Site visits were this week, and it has been a cluster of events and emotions. Everyone going north of central Moz got to stay overnight in Maputo in a hotel that would probably have not met my standards a month and a half ago but now seems luxurious…mainly because of the HOT SHOWERS! Staying in the capitol has other perks too, like pizza and burritos and gelato and crunchy peanut butter and cheese and wine and the best coffee milkshake you can find anywhere! So yeah the perks mostly revolve around food and I think I ate more on Saturday than I ever have in my life. It was beautiful.
What was not beautiful was me on Sunday morning because we had to wake up at 4 AM to catch a ride to the airport and board a plane (if you can really call it that) to Chimoio. My host volunteer Jamie met us there in the PC office and after running some errands in the city we headed to Sussundenga. Both of these cities are in the province of Manica in the center of the country. It’s about an hour chapa ride from Chimoio to the lovely mountain town of Sussundenga. About halfway through the chapa passes through the market of a smaller village and you can buy produce from the vendors as they come up to the windows and try to entice you with their enticing selection of onions and tomatoes.
The first full day in Sussundenga was nice because I basically got to see all of it...and because we had some delicious french toast. We walked about 6 and a half miles going around the lower half of the village and hiked a bit up into the mountains to look at the amazing view. We passed through all of the local mercados (markets) and at one of the clothing stands I found an ADII shirt from Baylor. Basically Africa is the end of the line for your clothes that got donated but never sold in America. They call them calamidades (literally calamities) and they’re pretty awesome sometimes.
The next day we walked around the top half of the village and I got to see the new secondary school and another gorgeous view. We ended the day eating dinner with a local family there. We ate rice and beans and I must say that you haven’t had rice and beans until you’ve had it here. Mozambicans definitely know how to cook beans.
I left the next day for Chimoio to overnight there with the other volunteers since we had such an early flight the next day. We spent the day in the city which was surprisingly nice. I don’t really like big cities, even in the States so I couldn’t see myself living in one here but after visiting Chimoio I really don’t have a preference one way or another. Despite it being urban we met a lot of nice people and the volunteers placed there seem to love it and feel at home. I also felt a lot safer than I expected to feel in the city. Also it helps to have pizza and soft serve ice cream available on command. Overall there were things I liked and things I didn’t about both sites, and I still have no strong convictions on the type of site I should request. Honestly I’m just ready to find out where my new home will be for the next two years!
Mountains in Sussundenga
On the way back from our lovely site experience we had a handful of headaches at the airport and then in Maputo at the Peace Corps office and basically had to hike across Maputo luggage in tow in order to catch a chapa back to Namaacha today when we were expecting to have another night at the hotel. But that’s Peace Corps for ya so whatever. As soon as I arrived back home I was tackled by my niece and nephew (who I recently learned are really my half brother and sister) and my sister Lidia and then Mãe. As soon as I saw them I was overwhelmed with how much I had missed them. I am so happy to be here, home with my family. And they made me my favorite dinner, Matapa!
So now I’m exhausted and we of course have a long day of core classes tomorrow, which I of course will not be paying attention to since we find out where our sites are this week.