A day full of surprises and emotions!
On Friday, after visiting local hospitals and eating lunch, it was time to receive the first news of the day...our most recent language exam results. In order to be eligible to swear in and serve, you must meet a certain level in Portuguese so they have periodic oral exams to monitor progress and adjust language groups. In addition to this, we anxiously waited to hear where we would be spending the next two years. We gathered together outside the HUB (training center) where staff had drawn a chalk map of Mozambique on the ground with all of our future sites. Our fate was held in a brown sealed envelope that was handed out by Peace Corps staff. After receiving our envelopes we circled around the map before all opening our envelopes at the same time. At this time, we all found and stood on our sites on the map to get a visual representation of where everyone is going to be. The joy, nervousness, excitement, and many other emotions filled the HUB. We then enjoyed some delicious cakes. Current Peace Corps Volunteers say "eat the cake" because it'll be the best cake you eat while in Mozambique (most cakes here don't have as much flavor as in the States).
Where am I moving to?
It's official. After swearing in on August 29th, I will be moving north to a village in the Macubela district of Zambezia province. I will be living and working in a small community about 3 miles from the beach! There are a ton of palm trees, limitless seafood options, and I'm also excited to be in a hot area (I've worn my winter coat several times so far down here in the south). This is a brand new site that I will be opening so there a ton of unknowns that only the future will tell. My future home is currently undergoing final improvements and modifications. From the information I've received thus far, it's a beautiful house, in a beautiful area, and I'll have room for visitors 😉
What will I be doing?
I will be working with the local health center which is just a short 5-minute walk from my house. In addition, I will be working with Friends in Global Health, an international non-governmental organization (INGO) which is an affiliate agency of Vanderbilt University Medical Center. I will primarily be working with HIV/AIDS/Tuberculosis and malaria but will also have secondary projects (youth groups, teaching English, science fair, etc.). Zambezia has the second highest malaria rate in Mozambique so there will be a ton of work.
We are continuing training here for most of July. In the coming weeks, we will also begin to learn the basics of the local language(s) of our communities. While Portuguese is the official language, there are a ton of local languages which many Mozambicans use as their first language. Towards the end of the month, I will fly to the north with the other northern trainees for a supervisors conference. After the conference, we will all go to our future sites for about a week and a half where we will get to know our site, counterparts, community, work, etc. In mid-August, we will return to Namaacha for phase 3 of training before swearing-in on August, 29th.
Staying in contact
Currently, WhatsApp is still the best way to stay in contact. As long as I have cell service (there have been outages a couple days so far), I will receive your message. I check my email and Facebook as often as possible but not as frequently as when living in the US.
As far as mail and care packages, my address will eventually change since I'll be in the north but my current address below will be good for like the next month or so. From what we've heard, flat rate USPS is usually the best and most cost-efficient method to ship stuff.
Taylor Keen, PCV
Corpo da Paz / U.S. Peace Corps
Avenida Zimbabwe 345
- Mail typically takes four to six weeks to arrive
- Number letters so I know if I missed a letter
- It’s recommended to draw crosses or religious pictures on care packages in order to decrease the probability of them getting stolen