Our days are peaceful here in Namaacha, despite the busy-ness of all-day language classes, whole-group training sessions, homework, and learning all we need to know to be here in Moz for two years. Alex and I have a bit of an unusual situation with our homestay, in a lot of ways. We live with only a mae (mom), whereas most volunteers live with large families and lots of kiddos. Our house is quiet all the time. We live in a beautiful house, with an indoor bathroom. A few of us have running water…but Alex and I don’t have cockroaches either! Our mae has hosted 8 PCT’s (Peace Corps Trainees) before us, and she is very in the know about American preferences and needs: we like to serve our own food, we don’t eat as much as Mozambicans, we prefer to “pray in our house.” However, she still thinks the way Americans peel oranges is “louco.” ( Here, they either cut the orange into slices, or peel it with a knife and cut it in half and slurp it out…there is no peeling with the hands.) She seems fairly liberal (she said we could shower together…) and pretty health conscious (she gives us fruits and veggies with ever meal-which isn’t the case for many trainees- and is always talking about the important vitamins we need for our health.) We appreciate her immensely: she is open and understanding, forgiving and firm. Yes, we have to sweep our room every morning, but it’s okay if we don’t want to go to church. Yes, we can go out with friends after class, but she still involves us in all the housework we need to know. It’s a busy balance here in Namaacha, and although we’ve been here a week, it feels like a month.
Tudo bem! It’s all good.
Home sweet home for the next nine weeks! Our homestay house is in Bairro Fronteirra, Border Neighborhood, and our backyard backs up to the border with Swaziland. All of the English teachers live in this neighborhood and we have language and specialty trainings here. Alex has a bit of a walk to get to the Bairro where the science teachers meet.
Our clean, spacious bedroom. We got pretty darn lucky with our homestay 🙂
“Alex e cozhina!” Our mae was pretty over the moon after seeing this picture of Alex cooking with her. She could not stop laughing, and Alex said it would probably be like us seeing a picture of a fish driving a car. We try to help our mae cook as much as possible in between language classes, training sessions, and homework. She is determined to teach us everything we need to know to survive in Mozambique. She has had 8 Peace Corps Trainees before us, so she really knows the ropes.
My first kapulana, given as a welcome gift from our mae! Kapulanas, like the kangas we found in Kenya and Tanzania, are multi-use pieces of fabric. Need a wrap after the shower? Kapulana. Need to tie a baby on your back? Kapulana. Need something to wipe your hands on? You guessed it…kapulana. There are also mudistas (seamstresses) here that will make clothes for you out of kapulanas, which I hope to have done this week.
The best items in our house, which we get to use every morning.
Even when there’s trash in the streets, Namaacha is still beautiful with trees and flowers in bloom.
Namaacha is at an elevation a little more than 3,000 feet and right on the border of Swaziland, South Africa and Mozambique. This is the mountain view right before the Swazi border post.
Running in our Bairro as the sun creeps up. We are getting into the summer season in Namaacha and experiencing some serious heat…we are NOT quite used to that and know it’s going to get hotter. But we get great sunrises and sunsets, and it’s usually cool before about 8a.m. 🙂
Until next time 🙂