Saturday, October 07, 2006

Chelsea is 23

Well, i have gained another year... and i stand (proudly?) 23 years old. Oh how this Birthdya celebration differed from teh last. Erin, my roomate, and I had the best intentions of planning abirthday bash, chatting a month before about its potential, but of course like many things in are life that dont hold weight in our day to day it slipped our mind. So 3 days before Bday I casually started invinting "my friends" aka people who i communicate with on a daily basis.. the concept of friend here needs to be reoriented. I have conceeded that i will have no deep intimate connections that my friends from teh states and I pride ourselves on. rather my relations, hellos and chit chat about daily life, and sharing the occasional beer must suffice the friendship need.

To be honest planning a party here is a very stresful event. There is no casual invite friends for a drink. Patys are very formal special occassions, because the majoity of my friends cant afford to go out and have a soda or drink, and a party provides teh opportunity for drinking soda and eating food other that xima, rice, and leaves. tradtionally people ive formal inviatins and ask for a contribution. but i wanted to invite people who couldnt contribute- he stress was inhow much food and drinkto buy due to the ambiguity of the number that would and and of course my limited salary... was difficult to find the balance between enough, but not t much. which seems quite trivial now, but i assure you it was the topic of the majoity of erin and i conversations in the days preceeding the party. And of course i was stressed because i would judge my level of intergation and acceptance in teh community by the number of invitees who soed. So the day trudged on, and as the hour near i put on my party girl outfit, a hot pink skit and heels, what else would chelsea wear?

We walked four abreast to the determined party location, chatting nervously to ease my mind from my social destiny. Thankfully when we arrived the Donna had set up our table, check, first disaster avoided, now we jsut needed peole. I waited nervously for the guest to arrive, trying to soothe my mind, by reminding myself 9pm mozambiquan time was 10-1030.... but by 930 guests started arriving.. must admit the first guest was a schock. instead of saying welcom, i said, you came! and slowly they trickled in. A modge pode of my life in dondo... various collegeus, students, my frinds from teh library, neighbors, the random community members i chat with but dont know there names, and of course my dear friends erin, gildo, samito, kelly and hisae. But somehow we congelled together to have a spanking good time. offcourse we danced the night away and people stammered out around 2 in the morning overthanking me. overall a success

moral of the story never underestimate the power of free food and drink.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

Missionaries??

I can't get the forceful words of a missionary I heard last Sunday out of my head. "Preperar! Para est vie de Juesus Christo est perto, abri seu corazons, tirar pedras, coisas est que prohibrir voce de viver na caminha de Deus." Its not that here words were profound or original, you can here variations coming from any missionary, that resonates with me, but rather the manner in which they were delivered. With Whole hearted belief, that the book that she grasped in he hand was the truth and the way, the only way, to the foretold promise land. How odes such an unwavering belief develop? I am bewildered by this tenancity of faith. But, more importantly I have been grappling with how I feel about missionaries.

Sitting around your dinner table in the United States after you have had a filling meal, probably accompanied by a glass of wine, it is easy to condom them. Propergating faith, converting by providing basic human needs to those who dont have the means to provide them. Evangelizing is demonized in the liberal circles i ran in. It took me coming to a developing nation to get real prospective. The missionaries do Damn good work here. The run the majority of, and the best orphanages int Mozambieqe. Their churches act as a community center. Church becomes a social event, provides an opportunity to do something, it becomes an event that presses on for 3 hours full of music, singing, and dancing. whoo the dancity their quasi routines, where everyone participates formt eh baby strapped onto the mothers back to the Avo who gentle shuffles her callaoused feet.

But how do the converted Mozambiquans feel about the words being said (the words of god)? The words that disencourage ancient cultural practices, that demonize tradtional healers, once highly respected leaders int he community. I look a the faces of the congreation and often there eyes are vacant and lips are tight, in neither a smile or a frown, he stationary not moving in consent or dissaproval. So how do they feel... are they just waiting for the next opportunity to sing and dance? Have they seen the light, or is going to church a practice accepted in return ofr a community gathering and the perks the church provides. What if there were another facet way to organize the community, would it thrive as christainity does?

