It’s been over two weeks since I’ve given an update. Sorry for the major delay, things have been crazy busy! First, the biggest news: I’m NOT moving! Wait, what!? Yes, you read that correctly. I am staying here, in Ancuabe. After a lot of negotiating and advocating on our behalf, Peace Corps staff and our wonderful Ambassador managed to gain us permission to stay here in Cabo Delgado and teach. The emotional whiplash from all this chaos has been overwhelming. Of course, in true Peace Corps Mozambique style, we’ve had a few hiccups along the way, but I am happy to say that I’ve successfully completed my first week of teaching! A lot has happened in the past two weeks, including staying, my beautiful Allie cat gave birth, and I’ve started teaching.
It’s been an emotional rollercoaster these past few months. Not only did I move to my permanent site, but I’ve also been working on integrating into the community without being allowed to go to the school. The whole time I’ve been here in Ancuabe, I always had my (metaphorical, because I hate packing) bags packed and ready to leave, while at the same time I’ve been planting seeds (literal ones) and planning home decor. I spent my first few months here keeping people at arm’s length, while also trying to develop meaningful relationships. As you can imagine, it’s been tricky, complicated, and frustrating. When we got the news that we’d been given permission to stay, I expected to feel relief. I didn’t. I just felt more frustrated, more mad, and filled with dread. That’s not to say that I’m unhappy to stay here. Rather, I’d already made peace with the situation, been preparing to move and start over, and had disengaged with my community. In many ways, it probably would have been easier to move and start over. However, as I processed through all of that emotional confusion, I’ve found myself on the other side, happy to stay in this community I’ve fallen in love with and exciting to see what the next two years bring.
On January 31st, I came home from dinner with friends to a very whiny and insistent Allie. She demanded to sit on my lap, and then proceeded to go into labor…on my lap. After a lot of meowing, I managed to move her to her birthing nest and set up my bed for the night in her room. Within an hour, two beautiful baby boys were born, and as I dozed off to sleep, my lovely baby girl was born.
All babies are healthy and have now opened their eyes, begun crawling around, and are getting used to people snuggles. Allie is doing well, but still a little confused by this whole “being a mommy” thing. Sometimes I wonder if she thinks I’m their mommy and she’s just the babysitter. The little black boy will be my sitemate’s, and his name is Piri Piri (which is a type of pepper/hot sauce here). The white and black boy will be going to one of my other PCV friends in the province, and his name is Astro (a popular candy here). The gorgeous golden/gray/black angel baby is Cassie (Cassiopeia, a constellation in the Northern Hemisphere) and she’ll be staying here with Allie and me.
This semester, because of aforementioned chaos, I’m only teaching 6 hours/2 turmas. In Mozambique, each grade is divided into turmas and all the students in each turma have the same class schedules. I’m teaching 9th grade English. The first week, we went over classroom rules, introductions and getting to know each other, took a pre-test, and learned basic greetings and holidays. I’m excited to get into the swing of teaching and am really looking forward to getting to know my students. I’m also (finally) working on getting integrated at the school, getting to know more of my fellow teachers, and learning the procedures and culture of the school. Essentially, I’m once again sitting under the mango tree.
I should be updating much more regularly now. If you have any questions or want to learn more about any part of my life here, please comment or send me a message through my Contact Form!
Estamos juntos (we are together)!