Wednesday, November 24, 2010

My New Home - It's Official!

So it is now official, I am going to be living in a town called Gurue
(pronounced goo-roo-ay) in Zambezia province in the north of
Mozambique. Gurue is in the northwest section of Zambezia, nearer to
Malawi and the province of Niassa. Zambezia is the second most
populous province and the HIV/AIDS prevalence is 13% (for all of
Mozambique, it is 11.5% in comparison with less than 1% in the US).
According to everyone who I have told where I am going to live, Gurue
is absolutely beautiful: it is surrounded by mountains, making it a
lush, green kind of temperate microclimate that is one of the coolest
and rainiest in the whole country. Dating back to Portuguese times,
Gurue is a major exporter of tea and is almost entirely tea
plantations. There is also great hiking in the area, with the highest
peaks in the country. Tea and hiking: two of my favorite things so I
am set.

I am going to be living with a girl from last year’s training group
and will have a site-mate that is a health volunteer also from last
year’s group. Two of my friends actually live the next town over
(about 4-5 hours) so I am happy about that as well. I am most likely
going to be teaching 11-12th grade English and computers. I am happy
to be teaching the older grades since my school has 6000 students and
the classes for 8-10th grades have over 120 students per class whereas
11-12th grades have closer 70 or 80 (there is a National Exam after
grade 10 that you have to pass to continue on to 11th grade, so
inevitably, there is a large drop-off in enrolled students for 11th
and 12th grades). And teaching computers will be cool as well because
I will get to teach in Portuguese and these technical skills are
totally beneficial and useful for the students. If they know
computers, they have better prospects for getting a job. Additionally,
they don’t have computers in their home, so they are mostly super
excited at the prospect of using them at school. Who knew I would ever
be considered qualified to impart official knowledge about computers
to anyone? But, as with everything in Mozambique, my teaching
assignment could change a million times before the first day of school
in February.

Overall, I am definitely happy with and excited about my site
placement. I am just about ready to get a move on and move in next
week. We are finishing up Model School and have started having
language lessons in the local language of our regions, which for me is
Elomwe. Mostly all we have left of training is a Thanksgiving potluck,
a big festa (party) with all the host families, our final Portuguese
oral language test, World Aids Day activities, and some last
administrative and medical sessions. Then we swear in next Friday,
December 3 at the US ambassadors house (it will be televised here!!)
and I leave Namaacha for good and fly to a conference with all the
other North volunteers that weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!


  1. Glad to hear you feel good about your placement Annie...Our classrooms of 25 11th-12th graders are intimidating so I can't imagine that many students! You are my hero!


    And I hope you have a boa festa :)

  3. I LOVE reading your blog. I'm glad you are being placed in a pretty place with good tea. Good luck with your class!!!

  4. Hi Annie,
    I am a friend of your Aunt Ruthies, my name is Karen Steckler. I posted a picture of Ruthie and me taken in New York a few years ago.
    Your blog is terrific and my husband, Don, and I enjoy every posting. What an adventure!
    The internet is a wonderful way to follow what you are doing in a very timely manner, you do not seem quite so far away.
    Happy New Year to you!!
    p.s. I sent you an e-mail but I realized that you may not have received it since I sent it by signing into the blog -- who knows where it is! Bye