeting. We spent 45 min discussing what is and what is not an appropriate teacher/student relations. They also talked about not beating your wife, children, girlfriend, boyfriend, ect, in the street because you are a teacher and a role model. I am not so sure what I really think about the teaching thing. Monday was the first official day of school, but we didn't teach. There was an assembly where they went over the rules(One of which was “when you have a question raise your right hand), and expectations for students and teachers. It was almost 3 hours long and really boring. One thing that I am not sure if I have mentioned or not is the way in which question/answer sessions are held here. When they open the floor for questions, people ask questions, the questions are written down, and then all of the questions are answered at one time. It just seems odd to me. The first day of actual class was pretty interesting. My first class was first period, so I went a little early. Classes start at 7, but students have to be at school at 6.30. Before school they line up by turma and at 6.45 they sing the national anthem. The students stay in the same classroom all day and the teachers move from class to class. When the teacher enters the room one student says “ Attention class” and then everyone stands up and says “ Good morning teacher, how are you?” I am well how are you? “ we are fine thank you.” and if you forget to tell them that they can be seated they will continue to stand until you remember. Also whenever students want to talk they have to stand, it all seems so odd Most of the 9th grade curriculum involves Mozambican culture and teaching kids to be able to speak about Mozambique in english. Today we were talking about traditions. And one tradition here is called the Lobolo- it is basically just a bride price. So in class I was asking my students to explain this to me, one boy asked if he could explain it to me using an example. So he stands up and says “ I want to marry professora Cecilia and I go to her father and give him money.” I told him that was a bad example, but the class had a great laugh. But things are going well and I think that for the most part I am still enjoying myself. Before I forget I wanted to mention that my favorite part of Africa is sitting in my bed with a flash light for 10 minutes before I can go to sleep to be sure that all of the bus INSIDE my mosquito net are dead. Another story about the little criancas...when I was home from the market yesterday my hands were full and this little boy came up and grabbed my arm and started walking with me, a few feet down the road another boy did the same thing, and it was adorable because they were just grinning from ear to hear, and they were speaking all kinds of dialect to me that I couldn't understand, but really when a kid is grinning from ear to ear just because he can hold your hand does it really matter?

Estou a pedir (I am asking for)

This lovely saying is quite possibly one of my least favorite parts of Mozambique People will estou a pedir for just about anything. One day a child pedir(ed) for ONE flip=flop... really child what good is one flip flop going to do you? We also have people pedir for work at least once a week. One of my all time favorite pedirs was estou a pedir a bebe – I am asking for the baby. There is also a mother on the road to the market that will say A bebe esta a pedir um mil. The baby is asking for 1 metacal? And the thing about estou a pedir is that there is no shame in asking for anything here. People will ask for you for just about everything. I have read stories of other people comparing estou a pedir to the lottery. You play and play but never win... you just continue with the hopes that it might work. At least with estou a pedir they have nothing to lose.

Estou a pedir some beef stock...yes I know it sounds weird. And some glow starts to hand out to students who do well on tests, and crushed red pepper, Parmesan cheese, anything girly (ie facial stuff, pedicure stuff, manicure stuff, and magazines...new or old.

Love and miss you all (South Dakotans...please don't freeze- Africa is warm...come visit!)

linds :)

