So I almost made it a week without a break down. Almost. Tuesday was the toughest day yet. I felt so helpless and trapped. After another restless, sweaty night in our oven, Mona and I got up and started our normal morning routine of getting water, bathing, hiding in the shade and scrounging up something to eat. Our director was still M.I.A. from his latest trip so we went to talk with the other pedagogical director, a Brazilian woman who lives at the mission. We approached her with our concerns over moving, the rumor that the director was leaving and maybe trying to find an empregada (maid) to help us once school started. She said the director had in fact been transferred to a different school, she didn’t know when the new one was starting although Director Rui was coming back today; the maid thing was complicated because you want to find someone you can trust but that we would probably be fine on time, and the real downer, the house was not ready. She walked us down to the house and it’s definitely got a ways to go. The cement floor isn’t even poured, there are holes to be patched around the window, door and roof frames and there aren’t actually doors, screens or bars on yet. Director Rui made it seems like it was just days away from done. It’s another duplexy thing but oriented differently. I think the rooms are a bit bigger and the front window is larger. She didn’t think screens would be added but we insisted that was a requirement from Peace Corps. Gotta prove we’re not pushovers. She said it would be at least another week but I’m guessing it’s January before we move in.
On top of this we were getting texts from our APCD and security coordinator saying we could no longer travel for Christmas and that we needed to be staying at site until the 23rd when we could go to our provincial capital to do some visa stuff. I had been planning to travel up to Tete to spend the holiday with friends there but those plans were squashed. It was looking like a depressing Christmas with just the four of us MOZ 15ers in Chimoio. Mona and I returned to our house, set up our mat under the big tree and just bitched and moaned. A few tears were shed, texts were sent out to friends in search of encouraging words and escape plans considered. We called some people to fill Peace Corps in on the situation, hoping someone could step in and put the pressure on Director Rui to get things done before he peaced out. My dad was planning to call so I warned him of the impending break so he could be prepared and standing under a mango tree outside the mission I just lost it. God bless my dad because he was patient, let me vent and did his best to encourage and support me. I can’t imagine how hard it is to be so many thousands of miles away, hearing your daughter cry about her life and know that you are completely helpless (you’re amazing Dad!). But he talked me down, got me to describe the good parts, the things that make it all worth it and even joke a bit. Meanwhile, Mona is talking with the recently returned director about the house and gets a bit of good news: he will actually be around until after the school year starts, insists the house will be done soon and is going to speak with PC to get permission for us to leave site on Friday because no one is going to be around until the new year. We felt a little better as we sweat ourselves to sleep that night.
Wednesday came and we started the usual routine but the depression returned as good ol’ Director Rui came by saying he was going to Beira until Sunday and that he would try and talk to the Peace Corps over the next couple days to get our leaving cleared. So it looked like we were stuck at site until the normal departure date anyway. In a fit of frustration and anger, we called Custodio in Maputo and just explained the situation and our issues (he was genuinely surprised by the news of the director leaving), begging to be allowed to leave for Chimoio early. We did finally get permission, packed our things and left. It was exhilarating to have a plan, some positive news. I’ll share the chapa ride soon but it was uphill from there.
Everybody Hurts – R.E.M.