Work, Work, Beach! WORK.

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June 20th 2015
Published: June 21st 2015
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Another week down, ack! Time goes too quickly when you’ve got stuff to do, I swear.

Sunday wasn’t very productive. I got a text from Vishal to go to Inhambane with him and his wife, but when we got in the car he said it was a couples’ church thing and that I could wait with his brother Zito. Meh. We drove around for a bit and then went to a café – Bistro Pescador – next to the ferry landing. It was actually really nice and has wifi, so there is a silver lining to this story. We waited for 2 hours, but it was going to be another 2, so I took the boat back to Maxixe to go to Taurus (grocery store) and Pasterlaria Universal for foods.

Monday was only mildly more productive since Vishal came in the middle of the day again. I was actually on a roll listening to recorded conversations and transcribing them when he got here and we talked about renewing the modem so I could have internet again. I was told that you do it someone how purchasing credit and then converting it or something else and it sounded complicated, but
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waiting at 06:00 for the ferry
he said just go to the shop. We got in the car and went to the shop, got it reloaded , and were going back to CoH (I thought) then we stopped at 6 places along the way and talked to all kinds of people and I spent most of the afternoon in the car. L Boo. On the bright side, since I got internet access again I was able to FacteTime with the parents and access emails and such. Woooo the wonders of technology.

Tuesday – work day! I did chores in the morning and then took a chapa about noon to town for a meeting with Isva about illustrations. We met briefly and Pastelaria and then I had lunch before wandering high and low looking for supplies for group. I wanted tape and went to 4 places looking for it, thinking that surely they would have small rolls of cello tape, but no. Also needed: salad dressing, plastic containers, and broccoli. Snack for group was veggies and salad dressing, though they don’t do ranch here – so it was 1000 island and honey mustard. The reaction to the broccoli was mixed, then they tried it with the
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waiting for mata mosquito to commence
1000 island and liked it. Woo hoo. But wait, I get ahead of myself. I went to the Indian wholesalers looking for tape, the Chinese superstore, then the papelaria, then back to the Indian wholesaler and finally bought tape. Then Taurus for water and such, then the padaria for bread, then I still had 2 hours to spare so I went back to Pastelaria and had a coffee and sat there. The guys there must be tired of seeing me.

I went to the school early to meet with Shaun and Eric, the former and current PCV involved with One World Academy ( to talk about fundraising – they are looking to expand from a rented space to building their very own building, which would be AWESOME for them! In case you didn’t catch it in one of the previous blogs, they are a private school here in Moz that provides high quality education at low cost to the average Mozambican, not ex-pats and rich folk like most private schools. More news to come on that front and ways to donate if you’d care to sponsor a child or help fund the new site in a bit. (For real, I never thought I would actually see/”meet” one of these “sponsor a child in Africa” programs in person, but this one is totally worth it) My community members arrived a little early – seriously, they are the only Mozambicans who are ever on time for anything in my experience – so I went in and started with them. Meeting today was focused on doing the same activity as last time, just with different people. We swapped books and tried figuring out the stories without words in them to see if the images conveyed the content accurately. They require a few minor tweaks, but other than that I think we have pretty workable materials so far. Now for the reproduction part… I tried getting them to copy the very first stick figure drawing on the cover of the first book (Maria goes to the Hospital) and that didn’t go down very well. Some copied part of it, some copied it on a random page in the middle, so didn’t do anything at all… So I have to rethink how these are going to be reproduced if they aren’t going to have an interest in making them themselves. It’s just entirely frustrating that some of them don’t even want to tryyyyyy because they are so entrenched in the “you are Western and you have money, give us X,Y,Z”. For real though. The first time we sat down, it was like they were placing an order and told me they wanted A3 (11x17) sized posters, laminated, and in color for them to teach groups of people. (They don’t do groups of people for the most part – they go door to door and aren’t going to carry them) I felt like a total heel explaining that this wasn’t a program like that and that we were going to make our own. Total heel.

