Category Archives: Sunday Snapshot

Sunday Snapshots: Time for Girls

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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

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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

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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.

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Sunday Snapshots: School’s Out

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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.

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Sunday Snapshot: Sirius Twinkles

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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.

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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.

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Photo Credits to Alex Romanyshyn

 

Sunday Snapshot: Work Hard, Have Fun

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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!

 

Sunday Snapshot: Kale Babies

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Kale sprouts in our indoor garden!

Kale sprouts in our indoor garden!

I am happy to say that there are signs of life in our indoor garden! Since starting this project, I have planted kale seeds, arugula seeds, garlic cloves for garlic greens, ginger root, and green onion. Alex planted some wheat grass that has come up, and we have been tending the basil and mint that was already in our indoor garden.I also started a little “garden journal” where I keep track of watering, germination, and other observations about what planting methods work and what I’m seeing in the garden. Hopefully these babies will keep growing into strong plants!

It’s nice to see some green when it still looks like this outside:

A sunny day of snowboarding after 13 new inches of snow at Winter Park. Photo courtesy of Alex Romanyshyn.

A sunny day of snowboarding after 13 new inches of snow at Winter Park. Photo courtesy of Alex Romanyshyn.

Sunday Snapshot: How I Learned to Drive a Stick Shift

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Sunday Snapshot: The Day I Learned to Drive a Stick Shift

Sunday Snapshot: The Day I Learned to Drive a Stick Shift. Photo Credit to Alex Romanyshyn

Some of you may remember our tales of our DIY Safari in Kenya in 2012. That’s when I learned to drive a stick shift. With the guidance of the Kenyan friend we made, we took our rattly, borrowed bushcar into the village soccer field, which was void of grass and instead made up of a barren patch of rust-red dirt. The kids saw us bumping up and our Kenyan friend Apin told them in Swahili or Samburu (I’m not so sure which) that the white woman (that’s me!) was learning to drive this car.

Oh, the looks on their faces…I wish I had a picture of that. One kid’s jaw dropped, and they all scattered to the edges of the soccer field.  We went coughing through the dirt in bushcar, skidding and stalling and halting all the way. It was a struggle, but I had the basics down.

A few days later, as shown in this picture, I was driving bushcar on safari with Alex, our friend Apin, and more than a few kids in tow. We were following lions, and the pressure was on. Overall, I did pretty well….until the superintendent of the national park (according to Apin) pulled up beside, informed us that we weren’t on a designated road, and told us to get back on one right away. Then the pressure was really on. After trying to reverse and stalling multiple times, Alex jumped over and I scooted under and suddenly the expert driver was back in the seat.

I’ll settle for amateur. Learning to drive stick in Kenya is good enough for me. There’s no need to master it.

Sunday Snapshot: Powder Daze

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Happy birthday to me! Riding deep powder all day!

Happy birthday to me! Riding deep powder all day at my home resort: Winter Park, Colorado! Photo Credit to Alex Romanyshyn.

Lately, the mountains we live in have been getting dumped on with lots of white, fluffy, glorious powder.

Shin deep!!?” we’ll say.

The next weekend it’s, “Did you like that thigh deep powder?”

Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Photo Credit to Alex Romanyshyn

Steamboat Springs, Colorado. Photo Credit to Alex Romanyshyn

I’m thrilled to say that the powder is deep, the smiles are BIG, and the legs are sooooreee.

Happy Winter!!