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Ela Danca Bem

Back again, but this time only because I am a total and complete idiot. I have been told I am a dumb blond before, but I think that this story tops them all. At some point over my Christmas holidays I lost my bank card, I wasn't too worried about it though because you need the pin to do anything so I was just kind of putting off getting a new one as long as I could. I finally went to the bank on a Friday and got a new card, considering all of the paperwork was in Portuguese it was much easier than I had imagined. It took forever but oh well. To make a long story short, my card didn't work for 4 days, and when it finally worked I was so excited to finally have money ( I had been living off 3.5 Mtn- about $0.10 ) that I left my bank card in the ATM, now I get to go through the entire process again, hopefully this time it wont take 4 days to get a working card. But anyway... I am falling in love with Catandica. As I have said before we like a few Kms from the market, so we have to walk into town most days to buy one thing or another, and the kids that live along the road never cease to make me smile. They now know that I am not professora kelly and that my name is cecilia (Lindsay is way to hard for native Portuguese speakers to say). When then see us coming down the road they start yelling “professora cecilia, professora carolina.” it is crazy to be able to make a kid smile just by saying good afternoon. What is even more cute is the fact that the really young ones don't even speak Portuguese, so they don't even understand good afternoon, they just love the fact that we say something. They have also picked up the habit of grabbing my hands if they are free. It is the cutest thing to see huge smiles just because they can walk down the road holding my hand. The past few days we have been doing some work at the school, helping to type lists of kids who passed and those who failed so that they can make up new lists for classes this year, and the directors are amazed at how fast we can type. I have a feeling that we will be asked to do a lot of typing over the next two years. We also have two kids living with us. Simba and Tembo( the boys who lived with the former volunteer) are living with us for the time being. They stayed at our house over the holidays, and when we got back they asked if they could stay with us until they could move into the dorms. So for 2 weeks we have 4 people living in our house, a little cramped for my standards, but I can deal for a couple weeks. And they do lots of cleaning for us, so it is a fair trade.
From this point forward I am going to try and include random facts/stories about Mozambique in general:
The Capulana- Possibly the best invention ever.
The capulana is basically just a wrap, but it can be used for just about anything. Most women wear them as a wrap, usually over another skirt or pants ( I don't know how they do it with the heat). Capulanas are also used to carry babies. The women put the babies on their back and then use the capulana as a carrier- simply genius. Any one who has a baby and doesn't want to spend $70 on a baby bjorn let me know and I will send you a capulana. Capulanas are also used as bags, blanks, sheets, pillows, wall decor, diapers, curtains,. They are also wonderfully used to make shirts, skirts, dresses and pants. When I come home with 86 capulanas in 2 years you will know why- they are amazing! I have yet to see this done, but we were informed early on not to use a capulana to carry an animal( ie. Puppy or kitty) because the women will see it as offensive.
Also if anyone has any suggestions as to how to improve this- or any questions that you want answered- let me know
love and miss you all!
Linds :)
I am going to try and start my webshots thing again so if I get it to work I will put a link under my address!

Thursday, January 3, 2008

hello africa tell me how you're doin!

i have an address now!
write it just like this
Lindsay Songstad
your address goes here
Alexa Banks
C.P. No.173
Chimoio, Mozambique
that my friends is supposed to be an envelope. so address everything to alexa and just put my name on the return address with your address
also a watch would be a wonderful thing to have sent- i would prefer one with a velcro band
love you-
linds :)

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

feliz ano novo!

Hello everyone! so much has happened since i last wrote. For christmas about 15 of us went to stay with some friends in gorongosa. it is an amazing place close to gorongosa national park, unfortunatly we were not able to go to the park because they close it for the rainy season, but we had a ton of fun. we spent most days at the river and most evenings cooking amazing meals. who ever would have thought that on christmas day i would be taking a bath and washing my clothes in the river. we spent alot of time having a "spa". we sat between rocks on the river and let the water beat down like a massage, then did little peticures using river rocks. it was amazing. on christmas night we even had cheese foudu! there are now 10 of us in a place called chimoio. chimoio is the capital of manica provice and i think there are about 20,000 people that live here. it is a cool city with a lot of little shops and stuff. my friend alexa lives in a really cute apartment here, so we have been having fun. for new years we had an 80s prom party.we went to the used clothing market and bought some of the worst dresses that have ever been made and ended up having a great party. new years day was a day that seems so far from being in the peace corps, you probably wont believe what i did, here is a brief recap just so you can see how unpeace corps the day was:
first of all we texted a friend using a cell phone(cell phones in the peace corps?)
at 10.30 he picked us all up in his brand new honda truck, on the way to his house i listened to music being played from his ipod, and i was actually using a seatbelt(a first for mozambique) we got to his house and put our stuff by the pool. he then asked if we like gin and brought us out gin, tonic and limes. around 1 he left the house and told us to cook whatever we wanted. we then had a lovely lunch of shrimp and pasta while sitting in a massaging chair watching mtv. when we got home we had chicken stir-fry and chocolate fondu for dessert.it was just such a crazy day. i never would have thought that i would do anything like that in all my time in the peace corps. this guy works for the world food program and knows most of the peace corps volunteers in mozambique, he said that we can use his house whenever we want to have pool parties- he has also offered to give us rides to and from catandica and chimoio when he has trips to make. dont worry we have checked with other volunteers and this guy is cool, no one has had any problems. he is just a cool guy with an awesome house. hopefully today we are going to set up a post office box, and if everything works out i will put up my new address tomorrow. if anyone wants to send a garlic press feel free. also any movies would be great because life in catandica can get to be a bit blah(but i still love it!)any random spices(because i am going to be an amazing cook by the time i get home!) old navy flip flops size 7- i know it is winter so they probably arent avaliable now.i think that is all for now. love and miss you all. i hope the snow is not to horrible! ohh ya if anyone has a number with an area code that starts with 31 let me know because there is a loop hole in the mcel network and i can call for free!
linds :)