Wednesday, November 20, 2013

House-Arrested Development

Provincial elections are today and as a result all of us are on lockdown for the day. So since I’m stuck in the house faced with laundry and lesson planning I thought it would be a great time to write about site placements.

Last week was the most stressed I’ve been since I arrived in Africa. After arriving from site visits we all had a long weekend of relaxation to look forward to with ample time to wash the pile of dirty clothes we accrued over the week--OH WAIT, I was thinking about an alternate universe where I have enough hours in the day. Let me start over.

After arriving from site visits we all had a long day of classes and then an entire weekend of permagardening to look forward to. What’s permagardening you ask? Well, I couldn’t tell you because I was so tired and hot and over it Saturday morning that I hardly paid attention. It has something to do with sustainable vegetable gardening and composting. Probably useful information but half of my group spent our time deliriously doing ridiculous activities like fruit ninja with real fruit and machetes, mango baseball and chasing chickens. Let me just say that real life fruit ninja is much more fun than the app.

The following week we were all supposed to be planning to teach model school (basically kids are bribed with food to come be our guinea pig students for a week), but with site announcements on Thursday everyone was on edge. My week went about like this:

 Lesson plan. Panic. Lesson Planning and panicking. Try to think of ways to make genetics fun. Realize that’s pretty much impossible. More panicking. Get sick. Puke for 8 hours on the hour. Spend the day dying in bed in a concrete house that’s kin to an oven in the African sun. Recover and lesson plan some more…also more panicking because site announcements are tomorrow!

When the day finally came to find out where I’ll be living for the next two years, we had our long day of core classes and they of course waited til the very end to hand out our site packets. We all lined up on the sidelines of the basketball courts outside of the school. On the court was drawn in chalk a giant map of Mozambique and all of its provinces. They handed us our envelopes and we all stood there like kids on Christmas Eve waiting to open them.
And the verdict is………

PANDA! In Inhambane province in the south, which is affectionately dubbed the Peace Corps Playground because of how close all of the volunteers are placed together. I am actually really close to a lot of great people, and I have a roommate and a site mate so I’m very happy with my assignment. I am teaching technology, which is not what I expected to be teaching or feel prepared for at all but in the Peace Corps there’s no way to know what you’re actually going to be doing until you’ve already done it. Also, I had a long conversation with one of the volunteers I’m replacing and he says that technology teachers are seriously needed in Panda so I’m happy for that. Also they apparently have a state of the art computer lab that was recently donated to the school so I’ll actually have computers to teach with, which is a serious advantage and a rarity here.

Some other things about my site: it’s kind of in the matu (bush, middle of nowhere, etc.) but only an hour and a half away from 2 beautiful beaches and an hour away from a large city where I can get things I can’t find in the markets. My house has electricity and is in a neighborhood with all of the other teachers at the secondary school. We have a latrine and a yard and I fully intend on having a dog, a chicken coop and a pig that I will fatten up over the next two years and have as barbeque at the end of my service. It’s also apparently very safe and the community is very welcoming. Overall I can’t wait to be there and settle in to my new home!

That’s all for now, I’m going to continue demolishing a bag of Jelly Belly’s that my family sent to me in a care package with two of my friends.


  1. How exiting! Feel awful about the skinny dog! ( hope you had some good for him)

  2. I wonder if you'll be able to eat your beloved pet pig... I know I couldn't !
    That's why I became a vegetarian at age 4.( we raised pigs ...) they're really very smart and lovable !