Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Dancamos com Backstreet Boys, conversamos sobre Michael Jackson e accordo com Eminem (oh and a Piri update tambem)

So yesterday the family that lives behind the house I am staying in had a Backstreet Boys music video marathon on their TV. So the other volunteer and I along with Piri-Piri had a dance party in the yard to Backstreet Boys – incredible! Oh yea and the father of that same family has been quite interested in learning about Michael Jackson – asking about women in his life, his kids, how he died, whether he was cremated, etc…Needless to say I don’t know enough about the man because many of his questions remain unanswered. Oh yea and the eldest son of that same family LOVES Eminem and he has been playing the same 1 or 2 songs from morning until night for the past few weeks…he asked me last week if I would help him translate the lyrics to the “Momma” (I don’t know the real name of the song) song and I told him I would as long as he promised to not play it every single day! J For all of you who who are dog lovers…Piri is doing well she has been going on morning runs with my roommate, which is tuckers her out she also still brings us presents of goat skins, old bones of random animals and the newest thing are dirty baby diapers! I am teaching her to sit, stay and sleep…we’ve almost mastered sit and will be moving on soon!

A Minha Escola em Guija

We technically started school last Thursday, however I have still yet to meet all of my students. The first few weeks of school are spent enrolling students, teachers still planning lessons and students deciding when they are finished with holidays and ready to come back. There are about 1000 students at the school and 4 English teachers - two English teachers for 8th-10th and two for 11th and 12th grades. The students in the 8th-10th receive 2 classes of English/week, while the students in 11th and 12th receive 5 classes/week. I will be teaching only in the morning (from 7am to 12:05) and will have 4 turmas (classes) of about 40 students each. My schedule changes depending on the day – Mondays I have six classes (3 doubles/duplas) with my three 11th grade classes, Tuesday I have two classes (1 double/dupla) with my only 12th grade class and Wednesday…So far the students have pretty good I have yet to have a full class with all of my students so we’ll see how things go when I get 40 students in a classroom. I did have something funny happen the other day in class when we were going over classroom rules. I asked the students what it meant to respect yourself and then asked them to give me examples in English/Portuguese…one student decided to say in Portuguese with the most serious face that not peeing in your pants was one way to respect yourself, besides being true his comment definitely generated some great laughter! More stories to come…

Escola Secudaria em Mozambique

The secondary education system in Mozambique is set up in two cycles – the first cycle is 8th-10th grade and the second cycle is 11th and 12th. Students have to take national exams after 10th grade and 12th grade in November if they pass they can move on to 11th grade after 10th or university after 12th. If they don’t pass they can retake the exams in December and if they still don’t pass they have to retake the courses they did not pass on the exam. All secondary schools in Mozambique are open to any one who wants to go to school and the classes are not determined on the age of the students, but whether or not they have passed the previous grade. For instance, there could be a 16 year or and a 36 year old in the same 11th grade class. The school is set up on a trimester system – the first trimester is January to April, the second is May to July and the third is August to October. There are three cycles of classes at most schools one in the morning, one in the afternoon and then one at night. The schools that do not have electricity will only have two cycles during the day because it makes it impossible to hold classes at night without electricity.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

"Voce conhece crocodillos?"

This is the question I get at least once a week by the same people who I meet alongside the main road in my town…those people include a man by the name Manuel who sells used clothes a few building down from where I live, a women who sells refrescos near the central market, the chicken vendor and many others I may come into contact on my passear-ing journey to the “ponte” or bridge that goes over the Limpopo River and connects Guija with Chokwe. This is definitely my favorite spot. There is a little baraaca at the end of town right off the river where you can get a drink and relax. Typically everyone who frequents this spot sits at the tables provided by the barraca, but we take our drinks and go sit on some rocks under the bridge where you can watch the beautiful sunsets and catch the nice breeze off the rio. The thing about going to the ponte is that everyone in town enjoys bringing up the fact that the river is home to crocodillos and how it is dangerous for me to go there because one man has been eaten and a month before I arrived another had his arm bitten off while bathing in the river at night (I think he had to be asking for that…who thinks to bathe in a river with crocs when it is pitch black outside?) Anyways I reassure people that I am not taking a bath or even entering the water in any way, but they are usually not satisfied because the conversation replays itself each time. I know they are only looking out for my well being and I appreciate it, but I have decided that I will not give up frequenting this incredible spot for the fear of having my arm bitten off by a croc.

“Uma fotografica e vale um mil palavras”

So since school is not supposed to begin until the middle/end of the month I have had quite a bit of free time and usually spend part of my day just sitting under talking to people about how yet again it is another hot day. So I have been trying to spice up that convo a bit and decided to bring out all my lovely pictures of family and friends back to home to share. It was such a wonderful idea too because it has helped me “trocar” (exchange/trade) experiences. We have talked about how there are non-white people that live in the U.S. (thanks to many pictures of Bernard and I), how old people live to be (thanks to my wonderful grandparents who just celebrated their 63 wedding anniversary on January 1st), going to university, sports (specifically baseball, hmm I wonder why…love you Tony!), the different climates, markets, types of buildings, languages, Uganda, HIV/AIDS and much much more…It’s crazy how something as small and insignificant at times can spark some incredible conversation and help people feel that much more connected to you. So now when my neighbor’s see that I am on the phone with my family and friend’s back home they can picture their faces.

Eu sou Dr. Do-Little

Okay so sorry I bet you didn’t imagine that I would continue to write about my pets (yes there is more than just Piri) but being that I am waiting on the school year to begin this is the most exciting thing I have to write about. Yea so the other volunteer I am living with got a cat last spring sometime and it disappeared about 2 months ago and decided to come back a week after I got Piri. Then this past weekend I brought home a kitten because the two volunteers who live in the town next to mine went back to the states for the holidays and needed someone to look after the kitten. So now how do they all get along…they don’t. The first cat thinks this house is his terrain and wants nothing to do with Piri or the gatinha named Kanimambo (Thank you in Xangana – the local language here). Piri is still just wanting to bite everything in sight including the gatinha – another small chick was murdered, but we are not positive it was Piri because she was not caught in the act, but I did wake up on New Years and had the skin of a goat in my front yard – she took it from the neighbor’s house who killed it the night before. She also ripped the mosquito net of my neighbor’s last night…ugh! Her biting has been a constant stress of mine – I actually dreamt about it last week. Luckily my neighbors are understanding and are really positive about her though…Seriously though the house has turned into a petting zoo with crying, purring, barking and growling ALL day long…!