I live in the quaint little localidade of Nakhololo, a small town of less than 5,000 people located in Monapo (district), Nampula (province), Mozambique (country).
Nampula is Mozambique’s most populated province, located in the northern region of the country. Nampula is one of three provinces in Mozambique that has gotten poorer in the last few years with more than 57% of people living below the poverty line. When searching Nampula on the English news site Club of Mozambique, some of the most recent headlines include, “Nampula: 120 teachers sacked for having false qualifications,” and “Nampula provincial government has no money to pay bills.” Nampula is primarily home to people of the Makua ethnic group, and is rich in cultural and colonial history. Ilha de Moçambique is a small island reachable by bridge off the coast of Nampula that is both both Nampula’s largest tourist attraction and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Nampula city, the provincial capital, is third largest city in Mozambique and it’s “notable” sites include the Mozambique National Ethnographic Museum (which at the price of 100 mets or $1.50 is still more than I have been willing to pay to make a visit,) the large colonial Catholic Cathedral of Our Lady of Fatima, and Restaurante Lua, which I consider the best Chinese food in Northern Mozambique.
Monapo district is located about halfway in between Nampula city and Ilha de Moçambique. Read all about it on it’s very informative and detailed Wikipedia page. I’ve heard that Monapo Vila was the first Peace Corps site in the North, and the district is currently home to three volunteers, although none of us live in the district capital. When searching for information about the district, one of the only relevant articles is actually about my school: “President Nyusi opens teacher training institute in Monapo.” This article gives a pretty decent description of my school:
The institute cost ten million dollars to construct and received financial support from the Japanese government through the Japanese International Cooperation Agency (JICA). It has ten classrooms, a computer room, a library, a natural sciences laboratory, an art studio, a music room, a gymnasium, a dormitory for 400 students, and housing for the teachers.
I live in one of the aforementioned professor housing units, next door to the school’s director, with another volunteer. Our school and house are so nice that Peace Corps staff members have said that we are “Not really in Peace Corps,” and “Have the nicest house in the North.” I cherish these blessings and thank JICA every day when I am enjoying my hot shower and flushing toilet.
Although our school is notable enough to have been visited by the President of Mozambique himself, the rest of Nakhololo is not even a blip on the map. Literally, if you look on google maps, it doesn’t show up (btw google why haven’t you accepted my edits to put us on the map?) If you try searching the town name, the only results you’ll get are my blog, and the Facebook profiles of other teachers.** Our town has no secondary school, meaning that pretty much no children who live here will ever be able to attend our school, unless their parents can afford to send them to the nearest secondary school in our district capital. Which, considering the fact that the majority of people living in Nakhololo are sustenance farmers, is a very small possibility.
**Important edit: In talking with another professor about this, it was explained that in Portuguese, the spelling of our town would be Nacololo, since there isn’t really usage of “k” in Portuguese. Meanwhile, in Makhuwa the local language, the spelling is Nakhololo. If you search the Portuguese spelling on google you do get some results although most of them are not relevant to my town**