Category Archives: Sunday Snapshot

Sunday Snapshot: Parabéns Moz25

Standard


We’ve just returned from our final Peace Corps conference in Maputo, where we had a whirlwind two days learning about our upcoming COS (Close of Seevice) and life after Peace Corps, and saying tchau for now to our Peace Corps group. 

After almost two years in Moz, the 50 of us have just three short (or maybe long…) months of service ahead to wrap up our work and projects and to bid farewell to the people and communities we have come to love so much. 

So I’ll take this opportunity to say parabéns (congratulations) Moz 25, and happy last 3 months!

Sunday Snapshots: Happy Birthday Alex

Standard

Today was a day to celebrate my lovely husband, Alex, or, as he is often known here in Moz, Alexi. Today Alex turned 28, and we spent the day in Vilanculos to celebrate

The day started with a super delicious brunch.

P1310671

Followed soon after by a cocktail, enjoyed in a similar fashion to last year’s birthday beer that was thrown out the window of a moving car, by some new friends we had made in Malolotja Nature Reserve in Swaziland.

We then set out for a fatbike ride down the beach, to some red dunes in a sleepy bay north of the main hub of Vilanculos.

Of course, we made some new crianca (child) friends along the way, as is the norm nearly anywhere you go in Moz. We were quite thankful to have them later, as we searched for a path to the road at the top of the dunes.

 

P1310715

Happy Birthday Alex! Cheers to another year of adventuring behind us and many more ahead.

Sunday Snapshot: Home Sweet Sweet Potato

Standard

P8020629.JPG

It’s always nice to go away, and it’s always nice to come home, especially when the garden is growin’. After getting home from our recent travels in South Africa, Alex and I began our first sweet potato harvest. We dug and dug, following long, reaching roots to their ends, where we found some sweet potatoes as small as cherry tomatoes and others as big as grapefruits.

Photo Cred to Alex.

Sunday Snapshot: Chilly in Chintsa

Standard

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

On an early morning walk on the beach in Chintsa, on the Wild Coast in South Africa, I faced into the rising sun, feeling a bit silly and a bit chilly in the wet, coastal winter air. Look for a post soon about our road trip from Cape Town to Durban.

Photo cred to my lovely husband, Alex Romanyshyn.

Sunday Snapshots: Time for Girls

Standard

The 8th and 9th grade girls at school were buzzing with excitement on Thursday after I announced that they were all invited to a girls-only life skills workshop on Saturday. 

I am happy to have worked with an awesome student leader to  start a girls group this year that follows a program focused on health, education, and life skills development. There are 10 8th grade girls in the group, and we meet twice a month.

In order to include more girls, the 12th grade group leader and I planned a life skills workshop for the other girls at school. The 10 group members ran stations for the girls that came, covering the topics from our meetings so far:goals for the future, common gender roles and ‘thinking outside the box’ about gender roles, staying in school, strong communication, making good decisions, and strong friendships.

“Qualities of a good friend.”

Using every day scenarios to practice the 4 steps of strong communication.

Creating small theater pieces to show common gender roles of women and girls: cooking, cleaning, raising children, and helping elders.

Theater about common gender roles of boys and men: drinking, dancing, and playing.

Drawing successes from the past and goals for the future.

46 happy girls at the end of the workshop!

Sunday Snapshot: Halfway

Standard

A quickly passing year full of slow days has just left us. By Peace Corps standards we have just passed the halfway point in our service, although with training included we are nearly two thirds finished with our service. 

We spent the last week in Maputo, enjoying city life and our Moz 25 Peace Corps cohort at our mid-service conference.

Parabéns todos!

Sunday Snapshot: Life is Good on the Indian Ocean

Standard

The Indian Ocean was at peace this morning, turquoise and flat and calling my name. We hurried from our friend’s house with her two stand-up paddleboards, before any wind picked up over the water. We paddled with the beach to one side and the Bazaruto Archipelago to the other, watching a couple happy kids swimming, a group of women gathered together, men working on their boats.

We jumped in for a swim ourselves a couple of times and stopped to drift in the current some on the way back. As we look ahead to the coming year, we know we can always find peace and contentment in these waters.

1300131

Sunday Snapshots: School’s Out

Standard

I remember the first day of school in February, standing in front of my classes to sing the Mozambican National Anthem with butterflies in my stomach.

‘Those lines are really long,’ I remember thinking, looking out at my stretching lines of 8th graders, 50 or more to each class. I was scared; I had never worked with kids of this age, and certainly never in groups this big.

Now, I know all of their names, most of their personalities, and, for a few, I know about their families, their opinions, and their aspirations. I can recognize their voices when they call from the gate of our neighborhood. A number of them, we have seen six or seven days a week all year.

These students have challenged me and frustrated me. They have been 8th graders: crazy and loud and emotional and just plain mean. They have done strange things: plucking my blond hair from my head, grabbing my hand to examine my white skin, smelling my hair, and telling me I have beautiful legs.

For all these odd and angering moments, I am grateful to them. I have a long ways to go, but I am at least a bit stronger and tougher now. I have been challenged to find ways to manage a large classroom with limited resources and to encourage their confidence. I am more aware of where I need improvements as a teacher and of where my strengths are.

I am grateful too, for all the good things. These students have educated me: I understand a Mozambican classroom a bit more and I understand some of the problems these kids bring to school with them.

And they have surprised me , too, a few of them, with their eagerness to learn and to help, their curiosity, their silly nature, and their occasional appreciation.

So, I say goodbye to my first-ever classes as a teacher.

Até a proxima.

p1280434

p1280420

p1280436

p1280437

p1280438

Sunday Snapshot: Sirius Twinkles

Standard

What is that? There, out toward the ocean, blinking red to blue to green.

It’s a satellite.

No. It’s not moving.

It’s the top of the nearby cell tower.

No. That’s further south. Not straight ahead.

We have no moon right now. And we have no running water in the house, ever. Brushing our teeth outside each night is both a habit of hygiene and ritual of watching how the night sky changes.

It’s Sirius. Bright. Right ahead. Twinkling. Changing colors above the line of palms.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

I’ve never seen a star twinkle and change like that.

So, bed time can wait until we are satisfied by looking up at this big wide universe.

And suddenly there’s that feeling that I love, but haven’t felt in a while: the feeling of being so small, in comparison.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Photo Credits to Alex Romanyshyn

 

Sunday Snapshot: Work Hard, Have Fun

Standard

Alex and Cece on top of Bottle Pass!

Today Alex and I embarked on a cross- country ski up toward Byer’s and Bottle Peaks, which we look at every day from our deck. At 9.5 miles roundtrip and more than 2,000 feet elevation gain going up , the ski was my longest and most strenuous to date, and I knew I’d have to work hard to get there! We went about 4.5 miles up the Byer’s Peak road and then turned off-trail and tromped up a hillside until we came to this beautiful clearing where we could see the back of Byer’s and Bill’s Peaks, and down into the valley below. As tired as we were, we took some time for silliness!