Home. A concept I’ve been turning over in my mind a lot lately. You might have read my blog post about my house and community and how much I’ve really learned to love it here in Ancuabe. I love the view of the mountain, I love the mango tree in my yard, I love sitting in my hammock and listening to the sounds of the neighborhood. I love having children teach me how to cook local dishes, I love comfortable silence with friends on my back porch, I love walking to the market and being greeted by name. My love is not to say that my community is perfect. I don’t love that a few weeks ago, men tried to break into my yard in the middle of the night (I’m fine, relax). I don’t love that kids sometimes push open my gate and come into my yard without permission just to steal a few mangos. I don’t love that I constantly have to fight for my quiet and alone time. But still, I love Ancuabe and don’t want to leave here.
The past few weeks, I’ve been waiting to hear if my life will be flipped upside down. Unfortunately, due to some administrative decisions that I won’t get into, myself and my fellow Cabo Delgado Moz 29ers were never welcomed and introduced into our schools. While myself, and others, hoped that this was just a side effect of slow bureaucracy, that sadly was not the case. Last Thursday, we received word that we, and the 3 other education volunteers who have been in Cabo for over a year now, would all be leaving. The past few weeks, I’ve been hesitant to make any purchase, big or small. I’ve held off on buying wood for my shelves, on buying basic groceries, on planning more than a day ahead. I’ve spent most of the past few weeks in my house, alone, unable to keep up a façade of normalcy around the people I’ve grown to love, but now will lose. I became closed off, bitter, and frankly a little depressed. Waiting for your new life to fall apart kind of does that to you.
Now, I am preparing to pack up this building that once felt like my home. I’m dreading the goodbyes and the explanations that will fall short. I’m trying to focus on the present moment, and be here with the people who have made these past 2 months not just bearable, but wonderful. My next steps are packing up my house and my travel bag for the next few weeks. I’ll be moving in with some of my wonderful friends from my cohort that now live in Nampula (they got moved too and were the first from Cabo to go). I’ll be staying there for 4-8 weeks, hopefully. During this time, Peace Corps staff will be working with the Mozambican Ministry of Education to find sites that are willing to have us and need our help. The process is a long one because it’s not just about finding a school with an opening, but also finding housing, assessing safety and security, and making sure all of our needs will be met.
I have absolutely no idea where I’ll be going, but I’m learning to be okay with that. I’ve been cultivating a mindset of forward motion and positive expectation. I’m still, of course, hurt, frustrated, and angry, as I think is normal when you’re told to leave what you thought was your home for 2 years. However, I can’t change what happened, but I do have control over my attitude going forward. I know realistically that the next few months are going to be a tempest of emotions as I grapple with leaving this home and starting over somewhere unknown. Your prayers, well-wishes, encouragement, and good vibes are always appreciated. I’m still in love with this beautiful country and am genuinely excited that I will get to experience more of its diversity as I stay with my friends in Nampula and discover my new site. I’m so blessed and grateful for the wonderful friends I have here who have offered support, empathy, and an outlet for (mutual) venting. I’m also so lucky for all the love and encouragement I’ve had from friends and family back home. Estamos juntos, em qualquer país; we are together, in whatever country.
Because this post was a little emotional, I’m including pictures of my beautiful, and very pregnant, baby girl. Don’t worry friends, she, her big ole belly, and its contents, are coming with me. It’ll be a crazy journey, but she has a basket to keep her safe along with blankets and my love to keep her warm and cozy.