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February 28, 2003

The Good Stuff

I can imagine that for my loyal web-site readers (I know you are out there SOMEWHERE!), that perhaps, my latest entries have been a bit of a downer. And, while it is true, that as of late, I have been especially effected by all of the negative aspects of my life here, that CERTAINLY does not mean that I am not happy, that I am not absolutely loving my life here. I devised a little list of all of the things that I DO love about my life here. Things that I will not be able to recreate in my life at home. Things that I will miss terribly.

I love our weekly Saturday night dances...They are the highlights of every week. I love that their favorite song is about God saving Mozambique. I love that they all come out to dance for that one. I love watching the 4 "cool" guys who only come out to dance for the rap songs. And when they do, they dance just like they have seen on the videos.

I love that when SOS by the Police comes on at our Saturday night dances that they ALL do the air guitar!!! LOVE IT!

I love the way they call me teacher. That one word can have so many different variations and meanings and inflections...'teeecha'--when they are not so happy with me, 'TEE chA', when I DO please them, 'teachA', when they do not understand me and are too polite to say anything.

I love the spirit...the way the students try to wiggle their way out of trouble...like the girl who was supposed to have a picture in her file here. She said "Mas, Sr. Professor, minha família vai mandar meu foto esse semana." E o professor perguntai, "Você já tirai seu foto" e o estudante diz "Não, ainda preciso tirar."... "Como eles vão mandar seu foto quando sua cada esta AQUI!?" Brilliant Really.

I love that all the male teachers that I work with asked me and Ali to be their namoradas on Valentines day! And, I love even more that we made them a heart shaped chocolate cake!

I love that after about 10 months the kids in Lamego FINALLY know my name and shout out Catarina! Catarina! Rather than MUZUNGO, MUZUNGO!!! The not so nice word for White in Sena.

I love that I have a frog that lives in the wash-basin in my bathroom.

I love that the turkeys sometimes wander, in the early morning, and wake me up with their gurgles.

I love that 2 students offered to cook for all 7 of us in my house on 2 different Saturdays. And, then, we shared this delicious meal with them.... I love that I got to teach them how to make an apple pie and they got to teach me how to make food from their homes.

Bob and I I love that I have a student that has 4 different names to compose himself-Kinito Vasco Arnaldo Bungueia. When I asked what he wanted to be called, he said I could choose. So, I chose Bob. And, now, it has spread and loads of people call this Kinito Something Something Something, BOB! I love the sense of humor that he has. I have yet to meet a Mozambican with his sense of humor. It is this manner of talking that is filled with weird sound effects and facial expressions.

I love the way people say Wow here...it is kinda like WãoW! I like it.

I love that when the moon is full, my room is completely illuminated and I can fall asleep to the moonshine...

I love that when all of us teachers went to a restaurant for lunch, that we brought a live turkey in the back of the truck for those at the restaurant to kill and cook up for lunch.

I love that at ShopRite we have to check our bags before entering the store. But, what I really love the most is that there is a notice posted that states that one may not check live animals with his bags.

I loved watching the choral group last Thursday night. They were in their 4 neatly formed lines. One student suddenly jumped out of line to grab the ENORMOUS bug that was squiggling around the ground. He grabbed it and proceeded to stick it in his pocket. But, the story does not end there, minutes later, he took the bug out of his pocket and tossed it to his friend who was in the audience. I have never seen such a thing in all my years.

I love that our Child Aid project just got 250 little baby chicks. Once grown, they will be for the community to eat. But, what I love most of all, is that Mosias, the Director of the project, has agreed, for the time being, to be known by the King of the Chickens.

And, the list could go on and on and on. Literally. I love it all.

This will be a terribly difficult place to leave.