Packing for the New Assignment

A story by Mary in Mozambique

These stories began as letters home to family and friends and have become wonderfully descriptive of the Peace Corps experience. Anonymous posting has been requested while the author is in Africa. Not too much is changing right now. We just are kept so busy. I’ve started packing because Peace Corps is taking over half our stuff and shipping it via plane or bus to our sites a week before we get there. Thanksgiving was amazing. I was cranky for most of the day because I took my malaria meds but I pushed through it. If anything makes me go crazy here, it will be the malaria medication. Just look up the side effects of methoquin and you’ll be able to glimpse a little bit of the madness we all experience. 
I cooked with 5 other girls and we made: deviled eggs, garlic mashed potatoes, cheesy dip, salad, gravy, bean casserole and stuffing. At the party, just about everyone came, there was not enough turkey but there was sooo much other food. Salads upon salads, sweet potatoes, homemade chips and salsa, and sooo many deserts. Just thinking about how much I ate makes me want to get sick. Holidays will be strange here because when Thanksgiving Day, hit I didn’t even notice. We all celebrated on Friday, and even then it didn’t seem real. I hope everyone on the east coast will enjoy the snow during Christmas while I enjoy one of the hottest months in Africa!! I am not sure what we will be doing for Christmas but there is talk that most of us in the central region will be meeting at my house. Kinda bummed I won’t be able to go to the beach and travel a little but I have the next two years to do so. I am sure we will find some random decorations and perhaps a tree. It will just be wonderful to at least miss our families all together. A couple days ago a girl Jill and a guy Mac planned a scavenger hunt for all of us. It was throughout most of the town and it was hilarious. A few of the tasks we had to complete were: take a picture of your entire group inside a chapa (chapas are taxis here), take a picture of a black, white, and black and white goat and also riding a goat. Take a picture of three of your group members climbing a tree…a pyramid of people with a Mozambiquen at the top. We also had to collect a few items: clean coconut shell, whole orange peel, hair from a weave…SO MUCH FUN! And of course my team won. Today was the last day of Model School (which I didn’t really go to since I had to attend more language classes than other volunteers) and I was able to go to help give out the test. Well…there were 4 of us controlling about 20 students and we still were not able to control them. They cheated and talked and were out of control for the entire 45 mins. Even after we took away all their notebooks, made them sit one at each desk…yelled and kicked them out and gave them zeros. It doesn’t help that they have no motivation whatsoever to do well in Model School. The grades aren’t real and they don’t necessarily learn the information we taught them. When we are actually teaching we are able to give out two types of faltas, red and blue, which helps lower the cheating rate. If a student receives 3 red faltas in one year, over the three semesters, then they are expelled from school. Red faltas are reserved for extremely bad situations – mouthing off and completely disrespectful, inappropriate…etc.. Blue faltas are a little less severe and can be given out if the student skips class repeatedly, misbehaves, doesn’t wear their uniform and there is a maximum of 14 per year. Life as a teacher is about to get 10 times more interesting. I will be leaving my host family in one week from today! We become real volunteers next Thursday and fly to our regions (central, north and south). Some of these people I probably will not see again for a whole year or at all. It will definitely be a sad day for us all. Expect to hear from me more often because for the 1st month and a half I will be doing absolutely nothing but entertaining myself and new roommate. We are inheriting a wonderful library and dog and we also have plans to buy goats and chickens (I know it sounds a little crazy) but when will I be able to say I had my own little farm in Africa? We also plan to make a lovely garden and who knows what else. I’m extremely excited to start elsewhere and finally begin the real Peace Corps and Mozambique experience.

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 Christmas,dog,holiday,malaria,medication,methoquin,Peace Corps,teacher,travel
  Mozambique
Feb 22 2024

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