Wednesday, April 08, 2009

For my last class of "Visual Education," we went on a field trip.

We sat in this same field and drew landscapes.

Drawing from life was a totally new experience for my students.

Then, the wonderful people from Book Aid
sent my art club a care package.
(Photo by Chase Nye)

Stuffed full of drawing resources and art books.
(Photo by Chase Nye)

National Geographic Magazines for drawing references.
(Photo by Chase Nye)

I had been showing my art students a 2x4in jpeg
of "Guernica" for months.
(Photo by Chase Nye)

Now, they can see all of the pain, energy, and details of the painting.
(Photo by Chase Nye)

And, see photographs of what Africa is really like.
(Photo by Chase Nye)

Thank you Peggy, Thank you Book Aid.
(Photo by Chase Nye)

I returned to Inhamussua for some basketball and burrito action.
(Photo by Lauren Fox)

And, I sat the bench for the first quarter. Some things never change.
(Photo by Lauren Fox)

Chase demonstrated his amazing defensive skills.
(Photo by Lauren Fox)

And, he allowed Homoine to sweep us up in the first 15 mintues.
(Photo by Lauren Fox)

So, I got in and began yelling at everyone on the court.
(Photo by Lauren Fox)

Which changed very little for Team Inhamussua.
(Photo by Lauren Fox)

At least we had a beautiful view.
(Photo by Lauren Fox)

Chase bullied the other team.
(Photo by Lauren Fox)

While I flew.
(Photo by Lauren Fox)

And, I gracefully out-maneuvered them.
(Photo by Lauren Fox)

Our teammates took out of control shots and played like madmen.
So, we lost.
(Photo by Lauren Fox)

The end of the first trimester has already come to an end in Mozambique. And, what an end we have had. I returned from the Peace Corp Regional Conference to a stack of over 400 tests and the urgency of writing the final English Language exam. The following week was fairly relaxed since it mostly involved taking away the exams of students while controlling first trimester finals. After spending the week prying away tests, sending away tardy students, and giving a lecture on landscapes, I sat down in the school office to take a look at the ninth grade English Language final exams. As my students' inability to correctly conjugate the verb "to like" in present simple tense had just about taken away any morale I had, the Peace Corps Safety and Security Officer, Alfredo, sent out a bulk text message warning us to be on alert because a cyclone was on its way to Inhambane Province. I wrote this off as Peace Corp being cautious and started working on a grant proposal to construct benches around my school's gymnasium.

I had barely elaborated the quote the architects had given us when Chase gave me a call asking if I had received the warning. He managed to get me all work up about the urgency of the alert, recalling that the text message had said for us to consolidate immediately in Xai-Xai, a detail I had misinterpreted. So, we planned to meet in two hours, I gathered my work and walked home to start packing.

And pack I did. I was all too prepared for a cyclone to hit. I took everything off the floor, stood my mattress upright, put empty pots in the areas prone to leaking, and took a bag full of underwear, shorts, swimming trunks, jeans, a sweatshirt, a raincoat, umbrella, computer, external hard-drives, lesson plans, Easter treats, and food for dinner. After stuffing my bag full of everything, I locked up the iron-grated door that leads to my room, locked all the dead-bolts to my door, and was about to lock my final iron-grated door outside my house when I got another text message from Alfredo instructing us to wait until tomorrow to leave. I was furious! So, I called Alfredo making sure it was not better to leave immediately and was, disappointingly, told, "No."

But, the lack of Peace Corp hotel reservations was not about to send me back inside my cyclone-proof home. I was ready for the road. So, I headed towards the EN1 and began to hitch hike to Maxixe. While on the road, waiting for my first ride, Chase called me and talked me out of going to Xai-Xai that evening. Instead, the decision was made that Chase would come north to Maxixe (Xai-Xai is south 325 km) and I would play basketball. In truth, I had forgotten the vegetables and beans for dinner and was heading back home anyways. So, I played basketball and Chase eventually showed up to a warm plate of eggs and toast...and Pepperidge Farm cookies. The following morning, we took our time getting ready to leave and, as we were walking out of the front door, we got a text message to stay home. What urgency was it that made me stop the work I was doing, prepare my house for disaster, and then wait a night to leave? This time, I was not frustrated. In fact, I was happy because, now, I could continue with my previous plans for the weekend.

And, it was quite the productive weekend! Chase, with little help from me, made me a sitting toilet out of clay bricks, cement, and a plastic toilet seat, I learned how to work with cement and we made stepping stones to my bathroom, and we sent in grant proposals to the United States Embassy.

The following week was a bit of a disappointment after cramming in so many extra-curricular activities. I had neglected my disappointing tests and, consequently, was up past midnight correcting them until Thursday. But, after correcting and logging tests, taking my students on my first field trip, and correcting the art work from the year, I was free to high-tail it to Inhamussua for a weekend full of basketball and burritos.

Inhamussua played Homoine, the district champions, in a brutal game of poorly played, fast-paced, 4 quarter, refereed basketball. It was particularly interesting for me because the games in Massinga are typically half-court, relaxed, referee-less, and decently, if not well, played. In the bush, however, there are a whole new set of rules and skill levels, which, forced me to run constantly and Chase to get violent. The highlight for me was in the fourth quarter when I made two consecutive long-ranged field goals and then ran away screaming "Mali muho mikova!?!?," or "How much do the bananas cost!?!?" The crowd went wild, but the excitement was short lived. Within the next five minutes, my calf muscles began cramping and, after an incredible attempt at full-court press, I was squirming around on the ground attempting to get my muscles back into place. I thought that after stretching them out a bit I would be fine, however, a simple jump shot proved me wrong and sent me crawling off the court. In the end, we only lost by 5.

And that has been my life for the past few weeks; grading exams, basketball, and doing secretarial work for the school. Most importanly, we now officially have "Banda Larga" (broadband...or broadband-ish) internet at school! I am living large and preparing our beautiful computer lab for student and teacher use.


Blogger Pamelamaule said...

What's this, no picture of your new toilet!! Love, Mom XXOO

9:25 AM  
Blogger Dan and Sarah said...

Does the school year there run pretty much the same as here in the states? Do the kids live on the school campus while school is in session?
I love reading about your experiences, it brings back such good memories of my own time volunteering in a strange land.

Sarah "Carlson" Grignon

12:40 PM  
Blogger jessie said...

great stories as usual!
totally reminds me of how nothing goes according to planned in Africa!
way to be flexible!
take care Patrick

5:52 PM  
Anonymous Kyle Morris said...

tweet tweets and skoots boots. i don't really have anything to say, just Hi. Misses and kisses


9:15 AM  

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