Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Miss America- What Do We Miss from America?

A few weekends ago, we hosted some other volunteers for the weekend. We woke up Saturday morning to the startling surprise that someone had cut the mosquito netting on our window, reached through the bars, and stolen exactly 5 iPods and 2 sets of iPod speakers, that we had, admittedly, rather stupidly left on the table under the window. But still, there were people sleeping on the floor in this, the living room, highlighting the lidrão’s (thief’s) tremendous gall. Furthermore, this was the first time we had ever moved the table to that spot. Thus, the thief was conceivably watching our house until we went to bed so he could commit this crime. Creepy. But, we all decided if we had to have our iPods stolen, we would rather it have been done in this manner so as to avoid any confrontation that could have ended a lot worse. But also, needless to say, the rest of the weekend, and my life through now, have been quite music-less.

The theme of the weekend was Miss America, dress as something or someone you miss from America. Just to demonstrate the types of things Peace Corps Volunteers pine for, the costumes included: a traffic guard signifying pedestrian-right-of-way (though pedestrians compose the vast majority of Mozambican traffic, the bigger vehicle always has the right of way here), the food network (me!), family members, live music, microbrews, spayed and neutered pets (my friend’s dog recently gave birth to her litter of puppies my friend’s very BED), the 80s and 90s, and theatre. Other too abstract of options that I wished I could have been but didn’t quite no how to go about transforming into a costume: critical thinking and problem solving skills, being called by my name and not “Hello my sista,” punctuality, and the ability to say what I truly would like to say. Oh, and the unanimous decision was also that we missed the ostensible ability to replace stolen electronics quickly and effectively.

I have recently begun planning a science fair at my school. I have about 10 kids who are doing experiments to be judged at our local fair and the winners will go on to compete at provincial and potentially even national fairs that other Peace Corps Volunteers and Mozambican teachers are putting on. One 10th grade girl told me she wanted to make charcoal out of sugar but she needed sulfuric acid. Needless to say, I will do my darndest to get that for her, though I honestly have no idea how to help her realize her project. Because, I’m an English teacher. So here I am, using my English literature degree to help high-schoolers do science experiments. But I do honestly believe that providing the students with a forum and outlet to think critically, independently, and above all creatively is an extremely rare occurrence here and thus more than worth my time. Thank you Redwood Heights Elementary for beating the scientific method into me every year.

An update on furniture:
-Our wicker couch recently broke and despite our best efforts, we have been unable to fix it. Now, in a country without bulky waste pick-up or the dump, we are currently unsure of how to dispose of it. And thus it remains rather sadly and forlorn in our house. We are open to suggestions for disposal.
-I recently bought a new mattress in the (now failed) hopes that this would ameliorate my Mozambique-induced insomnia. Now one of my favorite Mozambican memories will always be paying a guy less than 75cents to carry it on his head for the 20minute walk to my house.

An update on seasonal produce:
-It is now tangerine season. And no, I have come to the realization that there is definitely not a maximum to the number of tangerines that one can appropriately consume in one day. Addiction #1.
-And roasted peanuts have arrived in Gurué. Addiction #2.

An update on Mozambican “white” noise:
-One of the most apparent differences to me between where I lived in training and where I live now has been that the neighborhood that surrounds my house I have been living in for the past 6 months did not have a single rooster. That is, until last week. And now I believe there are like 7. I swear, until I moved to Mozambique, I didn’t realize that roosters didn’t just crow once when the sun came up like they do in movies and children’s books. Any time of day or night is apparently prime time for rooster crowing. Who knew?

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I loved this post!!! I take so much for granted these days. Your English lit degree has also bestowed you with an uncanny ability to put complex feelings and emotions into words. Keep us posted on the other science fair projects I am very curious as to what experiments the kids will come up with. Good Luck with the Sulfuric Acid...I have a fortuitous feeling you will some how (strangely and miraculously) be able to get your hands on it just because it seems so impossible (How would you get your hands on some in the US?!?!). Keep up the good work Tigs!!!