So I got hit by a truck today. Just another mark against my arch-nemesis in Moz: motorized vehicles. Sidewalks are generally non-existent here, so this morning I was walking to the bakery along the edge of the pavement, like all Lichingan pedestrians, listening to my iPod (less like all Lichingans), when the side mirror of a large cargo truck decide to play tag with my shoulder. Don’t worry, the iPod is just fine. I’m good too. Luckily the mirror was made mostly of cheap plastic so it exploded rather than my shoulder. I’m not even that sore and it made for a good show for all the nearby crianças, so all’s well I suppose.

Other than the occasional hit and run it is remarkable how unremarkable life has become. In about a week I will have my one-year anniversary here in Mozambique, which doesn’t feel nearly as momentous as I expected, and I am cool with that. I feel like I have reached an equilibrium, like I am anchored now, so that the random waves of craziness that still show up every week aren’t able to knock me off course. I have built a pretty steady routine of classes, lesson planning, reading, walking around town, and weekend dinner parties and/or hikes with the girls from Medicins Sans Frontieres. In writing this is coming off a little depressingly boring, but it’s not really, it’s . . . comforting.

Anywho, school keeps on keeping on. We are in the third and final trimester now, which is a bit of a joke, since literally every other week in September and October there is a national holiday that cancels classes. I probably have half the time that I should, and there is absolutely no way that I will make it through the entire curriculum for the year, so now I just pick and choose the topics I like the best and which show up most often on the national exam. I am still having a lot of fun teaching, however, which is the most important consideration obviously, and I think, at least relative to their other classes, the students enjoy mine the most. Since the entire point of joining the Peace Corps was to fan my ego, things are going swimmingly.

There have been a couple of “big events” in the past couple months. Well, basically a big event is defined by me getting out of town for a few days. I flew to Maputo for a week to participate in a Peace Corps training, which was a relaxing break, and I chapa-ed to Beira for the National Science fair, which was less than relaxing.

Peace Corps volunteers actually founded the Science Fair here in Moz, but the past few years there has been an effort to transfer the organization of the event over to the Mozambican Ministro de Ciências e Tecnologia, which is a great idea, in theory. In practice this means that I was quasi-responsible for organizing the Niassa delegation’s trip while running everything through the official organizer, a local representative of the Ministry. Fun times. Well after a couple weeks of meetings, and emails, and lots of headaches, we embarked on a chapa trip across half of Mozambique. Jesus Fodoring Cristo I loathe and fear travel by land in this country. During the 48 cumulative hours we were on the “road” (I use that term loosely) we passed four of the most horrific traffic accidents I have ever seen. The highlight was the two eighteen-wheelers that had decided to play chicken on a narrow bridge, leaving half of one truck hanging off one side of the bridge, and the other truck leaning against the opposite guardrail. Luckily, there was just enough room for us to squeeze in between them and continue on our way. Once we arrived, the Science Fair itself was a huge success. My students even won Second Place! They were insanely excited and everyone in Niassa is crazy proud, so again, all’s well that ends well I suppose. I also got to see a lot of gorgeous Mozambican countryside on the trip, and one spectacular sunset behind the mountains in Gurué, which was another perk.

Really not much other news from the past two months. Oh! HUGE obrigado to all of my favoritest people at UT (Liz, Megan, Emily, Ashley, Dane, Jillian, Alex, Mauro, and Mary) for the care package, it made my dry season. I swear I am slowly but surely working on individual emails to all of you. And special thanks to Vicki Chang for sending the only individual letter that has successfully made it to me. I love you all muitíssimo!

Hmmm, in reviewing this post it feels a little more negative than I intended, so I am going to add a few things that make me super feliz on a near-daily basis, in some particular order:

Apa com ovo or galinha – So at the gas station just down the street from my house there is a little take-away stand run by Sonita, my Indian-Mozambican maezinha, who makes the street food of the gods. Think a flatbread hybrid somewhere between naan and tortilla wrapped around a fried egg smothered in ketchup, mayo, and piri piri (the Mozambican riposte to tabasco sauce). Mind-blowing. And just to ensure I somehow get fat in the Peace Corps last week she introduced a variant with pulled chicken and some magical spicy Indian coleslaw. I struggle to limit myself to three or four a week.

Dias, Justina, Ana, Ibraimo, Issa, Ericsom, Isabel, e João – I started Moon-style study groups at the house a couple months ago, and now it has filtered down to only the most dedicated students. Now that my coffee from home has run out, these kids get me awake for class in the morning. They are smart, and determined, and fun, and ambitious, and they give me hope that my being here might actually leave some lasting benefit.

Senhor Director Pedagógico Govene – My direct boss at school (he’s like an assistant principal) is one of my favorite people in town. He’s warm and funny and looks out for John and I, but most importantly he is honest and responsible and genuinely cares about education and our students’ futures, which stands out. It’s especially endearing because we have been dealing with some significant corruption lately, which I can’t really get into, but it’s depressing, and he mitigates that somewhat.

Biology – As I anticipated I am falling deep, deeply in love with Biology all over again through teaching. It is simply wondrous, which has always been my favorite of the ous-es. I am also appreciating de novo Mr. Dennison and Moon and all of the incredible teachers I have had, because as rewarding as giving classes can often be, this shit is hard.

Fitz & the Tantrums – Unsurprisingly, I love all the new music Liz and Megan sent me (Obrigado mais uma vez) but I am absolutely obsessed with these guys. This album was the key to maintaining sanity during my recent cross country chapa adventrauma.

Alright, now this post feels balanced. Will try to get back to regular posting every few weeks rather than every few months. I should have more new and interesting things to write about after classes end I have time to travel a bit.

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