Tuesday, September 20, 2011

One Year (Almost)

As of today, I have been in Mozambique about 1 week less than one year. Weird.

But it has been a (mostly) positive experience, so I thought I would highlight the top 25 things that have made it so and that generally get me through the weeks.

Essentially, this is a compilation of all the things that scream “Moz” for me and that, after a year, I think it would be hard to live without.

1. Sampling one fried dough ball from each of the lady vendors that are in a row
2. The security given by mosquito nets (nothing can touch you! Whether or not this is true, it’s how I feel)
3. Sitting and people watching as a principal form of recreation
4. Recycling beer and soda bottles (you must bring an empty one to take away a full one)
5. The joy and cheers throughout the neighborhood brought on by the return of electricity after a power outage
6. The powerful, no matter how fleeting, hope that the sound of a fast moving car in the distance brings when waiting to essentially hitchhike
7. Buying 5 mangoes for a penny
8. Buying 5 avocados for a dime
9. The deafening yet awe-inspiring sound of rain on a tin roof
10. “We will never forget this, Teacher” and other funny and endearing things my students say
11. Manica Beer (Mozambique’s King of Beers)
12. All-Gold Ketchup (as close to Heinz as we can get here, and a savior of Mozambique’s notoriously soggy fried potatoes)
13. Magnificent sunrises and sunsets over the mountains
14. Southern hemisphere star constellations
15. Breathtaking scenery at every turn
16. Trucks that seem to be defying physics with such heavy loads of cargo and people, old motors, and drastically steep inclines
17. Being able to say anything I want in English and be relatively certain no one around me understands
18. Being greeted “Good morning, Teacher” at 5pm
19. Bejias (essentially Mozambican falafel)
20. Matapa (delicious mush of greens served over rice or xima)
21. The ingenuity of the toys the kids make for themselves out of trash
22. The exact maneuvering required to move two 20 liter water containers in order to not spill it all on the floor (and after a few hours in the water line, this is a most heart-wrenching experience, I know firsthand)
23. Attempting to take pride in the fact that I am always giving people around me a good laugh at the crazy things I always do
24. The Mozambican sky (I wish I were an artist so that I could, however vainly, attempt to capture it. But alas, I am not. And my camera is wholly incapable of seizing an apt frame)
25. The pre-K I am essentially running from my porch, as all the neighborhood kids come and draw me pictures everyday