The last two weeks have been quite busy. The last two weeks were what Peace Corps Mozambique calls Phase Two. During phase two we travel to our future sites for two weeks to begin integrating and getting to know our communities. Before going to our sites, we had our supervisor's conference where we met our supervisors that we'll be working with over the next two years. There were two days worth of sessions on various topics. On the final night, we went to Sete Sabores where we watched the lunar eclipse, ate, hung out, and met other volunteers from the Nampula area. Later that night, we returned to the hotel where I enjoyed one last hot shower.
The next morning, I awoke, finished packing, and had a delicious breakfast at the hotel. By this time, most people had already left, but there were a few of us who hung out in the lobby talking and playing cards while waiting for our rides. One by one we all said our goodbyes and headed out for our sites. This would be the first time in over two months I didn't see some people on a daily basis. My site is only about three hours away from Nampula City, the provincial capital, in a private car. My supervisor at the conference was the district director so he had his own car that we used to get to site. Running on very little sleep, I constantly was dozing off and trying to keep my eyes open. However, when I was able to keep them open, the scenery was beautiful as we passed by many mountains. My supervisor stopped several times along the way to buy locally grown fruits and vegetables on the side of the road. Each time, the car was instantly surrounded by vendors wanting us to buy their food. My site is right on EN8, a major road running east and west that spans the entire province of Nampula. The road between Nampula City and Malema is paved, but the pavement ends at my site. Just over three hours later, we arrived at my future home for the next two years.
We find my foster pai who leads me to the house. I'm greeted by four siblings, two cousins, and my foster mãe. A few minutes later, my two education sitemates showed up and greeted me. Later that day, I walked around town a little bit and watched the local neighborhood kids play soccer. On Sunday, I went to church with my pai while my mãe was at work and spent the day at home with family.
On the first Monday, I went to the hospital at 7 am where I introduced myself, met coworkers, and got a tour of the hospital. Around lunchtime, I went home to have lunch and spend the rest of the day walking around town and getting to know my foster family better. This would become my routine for the weekdays during the two weeks of phase two. Throughout the two weeks, I met various chefes (bosses) of the community, learned more about what I'll be doing at the hospital, learned about the local culture and language, visited a secondary school, saw my future house and much more. Overall, it was a good two weeks to give me a glimpse into the next two years.
Early last Friday, I awoke at 4:30 am to finish packing and take some stuff to my future house. I then ate some delicious egg sandwiches my mãe prepared before going to catch a chapa to Nampula City. After nearly three hours of waiting for the chapa to fill up, I was on my way to Nampula City. About four hours later, I was reunited with my fellow Nampula volunteers! We went to a Chinese restaurant for lunch then some of us got ice cream and milkshakes. It was then time to head to the airport to fly to Maputo. After a short one hour delay (can't complain about a one hour delay here) we were off to Maputo. Once in Maputo we took a short taxi ride to the hotel and got checked into the hotel around midnight.
Myself along with a few other volunteers went to a local market/restaurant/bar where we met up with a previous cohort of volunteers who were in town for their mid-service conference. Around 2:30 am it was time to leave. Most of the group went back to the hotel but a handful wanted to go to a club to dance. At this point, I had been up for nearly 24 hours and I was ready to take a hot shower and go to bed. However, after some peer pressure from my roommate and the others, I agreed to go along with them. The next thing I know the sun is rising and its 6:30 am. We finally call it a night (or morning?) and go back to the hotel where breakfast is starting to be served. We scarfed down some food before going to bed...for one hour.
It's now Saturday and we have to return to the training village. After one more hot shower, we pack our bags and check out of the hotel. A short walk from the hotel we enjoyed smoothies, BBQ burgers, and donuts. When you're in Maputo or a big city you have to take advantage of the food you can't get elsewhere. We leave Maputo around 3 pm and get back around 5 pm. I dropped my bags off at home and unpacked a little bit before meeting up with other volunteers at a local restaurant that serves delicious pork! After licking my fingers clean, I return home to be reunited with my host family. We talked about my visit and caught up on everything that's happened the last two weeks. After a quick bucket bath and dinner, I call it a night and am finally ready to get some sleep!
We are now entering week 11 of training...I have no idea where the time has gone. We have just two and a half weeks left until we swear in on August 29th and become official Peace Corps Volunteers.