Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The third and final trimester has finally come to an end.
And, it ended with Jeopardy!

Visual Education took their final exam.
Photo by Emilton.

Mural painting.
Photo by Emilton.

It was probably the most overwhelming thing that
I have ever done.
Photo by Emilton.

"Mr. M, do you always have that look on your face?"
Photo by Emilton.

First, they rolled on the primer, white paint with wood glue.
Photo by Emilton.

The following week, the dedicated students helped out after hours.

Drawing on our mural designs.

Martyred President, Samora Moisés Machel.

Judite drawing the first president of the Republic of Mozambique.

We had an overwhelming amount of community volunteers!

The students then drew on their country's first president.

Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane.

This is one of my all-stars, Eugenio.

Everyone was completely absorbed.

The students voted for Judite's concept
which promotes the use of mosquito nets.

This is the money maker.

Thank you to the Presidents Emergency Plan for Aids Relief.

Also, to Peace Corps' VAST Grant Committee.

The day after drawing, we began painting.
Photo by Americo Junior Mente

This is where all the problems began.
Photo by Americo Junior Mente

I knew using both oils and acrylics would be difficult.
Photo by Americo Junior Mente

But controlling 40 students proved to be near impossible.
Photo by Americo Junior Mente

I did my best to keep things under control.
Photo by Americo Junior Mente

At least the day ended with paint on the walls.

The following weekend, I called in the art club for repairs.

Repairs were adamant.

But, we got down to it.

Two weeks later the murals were done.

Eugenio and his perfected painting.

Valdo and his masterpiece.

Samora Moisés Machel in his entirety.

Idyll Massinga.

The diversity of Eduardo Chivambo Mondlane.

"Attack Mosquitos the Return of the Net."

Global HIV/AIDS Awareness.

The trimester has finally ended, nearly without a hitch. The past few weeks have been crammed full of grading finals, analyzing and averaging grades and attendance, painting, and studying. After turning in all of my grades, I went to the capital, Maputo, last weekend to take the Graduate Record Examination (GRE) in a competition against my grad-school pursuing friends, Chase and Laura. After returning, I devoted all of my energy to crime investigation and mural painting since the previous weeks had left me with an unfinished mural and a nearly empty house. With the help of my incredibly dedicated students, Eugenio and Valdo, we somehow managed to complete the arduous task of completing the murals. That leaves me with time to investigate the crime scene while wrapping up school and Peace Corps obligations during my remaining time in Massinga.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Primary students awaiting a special visitor.

So special, the veterans marched through town.

What guest could demand such anticipation?

Such excitement?

Oh you know who...

President Armando Emílio Guebuza!

In the flesh and back for the second time since my arrival!

He came to inaugurate the new pedagogical university.
Edgar presented the environmental management course to him.

A few days later, Edgar celebrated his birthday.

The spread.

Chicken and Mayo-mac.



Biscuits and cake.

He got to eat.

Pop the Cris....or Fanta.

King of the Massinga.

My student Isaias took me to his home.

He carried this huge car battery for an hour on the walk to his house.

I am happy to say that he is one hundred percent healthy.

Just look at him carve this sugar cane.

Banana trees are the most beautiful, ironic plants on earth.

So phallic, yet so floral.

My school brought out the big guns for its inauguration.

If the decorative sprinklers were not enough, the flowers had to be.

Or, this demonstration of our wonderful 9th grade English lessons.

Visual Education Class was presented to the Minister of Education.

I explained what we had been doing for the past year to a student.
Photo by Edgar Fragoso.

The kids presented a mini-science fair to the Minister as well.

At the end, my wonderful Headmaster gave a speech.

Then, the incredibly intelligent and inspiring Minister of Education.

Afterward, there was a party for the teachers.

Fidel got these photos developed of me, him, and Edgar.

My art students made a beautiful poster for the Regional Science Fair.

Then, we started English Theater.

The piece was written by Valdo a week before the competition.

The day of the competition, I tried to relax and pass out snacks.
Photo by Justino Cossa.

In anticipation, my kids ate their snacks.
Photo by Justino Cossa.

Then showed off their musical talent.

Which we used as narration for our play.
Photo by Justino Cossa.

Dr. Valdo and HIV-free Cordoso.
Photo by Justino Cossa.

In an ignorant rage, the HIV-positive patient
throws condoms at Dr. Valdo.
Photo by Justino Cossa.

Despite the hostility, the doctor calmly explains the risks
of traditional medicine and practices.
Photo by Justino Cossa.

In the end, the community witnesses the negative
effects of tradition medicine.
Photo by Justino Cossa.

And, we walk away with third place!
Photo by Justino Cossa.

