When Alex and I arrived in Mozambique there was one site request that we had: mountains.
To us, mountains have a calming presence. Just being able to see them and be among them has a way of making us feel safe, happy, and comfortable. Additionally, as the weather was heating up in Namaacha, we were craving cooler temperatures and were hoping to get into the highlands of northwestern Moz as soon as possible.
So, when one of our Peace Corps staff members mentioned that there was a school in Inhambane province that was requesting a couple we didn’t neccesarily perk up.
Inhambane is flat.
Last week Alex visited the mountainous province of Manica. The mountains were pretty, he said, but they weren’t familiar enough to remind him of home. We knew the mountains wouldn’t be like the mountains at home, but we thought they might offer some familiarity. Alex found it didn’t seem as important as we thought it would.
I visited the school in Inhambane that was requesting a couple. And I loved it. It is flat. That’s true. And it’s real hot. But there were so many reasons that Mapinhane, Inhambane seemed like the perfect site for us.
It’s funny how life always has little surprises in store 🙂
So, at the risk of closing ourselves off to all the awesome sites we had yet to hear about, we requested to be placed in Mapinhane.
Yesterday we found out that Mapinhane will be our home for the next 2 years!
Mapinhane (mop-in-yawnee) is a small town right on Mozambique’s main highway, the EN1. It is the southern-most ‘fly site’ in Mozambique, meaning that us and anyone north of us gets flown to the capitol for Peace Corps business, like conferences. Mapinhane is a centrally located site in northern Inhambane that serves as a hub for volunteers coming into nearby Vilanculos for banking, the post office, and bigger markets.
For personal reasons Mapinhane is great. We have easy travel to and from our site, we have the familiarity of hosting people in our home and will have a community of other volunteers nearby-including a site mate that lives in Mapinhane and works at the public secondary school,- we have Vilanculos for fancy dates and relaxation with friends, and for access to lots of food for cooking.
Now, about our school and professional life in Mapinhane. We will both be working in a private secondary school that is run by Brazilian nuns. Some of the students are from Mapinhane and others come from all over the country and stay in the dorms near the school. Alex will be teaching science and will have opportunities to be involved with the science fair in our province. I will be teaching English and plan to continue the current English club, with my bigger project being strengthening a current primary school library program. We are so excited to be able to share our skills and passions with Mozambican counterparts in these 2 big projects!
Three and a half years ago we moved to a small mountain community in Colorado and we felt a sort of magic there. We are always marvelling at our luck at being there. ‘We live here!’ The excitement in that expression didn’t fade for three whole years. I felt that excitement and magic in Mapinhane, thinking about the potential there for us to grow as people and for us to be useful in a community. Now I just keep marvelling again. ‘We get to live there?!’