Friday, December 6, 2013

O Amigo é o Outro Eu

"O segredo da vida é amizade. O amigo é o outro 'eu'."

This person...
...drives me crazy.
...saves me from going crazy. my culture-question go-to person

...makes me crack up. my motivation for going to work every Tuesday and Thursday. the toughest, most bad-ass
Mozambican woman I know.
...can snap me out of a bad mood.

...inspires me to be more creative and philosophical.

No words necessary.

"The secret to life is friendship. The friend is the other 'I'."

Thursday, December 5, 2013

When you are feeling small...

...just keep reaching, and eventually your feet will reach the pedals.

Sunday, December 1, 2013

What can I Say?

"what can I say"

It's been crazy.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Benefits of Nosy Neighbors #2

I found myself in the bathroom yet again (seems to be a recurring theme, doesn’t it?), this time to take a bucket bath (something that should be recurring). The front door of my house was wide open, as it always is. In this community, it would be unfathomably rude to close the door while I was in the house, unless it’s bedtime.

Anyway, I had already sudsed up when I perceived – I wasn’t sure if I had actually seen it – a dark form move past a gaping hole in the door. My heart jumped. Do I calmly finish my bath, or put my towel on and investigate – and risk confronting a burglar in just my towel? Captain Underpants would have known what to do, but crime scenes in Mozambique are not his priority.

Snippets of my neighbors’ conversation floated into my bucketbathroom.

“murmur murmur went into the house!”

“mumble murmur tee hee”

“she’s taking a bath murmur”

“WHAT?” I yelled from my non-vantage point.

“A chicken just walked into your house!”

I saw a colorful form briefly flash through all the holes in my door, not just the ones low to the ground like the first shadow. I heard a small scuffle and then a loud, protesting squawking. The colors went by my door again, in the other direction, and the squawking diminished in volume.

I rinsed off my suds layer in peace.

Friday, November 29, 2013

Benefits of Nosy Neighbors #1

One day I went into the bathroom just like any other day. When I tried to leave again, I saw that something was wrong. The door latch, which is on the outside of the door for some reason (so you can play a prank on someone in the bathroom??), had slid over the hook when I closed the door. The door had locked itself, and the lock and I were on opposite sides of the door.

“SISINIA!” I bellowed through the crack in the door. Our houses sit facing each other, our porches separated by just ten feet of clay-dirt yard.

“WHAT IS IT?” Luckily Sisinia was standing outside her house.

“Come here! No, here! Inside the house! I’m here! Walk this way! Come to the bathroom door!” When I could see her through the cracks in the wood, I jiggled the door to show her my predicament.

She, like any good friend, burst out laughing.

“I am not going to let you out!”

Epilogue: She let me out. I was, after all, her sole provider of hot chocolate and tampons.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Frequently Asked Questions

Oh my gosh. Was it just amazing?

No. One volunteer described Peace Corps as “learning to manage a series of disappointments.” This is quite accurate.

So, how was it then?

How were the past two years of your life?

Well, what was it like?

Let’s sit down for a two-hour coffee, and I’ll tell you about the first day.

What are your plans for after?

Eat a toasted everything bagel with cream cheese.

Are you taking a COS (Close-of-Service) trip?

Yes! Since I just happen to be flying halfway across the world anyway, I’m going to stop in France to relearn Spanish with this awesome dude: 

then I’ll hop over to England to relearn English with this awesome dude:

 then I’ll be learning Italian with these awesome dudes:

Wednesday, November 27, 2013


On September 27th, 2013, the very first day of Peace Corps Steph, they asked us to complete the following sentence:

"I will feel successful as a volunteer when..."

and other similar questions that make some people reflect and other people roll their eyes.

I wrote:

I will feel successful as a volunteer when...
1. I can understand Portuguese
2. I feel comfortable in front of a class
3. I make a friend

Two years later, they are still asking us those same eye-rolling questions. But it's good to reflect sometimes, so I'll show you my answer to one of the most recent ones, which was:

"List your accomplishments and lessons learned."

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Technical Difficulties

Dear my dear Readers,

Due to a couple small recent inconveniences such as "no electricity" and "last-minute travel plan changes" I now have only 19 minutes of charge left on my computer with no certainty as to when I'll be able to charge it again, thus interrupting the flow of blog posts that I had going.

Bear with me and check back again next week!


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Africa Moments

There are three distinct types of Africa Moments.

1. The How Did I Get Here Moment: You’re sitting in the back of a chapa, the wind is whipping your hair, and you’re thinking, how did I end up here? You start to reflect on your life, you want to ponder deep questions, meanwhile a chicken is sitting on your foot and there’s a large breast staring at you; its owner hasn’t put it back yet after the baby drank its fill. It’s a moment when you suddenly feel nostalgic for the present. 

2. The Volunteer Embarrassing Story Exchange Moment: You’re talking with other volunteers about the time you missed the hole in the pit latrine, or had such bad stomach problems that you pooped in your pants, and everyone sighs and shakes their head and says, “oh, Mozambique” or “oh, Peace Corps,” because they know it’s happened to them too, even if they don’t want to admit it.

3. The Improvise with What You’ve Got Moment: You’re helping your neighbor extend the power line from the street to their house by just exposing the wires and wrapping another wire around it. One Mozambican looks at the rickety and illegal set-up – which sometimes even includes vines - and turns to another and says, sometimes, in English, “This is Africa.”

Friday, November 15, 2013

Food Seasons

Last year I never made real guacamole, because avocado season begins right when tomato season ends. The chart below shows which foods you may find in Nauela, according to which month you decide to visit.

Mandioca (cassava root)


salty dried fish

my new favorite food

unusual way for a fruit to grow


2 mets each

they're also good mixed with a spoonful of sugar
a rare taste of protein
partly satisfies my craving for raw vegetables

putting groceries away after my most
successful trip to the market ever.