From Mountains to Mapinhane: Our Home for the Next 2 Years!

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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.

Nah.

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!

More or less, we are the blue star!

More or less, we are the blue star!

Alex and I sit on our site on the giant map of Mozambique that was drawn for site announcements.

Alex and I sit on our site on the giant map of Mozambique that was drawn for site announcements.

Looking north from our site on the giant map, trainees stand at their sites and read their site placement info. Inhambane is a southern province, so much of our group is north of us.

Looking north from our site on the giant map, trainees stand at their sites and read their site placement info. Inhambane is a southern province, so much of our group is north of us.

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.

Beautiful Vilanculos is 45 minutes away from our new home.

Beautiful Vilanculos is 45 minutes away from our new home.

Our house is in the teacher's neighborhood on the school grounds. The volunteers before us were the first to live in this particular house and the first volunteers to have electricity at this site. These two girls have made this house so homey..I can't wait to move it and I'm already dreaming of the french press I know they are leaving behind in the kitchen :)

Our house is in the teacher’s neighborhood on the school grounds. The volunteers before us were the first to live in this particular house and the first volunteers to have electricity at this site. These two girls have made this house so homey..I can’t wait to move in and I’m already dreaming of the french press I know they are leaving behind in the kitchen 🙂

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!

We might not have mountains in Mapinhane, but there are a lot of trees to give the land some definition. This giant is right in the middle of our school grounds.

We might not have mountains in Mapinhane, but there are a lot of trees to give the land some definition. This giant is right in the middle of our school grounds.

I had a chance to lead a library session in Mapinhane when I visited. I was surprised to find some of the same books that we had in the school library in Fraser..but in Portuguese!

I had a chance to lead a library session in Mapinhane when I visited. I was surprised to find some of the same books that we had in the school library in Fraser..but in Portuguese!

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?!’

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4 responses »

  1. I’m so happy for both of you. Can’t wait to follow along on your adventures and then eventually see this with my own eyes!

  2. Cece, I have totally enjoyed reading your posts!!!!! When you wrote about preparing the chicken dinner, I was thinking I should never complain about having to trim chicken to get it ready to grill 🙂 By the way Oksana had mentioned a number of times how she misses the Black Cat Peanut Butter, even before you wrote about your clever Halloween costumes 🙂 I know you both will touch many people’s lives as they will bless yours tremendously as well! Love and hugs to both you and Alex

    • Hi Nataly! Nice to hear from you and glad you are enjoying the blog 🙂 I hope you guys are doing well! We are hoping to be able to call on Thanksgiving and Christmas…so get your singing voices ready because we don’t want to miss out on the Christmas Eve carols.

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