Saturday, August 14, 2010

Little Big World

It's not something I love to talk about with people, though I'm sure it could have easily been deciphered by the naked ear back then. I was unhappy (to say the least), positively homesick to the point of hopelessness and in an entirely distraught frame of mind during training. That's not to say that Pre-service Training life was awful, simply that I was too buried in a proverbial pile of poo to grasp the beauty of what was blossoming around me. In turn, because of how difficult the conception of my Mozambican life was, I found it too jarring to cope with my last visit to Maputo. I had partaken in a stakeholder's workshop last month and as was waiting for my return flight, standing over the tarmac watching the sun fall behind the horizon and my plane to arrive, I lost it. It was at that spot ten months ago that my haggard self initially stepped onto African soil and the memory of how terrified and unsure I truly was all came flooding back to me. That was last month. This month, I was back in Maputo again for PSN (Peer Support Network) training and, well, life has this uncanny ability to surprise me sometimes. Several days ago, I found myself walking from the hotel/conference center to the Peace Corps office, never having done it before. I was getting hit by the wind from the bay and a little sweaty from the walk up the hill. A cluster of high-rises clung to the cliffs up ahead and I could see them as I walked past the UNHCR complex and the German Embassy. I stopped, mid-stride, and probably confused bystanders. "Holy crap, I've come a long way." I was a tiny girl engulfed in a cement jungle, but for that brief treck ascending the ramp to Av. Julius Nyere from Avenida Marginal, I was a grown-up. I owned that quadrant of the capital if not for eternity than for at least the 20 minutes it took to arrive at Point B. But what I own for much longer is redemption for the anguish I had so heartily felt months and months ago. Whew, now that that's outta the way, let's chat a bit about recent happenings, shall we? As I mentioned earlier, I was chosen to be a PSN member, meaning I'm a go-to gal for fellow volunteers needing a shoulder to cry on or important life advice such as how to cook rice or what the protocol is for not giving away phone numbers to strangers. There's a great group of people doing it this year, now if only that damn fiber optic cable under the ocean would fix itself, calling will be a cinch. Speaking of the ocean, I live right by one, remember? Well, with that comes much unpredictability. Like whales. And sometimes they beach themselves next to resort hotels. Yes, last week Pemba had its very own behemoth wash up on shore, only to be greeted by what was described to me as a swarm of locals wanting a piece of it. I was not here to see it, but I believe it was already DOA. I was also told that not a single piece of bone remained while the blubber and meat were still being divided and parceled out. Whale bones have many magical and curative properties, so my guess is that the traditional medicine men snatched them up quickly. How crazy! A beached whale down the road from me! In other news, we in country are all so very excited for the new batch of trainees to come in October, as well as mark our one year anniversary of arrival here in the 'Bique. Also crazy, to think of having been here one whole year, huh?

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