I spent the rest of that night running to the chapa and then making it home in time for a bucket bath and blanket fort-making. I gained new blankets after Dhairya left, but Maria wanted to wash them before she gave them to me. I found them outside my door when I got back and decided it was time to improve upon my blanket cave. I am now the proud owner of a light-tight blanket fort wrapped in mosquito netting and have finally compressed the foam-brick pillow enough with
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Helping to complete the booklet
my butt to make the two pillows combined comfortable enough to sleep on. I’m moving on up in the world!

Wednesday was a busy day – Nhamaxaxa health fair! I got up in time to do my morning routine of coffee and such, then explained what I wanted to get done to Rose, Elfie, and Pastor, but then I had a moment of mild panic when I realized that if the provincial presentation was on Thursday, I wasn’t going to be able to get to immigration to drop my passport off to get my visa renewed. I grabbed it and took a chapa into town where it was quicker than I was expecting, but still a very odd experience. Back to CoH, Ivan arrived, and the women got back from town and we were off. After doing the booklet-proofing activity twice with the activists, I wanted them to do the same thing with the activists that were not able to make it to the group meetings during the week. It actually worked pretty well – they took the materials and then lead the others through figuring out the stories by asking questions about the pictures. To top it off – Isabel, who is a teacher at the local school, took it upon herself to make big posters of the materials using the Maria booklet as a template! It was totally what I wanted to do the day before on a smaller scale, but they wanted bigger materials. I was totally happy to see it coming together. (Remember, the idea is to get the activists to say “yes, we can do this” re: making their own materials)

The health fair bit over, we went back to CoH and I took a nap cause I was feeling miserable… I’m so paranoid about feeling achey or having a headache. All I can think of is “oh no! I got malaria!” O_o But I think it was actually just a caffeine headache cause I hadn’t had 5 cups of coffee that day. A little alter I got an email reply from the provincial head of health activities saying that I would present on Friday instead of Thursday, so my immigration panic was unfounded and unnecessary. Meh. Bed.

After realizing on Thursday morning that there isn’t transport to the conference since Dr. Arlindo can’t go, I start looking around for options. Where one thing fell through, another took its place. It turns out that there was a free shuttle for all the attendees from the DPS building in Inhambane at 7:00, I just had to get there by 7:00… which is more difficult than it sounds given that I’m in Chicuque and have to plan on meeting Ivan as well. I spent the rest of the day after sorting transportation putting the rest of the presentation together and practicing it a few times. Bed time was entirely too close to wake-up time, since I had to get up at 4:40 (to wait) to catch a chapa to the ferry, then meet Ivan, then wait for the ferry to fill and cross, then get to the building. We did all that and got there just at 7:00 sharp – to be the first ones there. -_-

The shuttle didn’t arrive for some time, then we waited til 7:30 to take off, with super-loud music blaring and people screaming at each other three feet from one another. It was a little nutty, but it was the last day of the conference and I’m sure they were happy because they get to eat and
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Going through the symptoms
hang out now. We got to Flamingo Bay Water Lodge in Barra about 8:20 and I checked in with our contact. Ivan and I sat down to get ready and go over the presentation together. I was happy he was there with me. As we sat and waited, an hour became two, and then three – then they said we would present after tea at noon. At noon we got up to present and spoke to everyone, then left the room as we were expected to. (At some point they offered us seats, but we would have to walk through the entire conference to find them and we said we’d just sit out in the hotel area where it was more comfortable and less awkward) Our contact said we should stay until lunch, so we did, and had a great meal and talked to some other contacts in the government. It was really nice to be invited last minute and give us an opportunity to meet many people at once.

