Sunday, March 23, 2014

Catchup- Not ketchup

Taking advantage of the rain: washing my hair, clothes and dishes at the same time!
So, it's been a while since my last post on my blog... I don't presume to have offended anyone personally by not posting in a while but sorry all the same. For all of you who are interested in my comings and goings and doings and thoughts, I could be better about communicating with you. You may not have heard from me in a while, but I do think about you guys a lot. To all my friends and family, I haven't forgotten you; I love you all dearly despite being separated by half the world and about 18 months (As of March 2014 about 9-10 months to go here in Mozambique.)

The purpose of this post is to Ketchup Catchup (I miss hot dogs...) for the past 7 months that I haven't been updating.

In October 2013, I finished my first year as a math teacher! It was so great to see the progress of my students through the year we were together. I was so proud of my students' mathematical development and enthusiasm to enter the 10th grade. I wish I could have been placed as a 10th grade math teacher this year, so I could teach the same students, but I've got great group of 200 new 9th graders this year. (Plus, the old students always drop by my house all the time to ask about their Maths or English homework).
At the end of last year, one morning it was raining pretty early and I heard a commotion out front of the house. I came outside to one of my turmas standing litterally on my doorstep to escape the rain as they were working in the school garden. I had to take a picture! 

During the end of October, many of the Southern Mozambique volunteers met up at Praia de Tofo in Inhambane province to despedir (say goodbye) to the MOZ 17ers, who were about to COS (Close of Service- to complete 27 months of Peace Corps service ). Directly afterwards, I had a group of three MOZ 21ers- then in pre-service-training- come and visit me. We met in Xai-xai and traveled back to my site. That day, I met my three new room-mates; my cat had given birth to three kittens (on my bed).
The (now pretty grown up) kittens whose faces are from left to right: Nhemba (a type of bean), Richard and Nodoa.

Jamie and I during Thanksgiving in Meconta!
In late November, I as able to travel back up to Nampula to visit the North in all its beauty (and heat). We had an amazing Thanksgiving party thanks to the combined efforts of Jamie, Elizabeth and so many others. A Turkey was cooked... underground. cool, right?! It was great to see some fellow North Moz 19ers, Moz 20ers and JICA (Japan International Cooperation Agency) volunteers. Afterwards, Jamie and I went to Ilha de Mocambique, the old colonial capital of the 17th Century and major center of world slave trading.
Got to catch up with other Moz 19ers! Here is the old Lingua (Language class) crew from training! Rafael and Anneke

In December, PC saw fit to give Manjangue a MOZ 21er! I came back home from Nampula to meet my new room mate, Joe (I feel bad that I wasn't there to welcome him home; I was still in the North his first three days at site.)
My new room mate Jose (Left) and Joe either giving love or eating invisible cheeseburgers.
Not too long after the arrival of my new (and awesome) roomie, we experienced a falha (fault) in the education system here. The yearly provincial exams (the ones determining who goes on to 10th grade- a big deal) were deemed fraudulent. Versions of the tests and cabulas (cheat sheets) were seen being sold on the street and teachers were caught giving answers to the students. As a result, the school district invalidated the scores and elaborated a new test. Joe and I were volunteered to help with the exam process (grading, mostly). I mention this because I think it was a good thing for the Ministry to attempt to control the quality of education- keep the schools accountable. I do think Mozambique is seeing progression; slow, maybe, but Mozambique is pedra a pedra construindo o novo dia (stone by stone constructing a new day~ a line from the refrain of the National Anthem)!

We started the school year in February (late compared to last year due to changes in scheduling on a national level). I feel so much better about teaching this year, when compared to last year. My confidence and Portuguese has improved and I feel I'm better equipped to teach. I have a new group of 9th grade math students (about 150-200) or so and some of the same 10th grade English students from the previous year.
Our school opening ceremony. With some of the other professores.
This year (or, rather the 9 months that are left to me in Mozambique) are sure to be full of the same challenges, opportunities, revelations, and good memories as well as new ones! This year, I hope to start an English Theatre group with Joe as well as form a group to participate in the regional Science Fair. We'll see how it goes!!!
Dance party! :P
I've seen the error in my ways (with respect to my blogging pregiso- laziness) and hope to write more about things I've seen and experienced. Hope you can forgive my absence! Once again, to my friends and family- you know who you are-I haven't forgotten you in the least. Much love and abra├žos (hugs).

1 comment:

  1. Hey Nick, nice to get your update! Susan and I hosted an awesome Japanese potter about six weeks ago for 4 nights. He spoke no English and I wished you were here to help translate my awesome jokes! Cheers, Owen and Susan