Two weeks later, I found myself back in Inhamussua
for an inter-school exchange with my art students.

The Fine Art Club of Massinga was called upon for their expertise.
Photo by Chase Nye.

And experts we were.
Photo by Chase Nye.

Valdo doing detail work.

Ginocio painting crops with the agricultural students.

Judite and Eugenio cleaning up.

Afterward, we ate lunch together.
Photo by Chase Nye.

Valdo and Chase showing off the day's work.
View the mural progression here.

At the end of the day, my kids had to go home.

It was not going to be easy.

But I was determined to get them home before dark.

That night I attended a very formal event. A birthday.
Photo by Paulo Macucha.

I showed up in short shorts and a pink shirt.
Photo by Paulo Macucha.

Simultaneously, the Fine Art Club of Massinga started their mural.

But first, they would have to prepare the surface.

We rejuvenated the wall with six coats of primer.
Photo by Justino Cossa.

And, did a lot of drawing and surveying in between.
Photo by Justino Cossa.

After, we drew out the designs on the wall.
Photo by Ismail Vilanculos.

This is me. Drawing.
Photo by Justino Cossa.

Finally we got to painting!
Photo by Justino Cossa.

Valdo and Felgos painting Valdo's original concept.

Dalton painting the fruits of Massinga.

Luicano and myself working in the urine-saturated sand.
Photo by Justino Cossa.

Nothing in life can be too easy.
Photo by Justino Cossa.

Luciano, Benedito, and Dalto completing their day's work.
Photo by Justino Cossa.

Felgos and Makito finishing up.
Photo by Justino Cossa.

The ever-scrutinizing Felgos aka Picasso...or so he thinks.
Photo by Justino Cossa

Me and a select few putting final touches on the mural.
Photo by Valdo Isaias.

Analyzing our paint situation.
Photo by Valdo Isaias.

Fixing dropped paint and brushstrokes.
Photo by Valdo Isaias.

I introduced the idea of perfecting your work to the students.

And, required them to do two days of final touches.

It all payed off when the Minister of Education of Mozambique came.

Valdo was able to present our work to him on the 4th of October after
commemorating the peace agreement signed with the Portuguese in 1974.

The final piece.
Photo by Valdo Isaias.

As always, Edgar is working hard teaching a full work load every day
while paying half of his salary to study at university every night.

The Doctor's Dilemma.
Filmed by Chase Nye.

A trimester has begun and nearly ended as I find myself about to begin the last week of school. The trimester was filled with as sorts of activities and visits from government officials including the president of the Republic of Mozambique, who is scheduled to return this week, and the venerable Minister of Education of Mozambique, who gave immaculate speeches on both the inauguration of Massinga Secondary School and on "Dia de Acordos," the day which commemorates the peace agreement between Mozambique and Portugal.
Edgar celebrated his twenty-second birthday this trimester. At twenty two, he is already an adjunct teacher finishing up his fourth year of teaching and a first year university student. He has been a great friend of mine and I am incredibly excited to see him succeed.
As a follow up to my suspenseful story about my faithful student Isaias, I would like to inform that he is incredibly healthy and that his mystery illness was nothing more than scabies. This trimester, I went out to the country side with him and met his family. The walk was long and beautiful as we strode through the coconut orchards. In the end, we arrived to a beautiful home and two meals. While visiting, I also was able to meet several other students as I unexpectedly dropped into their rural homes. It was a great experience and brought me a lot closer to the kids I encountered.
The year has also been jammed packed with extracurricular activities. In addition to the art club we have been running since February on Saturdays from 10am to 2pm, Massinga Secondary School participated in the Peace Corps Volunteer initiated Regional Science Fair, held a local science fair which inspired a mini-fair at the pedagogical university, painted a beautiful 2x10m mural in the city park, began painting four other murals in the city park, sent five of our top art students to Inhamussua for inter-school mural painting project, and participated in the Peace Corps Volunteer initiated English Theater Competition led by the Mozambican Theater Network.
The theater competition was a great experience for my kids. We had a late start due to indecisiveness on who should author the script. However, with only a week left before the competition, Valdo took matters into his own hands and wrote the whole script alone. After editing the script we me and chosing players, Valdo assigned himself the most difficult role and began practicing every morning before and every night after school. With incredible ingenuity and perseverance, my kids were able to walk away from Maxixe with pocket dictionaries and the claim to third place.
The day after the competition we all got together and finished the mural we had been working on for three weeks. It was an incredibly stressful and intense week. But in the end, I couldn't have been more proud. These kids really made an impression on me this last trimester. They have really worked hard and saturated Massinga with a deluge creativity and art over this past year. Massinga is about to be the creative center of southern Africa.