Ok – time to go home… only there is no transport cause the shuttle is going to be taking the conference people places and is not for us… the
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The water game
hotel says they can drop us at the chapa stop, so we wait. And wait. And wait. The regularly scheduled shuttle never comes, so I go consult reception. We take the shuttle, then get to the chapa and it is empty, so we wait. And wait. And wait. Then we get going and make it to Inhambane where we get to the ferry and the boat is empty so we wait. And wait. And wait. It’s actually sitting at a 30 degree angle and it disturbs me, because it doesn’t correct even when the boat fills. The guy even sticks his hand down to see if there is any water in the hull, but there isn’t. I spend so much time hemming and hawing about if it’s safe or not that we get going and the speed levels the boat out a bit. We cross, then when we get to the other side it does the same thing. I want off the boat. Ugh. Why do people do this crap and put everyone at risk?? I mean, I’m in boats all the time – it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to feel that a boat isn’t set level.

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So attentive once they stop screaming!
need food, so Pastelaria it is, and then home for a bit of a chat with Andrew, then BED. Omg, my sweet blanket fort never looked so good. But I had to set and alarm cause the kids in Nhamaxaxa were expecting us for activities and games the next day at 9 AM. -_-

Morning comes way too soon. I’m groggy. I have a headache. Ugh. Children. We arrive and I ask Elfie and Rose if the activists are counting on us to do stuff, or if they are going to handle everything, because they’ve canceled it twice so far because the CoH people weren’t available, but that shouldn’t be a reason to cancel if the activists had training and are supposed to be able to do it themselves… Turns out they were expecting the CoH people to do stuff, so someone needs to rethink the training part of this whole program cause if they are always waiting for the CoH people, what is the point of training them to do the activities?? Bah.

Singing children greeted us, and much like kids in the States, they sounded like robots singing the school song. Ha Ha. They told us their names and ages, then we formed two rows and played a game where you cup water out of a bucket at one end and try to get it into a container at the other via a chain of people. After that was a game kind of like a piñata where you blindfold someone, they take five steps, and then try to whack a cardboard box. It’s called “mata mosquito” ha. I had no idea what either game had to do with malaria, but it was something to do and gave them a chance to talk about malaria stuff I guess.

It started to rain, so we went inside. It was lucky I brought my materials, because then I got the perfect chance to work with them. We distributed paper and pen to each kid and I had each one fold the paper into a booklet, then we walked around and helped them make the one tear required to make a six page booklet. Next, I had them list symptoms one at a time and we drew them as they said them. We had six symptoms and six pages, and they were all great at drawing the icons/images in their books! I think it was great for the activists to see them doing the exercise since they wouldn’t/couldn’t do it the night before and in front of them a room full of 8-13 year olds were making their own books! Unfortunately, in my groggy state I didn’t take full advantage of the situation to talk about how they feel when they have malaria, why it’s important to go to the hospital quickly, etc. I also didn’t get pictures of their fantastic pictures. Hopefully some of them will still have the booklets next week and I can take pictures of them. Next weekend will be the card game and I am going to have the activists help make a few sets of cards for the kids to use. At the health fair, Ivan sat with a group of older women to translate the cards into Xitswa so we have to write those name on them as well. The kids can use them to practice reading, spelling, Portuguese, etc. but they are also meant to be a series of card games for them. They can be used by the activists as unstructured visual aids used to tell a story. (The structured form being the comics, where the order and the story never changes and the message can’t be convoluted by the storyteller unless they really try.) Things are looking up.

Other than that, I did nothing outside all day Saturday. I napped when I got home and then got up to work on the computer, write, listen to music, and do work. It was kind of gloomy out and rained more so I didn’t feel like I missed out on anything. The power went out at some point and I called it quits. Bedtime. Good thing the weather is decent and the fan isn’t totally necessary. I’d be miserable if it was the middle of summer, I’m sure.

Next week’s goal: finalize the two comics we have, turn them into A4 posters, work on the card game, and start developing two new stories or posters. I have to decide if I am going camping in Mukambe feha for a few days as well. Eak! I want to spend more time with that community since I am getting lots of face time with Nhamaxaxa. We’ll see…

Additional photos below
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In other news...In other news...
In other news...

The telephone poles by the hospital fell down and now people are just running over the wires with their cars. That's the hospital in the background and this is the end of my road.

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