India «the trip»

India is an amazing country, rich with heritage and religion. It is difficult to put my experiences into words, especially under the time crunch of the internet cafe. But my trip took me from the financial capital of Bombay, which was bursting at the seems with people. The sheer density of people and things was positively overwhelming and astonishing.

Next we traveled to agenda where 26 Buddhist caves were painstankingly carved into a ridge from the 5-10n century. Those with only true devotion to a faith could create, every nook and cranny intricately carved with testament to Buddha, ceilings, walls, and pillars are decorated in elaborately detailed paintings depicting scene's of carnivals, worship, festivals. The religion appears so humanistic to so the Buddha sleeping or decibels depicted with voluptuous bare breasted ladies. From the Buddhist caves we traveled to an incredible Hindu temple. Words nor pictures and do this temple justice. The complex was huge with a man temple in the center without a surface not designed or carved in representation of a god. To the surrounding walls which were also roams dedicated to different gods and goddess. Tourist wanting in and out of each room heads moving up and down and back and forth trying to take the immensity and the details of it in. Snapping a photo, only to be disappointed with the digital image.

We spent the weekend in Pune, a quasi-suburb, 2 hours south, of Bombay, where a Jewish community resides. Pune has been heavily influenced by the west. I had a minor freak out as I entered a 5 story mall, I guess a year in Africa can make you forget consumer's capitalistic tendencies. Then we headed north to New Delhi, did the sites in the city. But the real highlight of this leg of the trip was obviously the TAJ MAHAL!! It most certainly deserves to be one of the 7 wonders of the world. In perfect symmetry it stands as an attestiment to a mans undying love to his wife, I only hope to be so lucky. The narrow reflecting pools perfectly align to reflect the entirely of the beautiful building. I am no conisour of architecture, but I stood and stared at the this wonder, I cant bring myself to call it a building, for 3 hours.

Then we headed up north to the Himalayas on an overnight bus. In the soft morning light we climbed up a steep windy road, that more holes then pavement. The single lane was bade double by the generous, but benevolent honks of horns. The road ended at the top of a steep hill, which I thought I would end up walking up, and before us lay lush mountainside, steep like the Rockies but green has the hills of Vermont. Nestled into the natural steeps were houses, and the landscape was decorated by lines of color, hanging between trees, off of houses, on rock ledges. Although the colors were primary and bold they have become part of the environment, and are symbolic of the seemingly harmonious balance between man and nature in this tranquil land. We had arrived in daringly, the Tibetan Exile community were His Holiness resides. There your found shaved heads clad in maroon robes, whose gentle steps climbed steep mountainside, each step was with prayer as a string of beads moved effortless through fingers. So apparent it was, it is about the journey, the means, that provide the profundity of the end, the destination. The Buddhist community lives along side a transient but continuous population of hippy foreigners from various parts of the world, who have come for various meditations, homeopathic healing, and crunchy things of the like. Their only distinguishing character was the length of their dread locks. We passed our days appreciating the beauty and walking through the mountains.

We then continued a little farther into the mountains. And spent the last days in Vashisht, relaxing, visiting natural hot springs, and appreciating out last days together. To my best friends I want to say thank you for an amazing trip, your continual support, and sense of adventure. Africa 2007 or bust !?!?

