Back from the Reconnect Conference. It was so wonderful to hear all the amazing stories that other volunteers had to share-I left feeling ReMotivated! It was also really fun to get to go out with everybody in Maputo! We went out to an art gallery, danced to live jazz music, went shopping, got ice cream, and ate lots of delicious food! So fun! Unfortunately, I managed to come down with a pretty nasty stomach bug (my two roommates also got sick, which made for some pretty interesting times-shout out to Pegs and Michelle!) but still continued to eat because the food was too good to pass up. haha! When I returned to Moamba, everyone made sure to point out how Gorda I had gotten (before I'd left I was given a scale to "help manage my weight" haha this is the smallest i've been in years so i'm not overly worried). I am definitely going to have some pretty thick skin by the time I leave! Which reminds me- I'm not sure if this is bad or not, but i've started saying "yes" when people ask me if I have mosquito bites on my face. I'm just sick of explaining what acne is and if they are going to keep assuming it is mosquitoes I figure I might as well just go with it :)
I've started teaching the 3rd yrs and I Love it! I am also teaching Formação Humana (Humanities Class) which is ALL Portuguese! It is still super intense for me-I have to write out everything i'm going to say beforehand so that I don't blank out during class. But I think it will be a great opportunity to strengthen my speaking skills! I have decided to make this a laid back, experimental type class since there really isn't a curriculum and i'm the only one teaching the class. I want to break from the traditional Moz. (teacher centered) style of teaching and make it more of a group focused atmosphere. We will see how that goes...On the first day of class, we did a trust building exercise with a blindfold. So funny! My first class totally didn't get it...but by the 3rd class it was a huge success. So I think I just need to keep trying activities out even if they don't succeed at first.
This past weekend I celebrated my first Easter without my family (also my first Easter without an Easter basket...) which made me a bit sad but luckily Páscoa is a big deal here, so I was kept very busy. I tried to explain to everyone things like the Easter bunny, dying eggs and Easter egg hunts but everyone just looked at me like I was crazy. Here, everything was centered around the church. Which was actually really refreshing. On Good Friday everyone went to a 3 hour service (mainly spent kneeling and rising while praying for various causes) and then went through the stations of the cross. On Saturday there was another 3 hour mass (at 10pm) for people that were being baptized. Then on Sunday the women came decked out in their finest capulana dresses, while the men wore suits. I was fashionable in my new green capulana dress :) haha. During Lent, the church stopped singing joyful music and stopped playing the drums. For Easter, all the music came back and it was awesome! Everyone was singing and dancing in the pews-loved it. After mass I went to a baptismal party which lasted all day. We sat around cooking, eating, drinking, and chatting. I ate SO much food. Something very typical of my overall experience here in Moz. is that they had ME bring in the HUGE baptismal cake (in shape of a bible). Thank goodness I didn't drop it...
Soccer is coming along! Finally have an official school roster (15 girls) and am working on team uniforms. The girls are pumped :) I think that we are probably going to get killed when we actually play the other Secondary School in Moamba, but I think it will serve to motivate the girls to Actually practice. haha! We have some girls on the team who are naturally talented and during practice I have started to see actual strategies and passing-so I'm feeling pretty hopeful about what the girls will be able to accomplish!
So excited for my family to visit-can't wait to spend a week with them in South Africa (Krueger Park) and then show them around Moz!! If anyone wants to send me any wonderful presents- i'm sure my fam wouldn't mind bringing them along (haha). On that same note, I've heard that sending packages from the Post Office and buying the flat rate box actually works. I talked to a volunteer who has received All of her packages! Also, don't forget to write that it's to Irmã Kaitlin and that you are sending "school supplies"...this all helps to minimize theft. Okay, that's all for now...i'm off to make a snack of banana, peanut butter sandwiches (showed them to my roommates and they LOVE them!). Love everyone so, so much and hope all is well back home!!