Secondary school visit in Boane

After living under the somewhat strict supervision of my mãe for just over two weeks now, I have settled into a simple nighttime routine. Come home from classes around 6, take a bucket bath, eat dinner, watch novellas until my mãe falls asleep on the couch, then head to my bedroom to do some studying or call home before going to bed at around 9 or 10. Tonight however, I am tucked into the comfort of my mosquito net for the night at 7pm for three reasons

  1. I finally was able to buy nail polish remover and therefore re-paint my nails and am letting them dry
  2. I did yoga for like an hour this afternoon and it made me way more tired than I would like to admit
  3. I had to be up at 5 this morning because my language group was visiting a secondary school in Boane to observe classes in session

Boane is a somewhat large town about 45 minutes away, close to Maputo. After finishing up our first week of technical training and learning about Mozambican classrooms, I was pretty excited to finally get to see one in action.

When we arrived at the school, the first aula (class period) had started, so rather than interrupt, we just hung around and watched the PE class that was outside playing soccer. Luckily, classes here are only 45 minutes, so we didn’t have to wait long before we could observe the next period. The first class my group got to observe was a 10th grade biology class; today’s theme was evolutionary theories. Although my Portuguese wasn’t good enough to understand most of the lesson, I could get the gist of the discussion around Darwin and the Galapagos islands.

During our visit to the school, we were supposed to take notes and compare the classroom environment in Mozambique to that in the US. The first and most notable difference is class size. Most of the classes we visited today had 55+ kids on the roster, although most only had about 45 show up. The kids are assigned to a room, and they remain there all day while the teachers move around to different rooms. Each class has a chefe do turma, which literally means boss of the class, who is in charge of the other students. Today, I saw the chefe help the teacher take role, deal with minor classroom disturbances, and read aloud from the text when required. It actually seemed like a pretty decent system for helping with such a large class size!

After going to the biology class, I attended a 9th and 10th grade chemistry class, which was rather uneventful. The real excitement of this morning’s visit came from the fact that we were able to stop at Shoprite, a local supermarket, before we returned home. I felt like a kid in a candy shop and was amazed at all the choices I had. Even though we only got like 10 minutes in the store, I picked up some serious essentials like hand sanitizer, ramen noodles, chocolate, and nail polish remover. Tomorrow I am in for another treat, because rumor has it that this awesome peanut butter vendor from South Africa comes to the PC office every Wednesday to sell delicious natural peanut butter. Clearly this dude knows his audience because even as someone who wasn’t too obsessed with peanut butter in the US, I am pretty hype to see him tomorrow. And my mãe told me that on Thursday after classes I am going to kill a chicken!!! I’m fairly certain that it will be a traumatic experience for me but I am still excited to get this quintessential PC experience. Although I pretty much have been somewhat of a failure when it comes to taking pictures of the things I am doing here, I promise to get some good pictures of this event so you all have something to look forward to!

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