Chelsea goes to India

So yes I live in Mozambique, and I traveled to India to meet three of my most favorite people in the world, you know who you are

The trip started at 4am July 12th, where I waited on the side of the road for a bus to drive me to mapped (approximately a 24 hour bus ride). Well 100km in the bus had broken down 3 times so with a plan to catch in Joburg in 4 days I decided to take matters into my own hands. Hence commenced a 4 day hitch hike of over 1,000 miles. I fell into the good grace of meeting to middle aged, rich, south Africans who took me into their care. I was able to overlook there not so suddle racists comments, due to their extreme kindness, paying for my accommodations and food at one on of the necessities beaches, Tofo, in MOzambique. They brought me across the boarder to Nelspritz, the next day I took a bus to joburg to get my Visa.

well, easy you think, go in get the visa. Not quite. I arrived a t 1230, and the stop processing visa applications at 12. No amount of sweet talking could persuade them. With my plane leaving the following day, limited funds, and being alone in joburg, I knew I was a bad situation. The following day I went to see if I could get on the plane without a visa, ehm, apparently even for Chelsea Keyser, that is not allowed. (That is even with crying). So I changed my plane ticket to give me 4 more days in Joburg to get the visa, and tacked one 7 more days in India.

I camped out in the airport book store scouting out cheap hostels near the Indian embassy then . A chance, or good fortune would have it I ran into a man who ran a Buddhist center in joburg. He offered me accommodates for free, I eagerly took him up on the offer. But here's the icing on the cake, and one of the residents was the son of the Indian ambassador. So after a relaxing weekend at the Buddhist center, which included shopping, entered (and nearly had a panic attack) my first mall in 11 months, gourmet dinners, and meditation. The following Monday I drove to the embassy walked directly into the ambassadors office, accompanied by his son, had tea and got my visa.

The following morning I was on my way, 4 days later then expected but no worries.

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Cultural Mishaps Happen

So last week the to-do's of Dondo-Beira district came to visit my school. During 1st period I received a very official looking letter stamped and sealed declaring everyones presence was requested during the interval maior. So my lessons carried on, and in typical fashion my 4th period class ran a little late. So i rushed out of the classroom to see the majority of the students and the entirety of the staff organized. I slipped through the lines of student as about discretly as a Pagan at a Morman mass. I made it to the line of teachers and ofcourse im one of four people not wearing my Bata, the mandatory uniform of teachers, that out of principal I refuse to wear. Forgot to mention the other three not in uniform were decked out in 3 piece suits.... ooopppss. There was only room at the front of the line which meant I was closests to the Big bosses, and consequently blocking half of the doorway to the teachers room, which has been claeaned adn the red table cloth laid out for their arrival. So I sand in polite attention while each person in introduced and the Hohays for FRELIMO and Education are done. Normally political talk, nice words strung together but not really saying anything.

I wonder if they even looked into the salas- took note of the condition in which the school is in. Here its all about show and presentation, the Chefes roll up in nice cars, suits, and body guards (i mean really who would try to kill the dondo minister of education?) Gleaming smiles they ask Tudo bem? I wanted to say.. Nao! Em realidade nos salas sao horivel. O chao tem couvas muinto fundo, tudos os dias eu quasi torco meu tornozelo, esta perigoso... But of course i kept my mouth shut and smiled. But i was quite pleased when a girl in 12th grade spoke up- to complain about the conditions of the salas. She received the robotoic response of next year we will start improving the school. I found out afterward this cerimony and dialouge has been going on the same way for years, with no changes!

So after they all said their unmoving words they turned towards the line of teachers, and dumb old me standign at the front of the line thought they were going to enter the sal do preofessors again. So I turned to allow them more space, as they were not men who only subsisted on xima, but in acutlaity they were coming to compliment all the teachers. It apperaed as if I was turning my back to one of the most respected members in my community, hencing thouroughly embarrassing myself and disgracing the school... . My director snapped at me, and when I turned back I only had to shake the big mans hand, so my actions went without explanation. My bad... I'm just an American trying to teach in Mozambique don't equate my ignorance with disrespect.

Because in this society demonstration of respect and presentation are weighted above everything here... it doesnt matter that I show up everyday, on time, with a well prepared lesson. I will continue to be referred to, atleast in a light joking manner by my collegues, as the white girl who snubbed her chefe.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Where does change come from?

