Integration. The process of becoming a part of a new community through introductions, interactions, and involvement in new things. A buzzword in the Peace Corps, usually said with a capital I.
These last three weeks I have spent in my home-to-be for the next two years, taking the first baby steps in this process of integration. I’ve been introduced to many people, most of whose names I’ve forgotten (gets me into trouble sometimes…). I have a new family of sorts in my city, who have welcomed me into their home and lives for the duration of this second phase of training, and who I look forward to seeing when I return in August. I’ve found my way around a new city without getting lost too many times. Most important, I have some idea of the shape of the upcoming months.
The original Zambezia crew from Moz-26. (Selfie credit to Margaret in front.)
Stop anywhere populated and sellers of everything, a veritable walking market, mob the car.
The Praça dos Heróis in my city with the sometimes operational water treatment plant behind.
The main road through the city, and the landmark Pensão Cruzeiro. The city is actually quite large, somewhat to my surprise. It’s possible to find anything if you look hard enough
Open air, real ivory.
The central square, and the private hospital behind (not where I’ll be working).
Tailored clothes are easy to get here, and people set up shop on street corners or in the market. They use the old Singer’s, with a foot pedal, or rig up a newer machine to the foot pedal to work sans electricity.
The HIV testing and psychosocial support ward of the hospital, where I will no doubt be spending a lot of my time. After the morning rush, things are pretty quiet.
The courtyard space of the health center just down the road from the hospital.
Working in a place where road conditions demand ambulances be Land Rovers.
Preparing dinner of leafy cabbage, to be stewed with onions in coconut milk with peanut flour to make matapa.
The charcoal stove, after boiling water for nighttime tea.
I walked into the host family yard one day to find the dismantling of a very large cow’s head in progress.
Boiling vats of sweetened corn meal, which will then be left, covered, to ferment for four to five days to produce the local mildly alcoholic homebrew.
After a brief interlude of travel through the district capital of Quelimane and the national capital, Maputo, we are returned to our original host families for the duration of training. We swear in on August fifth.
Igreja Nossa Senhora do Livramento, the old derelict church in Quelimane.
Looking out the cathedral doors to the banks of the Rio dos Bons Sinais fleeing though Quelimane.