Saturday, November 8, 2014

Saying Goodbye to Nacuxa and my life as a PCV

Today is my last day in Nacuxa and the only way I can describe the feeling is that it doesn’t feel real. I cannot believe 2 years have already passed. I have learned so much—about Mozambique, its people and culture, and about myself. There were great days, bad days, lonely days, exciting days, days when the crianças wouldn’t stop bugging me, days when I felt doubtful about finishing my service and days when I felt so loved and appreciated. I am going to miss so many things about Nacuxa and the people here.

When I left America in September 2012 I knew I was going to miss my family and friends, but what I didn’t realize was how I would gain another set of family and friends. I knew when I came to Peace Corps (PC) that I would be able to go back in 2 years and see everyone again in America. Leaving Mozambique is not like that. I’m leaving my community with the hopes of one day returning to visit but I don’t know when. They have become my family while I’ve been here. They have given me support, made me laugh when I was sad, gave me advice and showered me with love. I feel so grateful to have known these wonderful people and to have learned so much from them. I will truly miss my Nacuxa and Peace Corps family. They have changed me. And I hope I have helped them and made an impact on their lives as they have on mine.

The quote “no one said it’d be easy, they just promised it would be worth it” really describes my life as a Peace Corps Volunteer. There were times when I thought there was no way I could make it another week let alone two years in a foreign country. I am so happy that I can proudly say that I made it! It was the most amazing, difficult, eye-opening, stressful, exciting, and terrifying experience of my life. I know I have changed into a different person (hopefully a better one) and I have learned so much about myself. I know if I see a bug in my bed I can calmly pick it up and throw it off whereas two years ago I wouldn’t have done that. I know that I can haggle prices in a foreign language. I know I can live without running water or air conditioning. I know I can bake cakes without an oven. I know I can live without supermarkets and restaurants. I know if I can be a PCV I can do anything (cheesy but true). And I know I can now cross off one of my life goals. I have successfully completed my 27-month Peace Corps service and I have to tell you it feels amazing!

I’m so grateful for all of the support and encouragement my family and friends in America have given to me these past two years. Your letters, phone calls, messages, prayers, packages, and love got me through! I know without a doubt in my mind that without all your support and encouragement I would not have made it through my service. I hope you all know that I am incredibly grateful for everything! I'm leaving my Mozambican family but returning to my American one. Vou ter muito suadades de vocês! See you in a week, America!

Estamos juntos Moçambique!

Some final pictures from this week...

Celestino, Rabson and I, seminarians from my English theater group

Valentim and I, a student from the 2nd level class D

3rd level class A

3rd level class B

Santos and Raimundo, students from the 2nd level class D

Bryson and I 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Final Pictures of Nacuxa

As my COS (Close of Service) date fast approaches I'm trying to soak in everything about my community here in Nacuxa. I took pictures on my way to the market last week so I can show you what it's like food shopping. It's just a bit different than going to your local walmart or hy-vee. :) I also had my last classes this week so I took pictures of all my students. I only have a week left at site and I'm trying to despedir (say goodbye) to all my friends and colleagues and organize my house for the next PCV coming in December. I won't have time for many more blog posts so these will probably be the last pictures for now. I will write one more blog next week before I leave site. I can't believe it's been over 2 seems like just yesterday I was in Namaacha learning Portuguese and eating Matapa for the first time.

One of the houses I see on my way to the market. 

My walk to get different than driving on 90th to Hy-vee :) 

Another house on the market path

How you buy clothes in Mozambique--you really have to be patient and look through things. 

Selling capulanas at the market on Fridays

The owners of this small store. I buy oil, potatoes and rice from them. 

Our library sign is looking good...hopefully it'll be finished soon.

My Peace Corps motivational wall by my door that I look at everyday.

2nd level, Class C 

1st level, Class A

1st level, Class B

1st level, Class C

2nd level, Class D 

Me and Ruth, one of the students in the 1st level class.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

English Theater Champions

Sorry it's been a few weeks since my last post about getting ready for English Theater. The competition went well and Nacuxa won first place and one of our girls won Best Actress! All their hard-work and practicing really paid off. They were so happy! We were able to go celebrate at the beach and then when we got back to Nacuxa we drove around the school dancing and singing in the car. It's safe to say everyone in our town knows we won. :) 

I'm so proud of all of them and know they are going to do a great job again next year! Here are some pictures of my counterpart and our English Theater group.

Our group picture showing off their first place certificate! 
From Left to Right: Zaina, Regina, Viraneque, Dorinda, Peter (my counterpart), Duda, Ivone, Celestino and Ali and Rabson in front. 

Celebrating their victory!

Dorinda from Nacuxa won Best Actress. She wanted to take a picture with the Best Actor :)

The boys hanging out at the beach after the competition

The girls hanging out after a fun time at the beach

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

An update through pictures

I haven't had a chance to sit down and write a blog post for awhile so I decided to post some pictures from the last month instead. After this week life will slow down a bit and I'm hoping to write another post. 

At the beginning of September our Moz 19 group of PCVs (peace corps volunteers) had our COS (Close of Service Conference). Here are some pictures of my Peace Corps family :) 

Anna B & I 

Jamie, Casey, Me, Hannah and Nick

Pam, Me and Jennea

Ryan, Anna and Taylor

Hannah and I 

Jamie B and I 

Stephen, Me and Anna

Jamie, Me and Kevin G

Custodio (PC staff) and Sam

Victor and I 

Heather and I 

Tram and I

From Left to Right: Anneke, Cheyanne, Hannah, Karina, Jamie B, Jennea, Me and Anna B

After getting back from COS conference Irma Rita and I finished decorating the library! We're currently in the process of painting the name of the library outside the classroom (pictures to come after we finish).

Some 7th graders enjoying the library and putting together the foam puzzles 

Quiet reading time :) 

Irma Rita and our Alphabet poster

The primary school's pedagogical director using the library books! 

Using the letter cards to spell their names :) 

Now there are some random pictures from the last few weeks--the neighborhood crianças, my empregada and Classroom pictures

My empregada showing off how she carries her things home after working. 

One of my students that I've had both years, Klisman, and I.

My favorite criança, Anu :) 

Another one of my students I've had both years, Jorge, and I

Arielle and Anu 

The crianças came over to dance and take pictures :) 

Arielle, a health PCV, came to Nacuxa last week to give Sexual Education talks to all my classes. It went really well and she gave great lessons! 

This weekend after it had been sprinkling for a bit I went outside and saw this double rainbow. Love the beautiful scenery here and these special moments :) 

On Saturday is the English Theater competition in Nacala so we have rehearsals every day trying to prepare. Thankfully this Thursday is a holiday so no classes! I'm excited to relax and hopefully get some of my COS paperwork finished! More pictures to come next week after English Theater.