The promlem of AIDS... how do we change the behavior. Soulutions are not found in rope memorization, abstinence, fidelity, condoms, these words are regergitated on demand in Portuguese, English, or dialect, your choice. The wear the button, get tested, society chalk full of propaganda, red ribbons painted on every tree and building. But the behavior isnt changing, WHY? Where are the change makeers- the leaders that claim "I am Positive." Babies suckign on poision milk becasue formula is too expensive, women forced to submit to unfaithful husbans- polygomy is a breading ground- Who are the change makers? Who will step up, because AIDS has one and four here, and soon it will be taking your first born

So how do we get through?

Well bribery has worked for me. After a turma bombed there first test I offered 2 recooperation points for everyone who got HIV tested and showed me there cards. (The GATV, free voluntaring testing site, give cards that keep a record of the date your tested, not the result) Granted this is walking a very thin line on the voluntary aspect of the clinque, but I thought it was a risk worth talking, no pun intended. The offer was greated with moans and "but teacher." But sure enough the following class 8 people appeared with new GATV cards in hand.... 5 of them got tested for the first time.

Pouco e Pouco, right?

Organized Chaos

The story of two Americans who tried to organize "A Language Festival"

A few weeks back Erin, myslef, and a French teacher organized a language event. An opportunity for students to practice, demonstrate their ability by giving, speeches, poems, theater, dance in Portuguese, English, and French. The day of the event Erin and I arrived early with hand written schedules, post it notes, seating charts, and eager smiles. But as we should have known, Type A personalities are in direct opposition ot the Mozambiquan way of life. So we sat with your color coated supplies for 2 hours, and with 5 minutes until show time, Niguem, Nada, Nobody, was there- were talking neither participants or audience. All we could do was sit, wait, and make passing jokes about the huge cultural elephant. But in typical Mozambiquan fashion 1 hour late for us, or on time for them, everyone arived and we began. The auditorium was bem cheia (packed), and although the purpose of the event was lost due to the lack of a micropohone and an amazing sound system that insisted on blasting 50 cent during the intervals of the acts, ther was a positive energy and a feeling of pride that radiated from our students. I felt like a god damn parent, moving about, congradualting my students with high fives and hugs, I was even moved to tears as one of my favorited students belted out, in almost perfect English, Martin Luther King's "I Have A Dream" speech. The event lasted for 3 hours, and following the last act we had a huge dance party that lasted well into the evening... so i give myself a pat on the bag, and will gear up for Language festival #2 next trimerster.

Value of color

They come from far and wide to see the Americans, flashing neon lights advertising the Main Attraction, namely our presence. It is unescapable, life defined by something you lack the ability to choose. The age old cry "I am not just the color of my skin." I forget what it is to blend into a sea of people, even at the highest level of integration I will always be the other. But my coming to Africa, to Mozambique was a choice. A choice to willingly put myself in the minority, a choice the only a social class and a degree from a private University could provide. A Privelaged Choice. A choice that escapes those native born to racists societies, ok lets stop the abstract. A choice that non-white Americans will never have. My journey here was in part an attempt to further my understanding of racism in the USA, by experiencing it for myself.

But can I ever fully understand discrimination in the USA, if all the assumptions made about me are positive? (also, the singling out I feel is a result of both racial and cultural differences, but putting that aside.) I experience positive discrimantion, maybe liken to how white americans view asian americans. People assume I am rich, educated, and can provide for them the opportunity their society fails to give. But I think there are some similarties between my experience here and the experience of minorties in the States.

Discrimaination is the resulting veiw of the other, people are categorized and defined in to social hiearchy not by their personal opinions, but by the opinions of the other/outsider. This outside view is eventually internalized to depict the individuals self worth in terms of their group status. In turn each individual of a group is stripped of individuality and thus able to speak on behalf of the totality of the group. I am no longer Chelsea Larkin Keyser, born and raised in VT, with individual experiences and thoughts, I am the white female American. My opinion has become the American opion, which frankly at this point in time, I rather have my beliefs values, founded in Liberalism, stable family and a Unitarian Universalists church, repersent American, than the violent many times ignorant words of our dear President Bush.

