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 or old.

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

linds :)