After a luxurious long weekend spent in hotels in Maputo and Nampula City lounging by the pool, eating shawarma for dinner, and drinking delicious wine from ShopRite, I felt ready (but definetly not well rested) to get to my site in Monapo district, Nampula. On Wednesday morning, Kathryn and I took one last hot shower and hopped in our school director’s car to head to site.
Our director had told us that the school was 100m off the N1, which is one of the main highways that runs through Mozambique, which means that traveling to and from site is going to be super easy for us, because we don’t have to worry about rough dirt roads like many other volunteers. When we arrived, we were taken to our host families and dropped off. The day before our director had informed us that he still needed to find us host families. When we pulled up, I quickly learned that the only member of my family who speaks Portuguese is my pai (dad), and that my bedroom was currently under construction. I spent most of my first day meeting all of the neighbors who stopped by our house, and as my pai is president of the primary school, a cashew dealer, and also some type of chefe de barrio, there were a lot of people for me to meet.
The day passed quickly and I decided to go to bed early, and was led to my bedroom for the first time. Evidentally, they had not been able to complete construction of the front veranda in time, and settled on cementing my windows shut. In a 8’x8′ bedroom without so much as a fan in 100 degree heat. It was so humid in the room that the condensation on the tin roof was raining down on me (and the kid who was sleepling on my floor??) all night. I also woke up absolutely swimming in ants… Although I realized his was my fault when I found candy in the pocket of the jacket I was using as a pillow.
The next morning, I woke up feeling pretty miserable and spoke with my pai about my issues. For most of the day I laid low, and went over to visit Kathryn in the afternoon. It was hard not to be jealous when I saw her spacious bedroom with 2 (!!) windows. Like the saint that she is, Kathryn let me take over her bedroom for 3 hours to nap and call home after which I felt at least somewhat refreshed.
After these initial first couple of days of feeling uncomfortable, things have drastically improved for me. My family took care of the ants, my room dried our and hadn’t rained since the first day, and my family has been leaving the living room windows open so I can get some circulation coming my way. I have come to realize just how awesome my host family is: my pai is not only very influential in our town, but also a kind and loving father who is teaching my host sisters to speak Portuguese. My sisters (3, 7, 10, 14) have warmed up to my considerably and have eased my bordom by always wanting to play games. My mãe, and the other 2 mãe neighbors who are always at our house are very instant teachers of macua, the local language that basically everyone in town speaks.I feel really lucky that I am getting to know such an awesome family now during training, and that they will be able to help me during my two years here.
As it is the end of the year and exam time at our school, we have only visited once. Our school is unique in that it is a teacher training school for primary teachers, and has an auxiliary primary school attached for these teachers to practice in. On Friday, we went to watch classes at this primary school, and meet some of our colleagues, but we are both hoping to get more info on our actual school next week! I want to say more about the school, but that will need its own post to really do it justice.
I have so much more to say but just can’t fit into one post, especially as I am falling asleep while writing this post tonight. I’ve got a really busy day tomorrow, as I promised approx 15 kids I would do the macarina with them.