Tag Archives: Sunday Snapshot

Sunday Snapshot: Marcia’s House



Yesterday we finally made it to the home of Marcia, one our best friends here in Mapinhane. Despite Marcia being one of the most important people to our service, we had not yet visited her home since arriving here in December 2015. Marcia is one busy lady: she works at a shop 6 days a week, goes to church 3 or 4 nights a week, and on Sundays until 2. Finding a chunk of time to go visit her at home was one of our top priorities for this home stretch of Peace Corps service.

We wandered around her property, looking a her small garden and all of her fruit-bearing trees, picking some lemons and moringa to take home. We helped her cook Matapa, one of our favorite dishes and the one she had been promising us for months. And we spent a lot of time chit-chatting.

Marcia was one of the first people we met in Mapinhane, and has been a pillar of support ever since.

When it was so hot that my brain was boiling in my head in the first few months of service, Marcia was the one that humorously recognized the struggle. “Go home Cecelia. I can see you can’t speak Portuguese right now. You’re too hot.”

When we started teaching Marcia English, she cracked us up when she shared one of her reasons for wanting to learn: “So if someone bad is following me in America, I can tell them, ‘I will kill you!'” she explained with her fists in front of her scrunched-up face.We chuckled, slightly uncomfortable, at the image in our minds.

When I came to her toward the end of last year, exasperated about my wild 8th graders and their constant criticism of my ‘disorganized hair,’ she gave me sage advice: “You just tell them ‘Estou bem como estou’ (I am fine how I am). Now, instead of worrying about my hair, you worry about your future!”

When I gave her perhaps the 15th little sampling of a food I had cooked, she nodded her head and told us, “Yeah, Cecelia is the best in the kitchen,” sprinkling in ‘the best’ in English in the otherwise Portuguese sentence.

And it’s not uncommon for her to laugh and tell us she’s been practicing her ‘ginasticos’ so she can fit in our suitcase and come home with us to nanny our future children.

After our lunch had turned into dinner, she walked us back to the main road, 5 and a half hours after we had met her there. I said goodbye with the customary kiss on each cheek, her telling us ‘see you tomorrow’ in English, and us telling her the same in Shitswa.

“Até manziku mana Marcia.”

Like the Sunday Snapshots? Follow happilylostwithcece on Instagram to catch more Moz snapshots. 


Sunday Snapshot: Eating Well


For about a dollar in Mozambique, today we’ll eat quite well. I’m making Kouve (that’s the big ‘ole dinosaur leaves pictured above) and green pepper coconut curry and dumplings.

In Mapinhane, this is a happy time of year for taste buds and tummies. We have an itty bitty market here and during the hottest time of year -December to February- it’s not uncommon to find nothing more than tomatoes, onions, and coconuts. I don’t hate that I’ve mastered spaghetti sauce, salsa, and all things tomato, but it sure is nice to get more variety during this cooler time of year. Summertime deprivation makes everything thereafter feel like a feast.

Like the Sunday Snapshots? Find more Moz snapshots on my Instagram, happilylostwithcece or under #100daysofmoz or #happilylostinmoz. 

Happy Sunday 🙂 Hope you’re eating well today too!

Sunday Snapshot: Parabéns Moz25


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 Service) 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 Snapshot: Home Sweet Sweet Potato



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



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 Snapshot: Life is Good on the Indian Ocean


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.


Sunday Snapshots: School’s Out


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.






Sunday Snapshot: Sirius Twinkles


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.


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.



Photo Credits to Alex Romanyshyn


Sunday Snapshots: ‘Feliz Dia de Você Teacher.’


This past Wednesday, October 12, was Dia de Professores- Teacher’s Day- in Mozambique. We celebrated at the town center with teachers from all the schools in our town, students, and community members.

Each schools’ staff prepared a dance and a number of student groups performed songs and dances. Plus, we all got to wear really good-looking matching orange shirts (…ahem..) and received many special greetings for the day: kisses on the cheeks wishes of ‘Feliz dia de Você, Teacher.’

Happy ‘You Day,’ Teacher.


Singing and marching to the Town Center with a police escort.



Twelfth graders from our school performing a cultural dance.


Primary school cultural group performing a song and dance.


The exceptionally well-organized primary school staff having lots of fun dancing.

Performing a choreographed dance with our colleagues:


Sunday Snapshots: Peace, Love, and Baby Jane


I remembered this week that I went through a short phase here on Happily Lost of posting a Sunday Snapshot every week. I am not sure why I got out of the habit of the Sunday Snapshot, but I have decided to start up again. Without further ado, some happenings from this week:

This past Tuesday was Day of Peace in Mozambique. This is a national holiday to celebrate the signing of the Peace Accord on October 4, 1992, which put an end to the civil war that took place in Mozambique from 1977-1992. The political situation in Mozambique has been complicated for decades and conflict between the two main political parties continues, but Mozambicans want peace in their young country.

Our town held a Dia de Paz celebration at the town center and, not knowing quite what time it was to start, we ended up arriving near the end, just in time to hold hands and sway along with some colleagues to a peace song and then hang out with some Mapinhane kids for a bit.




Cleverly-made cars that many kids around town run around with. This one was extra special, sporting the Moz flag.

The next day, October 5, began Alex and my anniversary celebrations, which take place 3 days apart. On the 5th we celebrated our 3-year wedding anniversary and on the 8th we celebrated 11 years of being together. I love October, and it is made even better by getting to kick-off the month each year with celebrations. The celebrations were simple and reminiscent: we looked at a lot of old pictures and wedding pictures and video and cooked crepes and butternut squash pasta and carrot cake on the charcoal stove (the gas ran out..). This year, the anniversaries came with a bit of extra emotion: happiness, of course, saudades for home and our normal Fall celebration, and a strange confusion that hit me as I realized how much our lives have changed in the 3 years since our wedding and in the 11 since we started out.

I remember how we started our wedding vows to each other: Our love is journey; from mountaintops to ocean floors; from childhood to adulthood; and from this day forward into the great unknown.


Snow Mountain Ranch, Colorado.


Magaruque Island, Mozambique

Last but not least, our newest niece, Jane Kingsley, was born in Colorado on October 6 (October 7 in Moz 😉 ). She came a bit early and is an itty bitty thing at 5lbs 10oz. Like the anniversaries, the birth of Baby Jane brought with it a mix of joy and a bit of disbelief and a bit of sadness about not getting to meet her right away. But we sure are happy she’s here!

Welcome to the world Ms. Jane.