In Mozambique the issue of race is not tip toed around or cloaked in delicate phrases like 'celebrating diversity' The difference here, is people have no shame in calling white white (or rather Mulungo) and black black. And my attempts to describe the race relations especially cultural sensitivity in calling non-white Americans by the politically correct name are lost in confusion and blank stares. Mozambiquans come form a colonial history of oppression, were rules were imposed to hold the native, black mozabiquans down, while the Portuguese exploited the country. Yet, the present seems to carry no scars of the divided past. Although Americans golor blind goals are noble our continual failure to combat the institution or racisms in our society- to live by our catchy motos- is like a continual cold slap in the face. Maybe its better to call the Kettle balck, and then appreciate the cup to steaming tea it provides?

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

irrelevant insights

Brief comparision on the 'nimal Facts of Life'

Here people know the animal facts of life as few people from the developed world will ever know again. Without embarrassment they accept life and death. They can kill a chicken, dress it , and eat it afterward with little repugnance, and i am prould to say i can now put myself in this category. Which beofre arving here I would think impossible. We have been conditioned to think of chickens as neatly sorted cellophane packages of breasts, wings, legs, and thighs without guts or mess. and the whole process of course absent of death. Death and life are everyday affairs here. After compliments its norma to mention the loss of a husband or smile - information deleivered with a smile- the appropriate responese is aknowledgment, brief condolnensces and and then a comfortable transition into another subject. Here peole suffer a degree of pain that I could not tolerate. They live life hard, grieve loss briefly, and bear children without anesthtic.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Note Worthy

Fidel Castro polo shirt sitings -----» 5

Osmin Bin Laden T shirst sitings -----» 3

Taliban bumber sticker sitings -----» 4

Number of anti american attitudes encountered ---» 0

Number of pro islamic extermist pro jihad mozambiquans ----» 0

Qual e a Çena????

lesson learned

He was the third vistor that day, "Acença" rousing myself from myn afternoon routine that I was trying, invain, to begin. "Acença" this time a little louder. "Um momento" retying the knot of my capulana, I have taken to changing out of my work clothes immediatly upon returning home. Whne I pushed open the screen door I was greate4d by the wide toothed smile of Davis, he looked like a sweet toothed diabetic in a candy store, gratifying a guilty satisfactrion. Davis is one of my favorite students, amibtions, intelligent, kind, most accurately likene d to a sponge - not the kind that is pilled and disengrated after one too many uses on stubbor pots and pans, but rather freshly unwrapped from its protective covering ready to absoard everything and take on the world. Offcourse his boyhood innocence, as I would have hoped, did not prevent the seeminly inevitable destination of all my friendships with men here. (I've tried to explain the meaning of platonic realtionships but the result leads me to believe that I am a complete failure as a teacher) Anyway, the story of Davis.

Two weeks ago I received a letter, slid under my front door, that had my name eloborately written on the front, the style of writing was foreshadowing for its fantasticaly dramãtic contents, confessions of undying love, and better yet a desire to present me to his parents as his esposa. While the formaily of the courtship was briefly flattering. His 'heartfelt' words only seemed to emphasize our cultural differences, further cementing my identity as Muzungo. I mean he doesn't even know my last name!

After a grueling conversation where he sate endearingly naive, his dark tear stained skin gleaming, as I explianed, in suprising clear portuguese, my idea of a student-teacher relationships, which is at most friendship. Then I had to dissuade him from switching schools and ensure him that he was not a disgrace to his parents.. (sounds like a plot to a spanish soap oprea) I couldnot help but take a bit of hpity on this boy, so fI left my hardline approach that has piereced the parade of pompous illintenioned suitors in the past, instead I found a honey coated tone to coax this impressionable student to understand the value of frindship. The whole ordeal was so dramatic, I had to stifile my laughter, it was as if i was breaking up with a long term boyfriend, but inforn t of me sat a 19 year old boy who i have known for 3 weeks... a bit absurd but i asure ~you this is just one of countlessstories female PCVs can recant.

