Friday, August 27, 2010

A long time coming

Looking back I swore I would never have a blog. Those who know me know I tend to keep things to myself. Besides I’m not terribly creative or crafty and never felt my day to day life was interesting enough to share with the public. But I thought it through and this is the most logical way share my adventures, stories and experiences while in Africa and I like things that appeal to my logical side.

So, a little background to start things off. I’m originally from the beautiful state of Colorado but moved to North Carolina about seven years ago for college and have been out east ever since. While in my last semester of graduate school up in Maine, I attended an info session about the Peace Corps and spent an hour and a half swapping stories with an amazing recruiter from the Boston office. He and his wife volunteered together in Belize after their kids were grown and gone and since I had been down there three times myself for research, we had many common experiences. He was really enthusiastic about me applying to the program and thought I’d be a good candidate based on my education, experience and passion for new challenges. And so it began. I had my interview down in Boston in June 2009 and received a nomination to teach secondary science in the African region that August. The challenging part of the next process was the amount of medical and dental paperwork I had to get completed while teaching at an environmental camp in a rather isolated part of North Carolina. To make a long story short, I was finally cleared this past June and received my official invitation and placement last Friday. And now I am just five weeks away from a really long plane ride to Mozambique!

For those of you who haven’t been studying the Peace Corps’ map of Africa for the past year, Mozambique is a coastal nation in southeast Africa. It’s just north South Africa, south of Tanzania and east of Zimbabwe, Zambia and Malawi. And if you cross the Mozambique Channel to the east you hit Madagascar and the Indian Ocean. I’m psyched about the location because it’s far enough south that I might actually see some cooler weather and it’s relatively close to the coral reefs off Kenya.

Mozambique was a Portuguese colony for nearly 500 years, only gaining its independence in 1975. This means I will be learning Portuguese over the next couple months because it’s the official language and used in all schools. It’s actually the first language of a very small percentage of the population so I’m hoping to pick up some other language bits as well.

I’m sticking with general information right because I have no idea exactly where I’ll be within the country. Kind of makes it hard to plan and pack. It’s definitely a tropical/subtropical climate with wet and dry seasons but the coast can see up to 54 inches of rain a year while the inland areas may only get 12 inches. And while average summer (remember it’s the southern hemisphere so November through March) temperatures can be in the high 80s and the winters getting down into the 50s, the inland altitudes can see much more mild temperatures. One good thing I’m reading, humidity is typically only 60-70% and after years of east coast air thick enough to choke on I think I’m set to go.

I’m sure there’s plenty more to tell about this amazing country but this is starting to sound textbookish and I’ll have plenty of time to educate everyone once I’m in country and experiencing it for myself. Until then I am enjoying what's left of my summer!

.............Oh and slight change to the schedule. I have to be in Philadelphia for staging on September 27th not the 29th. That’s just four weeks from now. Yikes!

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