So yes two weeks later was at my doorstep, per my request (as we had settled in to a comfortable friendship) to h~elp teach me portuguese. We began the lesson, but w~hen conversation lulled, and his material had run out, I accepted an invitation to visit a friend of his. The day was crisp reminscient of Vermont o fall, uincharistic for Moz, >I half expected to see mpale trees abalze and hear the whistle of a soccer refferee. (Instead I saw Mozambiquan~s bundled up in jackets, sporting varios types of hats, mind you it was a crisp 70 degrees!) Davis leading the way we turned lefot out of my house, with Zua in toe. We exchange the usual compliments with Donna Arminda, a sugar plum woman whoswe breast sag close to her belly button, the left starp of her dress is perpetually sliding down her thick arm, giving her a disheveled but matrinely look. Shem beamed and tried out her newly aprendou English greating, "good morning" Although it was afternoon I liet is slide, allowing my admiration to take precent over 'the grammar stickler in me' I am utterly impressed with this woman, rearing 4 children, working during the day, and continuing school at night ( I often see her studying by candle light) The womans day starts at 5 and ends at 11. Her situation is not unique the woman here have a resolute strength that I can only hope ot emulate after 2 years.

Next David and I passed a line of corn- every avaliobale space is untilized for subsistence farming, imagine suburban houses whose property is defined by corn husks and rice patties. The joys of practicality! Follwing the road out of Barro Seish exchanging compliments iun Portuguese and sena, we vered right at a small caminho, so small i had nver noticed it before, weaving are way through backyards as we buired deeper into this unchartered territory. Cement houses grew scarce, there is no order here, mud and caniço houses built in the same system that defines chaos. We arrive unbeknowest to me, at a 2 room half wood half cement house, a porch supported by discarded timber and covered with scraps of metal. Strangely radiated a homely feeling...

We were greatred timidly, I could tell they were wondeing what a whie girl was doing at their humble home, by a young mother laying on an esteara with her 3 children, the oldest was playing with the baby. Behind runing loses were goats, ducks, and chickens, my first thoug was this family is well off to have such an array of livestalk. An older woman, her face creased with lines thast indicated years of hard work and laughter. She sat akwardly upon a rickidy chair- waring a praire style dress, 2 sizes too big, with a rip in the seam that exposed her powerful upper arm. Her smile was mischevous, maybe it ws the missing front teeth? We began bater popa in portugeues- asking if Nelso was there... Then allof of a sudden with a gleam in her eye, the old woman belts out.
"He has gone to the neighbors to get medicine" in PERFECT English! I was bewildered, stunned, all i could do was whisper "?Como?" Did I just hear english from a woman who i was suprised she s~poke portugues.

She was born in MOz- but her husband was killed by RENAMO during the war. She fled with her children to zimbabe, they live hand to mouth, literaly eating what they had the capacity to grow. But this woman was more than a survivor she quickly7 learned English and got a job ina small bar, making enough to suport her family. She returned to MOçcambique becasue she recieved a small piece of land (how remains unclear) anbd now is staying with her borthers first wifes family, (families homes are an open door, no questions aske, no matter how distant the relations~)

We sat and chit chatted, a mixture of English Portuguese and Shona, dialect of descended from Bantu tribes near zimbabwae. (Well i only partcipated in the English portuguese part).-

I walked away from that conversation awe struck. I have only a cliche to offer... never judge a book by its cover.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

"Teacher Chelsea"

Its official i am a teacher... one month of teaching i think cements my new identity, and if i ever feel insecure about my status, all i need to do is walk out my door and i am greeted by a chorous of voices ranging for the pre pubscent shriek to a fully developed baritone, all saying the same thing "TEACHER", off course lets not sugar coat it, I also hear Mazungo, which means whitey or foreigner. I havent come up with a witty unoffensive response to that one, suprising, i know, im open to suggestions.

So i have found myself shying away for the blogs, feeling insecure in my ablity to capture my feelings and find the right words to do justice to this experience. Also i find it difficult to differniate what is important to talk about. Everything in my life has become so routine, its difficultfor me to remeber that this is not the reality, not even close, to the life's of my friends and family in the states. But I suppose the first step to feeling at home, is falling into a routine, so i guess, what i mean to say, is im progressing. But of course my routnine in Moz. is punctuated by the frequent lack of necsities.. ie i can not count on anytthing, i wake up each morning hoping that the water will run, and we wil lhave electricity... always keeps me on my toes. the frequent deprivation is not a complaint, rather i see it as a way to remeber the simplicity of life, and never to take thins for granted, and off course the opposing emotion comes hand in hand-- im grateful for each shower i take and cup of tea i drink. (Update I have given up coffee, ive been over 5 months with out it! if you told me a year ago, when i was working on the MoveOn campaign I could survive a day without 5 cups of coffee i would have laughed at you, with my latte in hand).

I've been struggeling with images of children in my village. They live in mud houses with out electricity, they wake up early to sweep the yard, carry 25 lbs of water on their 6 year old heads. They are with out toys or material possessions. But somehow my attention is always brought to their bright shinning eyes that radiate with a simple joy of life. I would like to think that its not that I lack compassion but rather, have changed the framework, the standards, in which i validate life.

I recently wrote this in my journal "With bare dirty feet, skinny bodies clad in clothese two sizes to big or two sizes to small, they run through the streets, dig through my trash pit, yelling in joy, using mother nature as their toy chest, this snap shot of children in my village has never envoked a feeling of neglect and pity, but rather reminded me of the power of generosity, love, and care."

A little more about school:

To envision my school, think of a prarie style house... the classrooms are all next to each other in a long row, 18 classrooms. but the hallway is outside, the doors open up to a veranda type thing that stretches the length of the building. Ie i have to go outside to get to my next classroom, although it helps keep the rooms cool, also makes it painfully easy for kids to cut class.

I arrive at school at 6:45, all the students line up infronot of the teachers, the teachers stand on the elevated veranda, and they sing the national anthem, no joke the anthem is literally 10 minutes long, and if the asst. principle isnt satisfied the first time they sing it agian! this country does not like formality... then they students mosey, walking quickly doesn\t exist here, to the classroom. first thing i do is call roll, easy you would think, but when you have 70 students, and you cant pronounce their names, it proves more difficult, and time consuming. its my nightmare the 10 minute attendance... so now we're 15 minutes into class time.

As for the actualy teaching i love it! Students think im crazy, I make the stand up, act out vocab words, bring in endless props, visual aids exc. My latest trick is using a hacky sack. when i want a student to answer a question in throught the hacky sack at them, saves time, and keeps everyone engaged and on there toes. Over all im enjoying my job. feels good to like what your doing. thats for sure.

Hard Knock Life... the good the bad the ugly.

1. zua, my puppy, proudly brings home different parts of animal carcus everyday, and deposits them at my feet like a proud daughter. The most revolting was an unidentfiable tuft of hairy skin, that smelled as if it had been rotting in the hot african sun for days (which it probably has)

2. I have had 4 ant infestions--- woken up with little ants crawling all over my body-- in the past two weeks. Try getting rid of a creepy crawly feeling and going back to sleep after that one.

3. Its been raining here for the past 3 days, and when in rains in Moz. life stops. Its like a killer snow storm in NYC. Its a liscense to stay in your house and do nothing, and you dont even have to call to break plans, its expected. beautiful!