Feliz Natal! Merry Christmas! Boas Festas! Happy Holidays!
Well my first Christmas in Mocambique was a good one. I have to say it definitely didn't feel like Christmas with the heat, no lights and lack of Christmas music for the last month but it was good. I was able to travel to Gorongosa (the villa near the actual national park) where two married volunteers live on a mission. Brian and Jordan Mills are just amazing people and really took us all in and gave us a wonderful holiday. Jordan made us all stockings which were filled with candy on Christmas morning and had a whole array of amazing food planned for the weekend. We had a cookie decorating contest (I won!), fiesta night, pancakes and a fabulous sausage pasta dinner. We were spoiled. Christmas Day we opened out stockings and ate candy, went swimming in the river, hiked down to some falls and jumped off rock outcroppings with Mocambiquen kids and sat around cooking, eating and talking. It was definitely not you're typical Christmas Day but this isn't exactly a typical time of my life.
Being away from my family was hard for sure but I've found a family here amongst the volunteers. We had a good mix of MOZ 14ers and 15ers (I'm in MOZ 15. MOZ 14 arrived in country last fall) and we were able to just relax together, play games, share stories and enjoy the time together. Brian and Lauren, from MOZ 12, were two of the first people we met when we got off the plane in Maputo and were with us for the first two weeks pf PST. So getting to see them again in a less bewildering situation was so good. Jordan came to training around week 5 and is one of the most memorable PCVs that visited. She is an incredible teacher with so much energy and so many ideas. Mona and I told Brian we were taking her back to Dombe with us until we got our own cooking situation under control. Other 14ers, Dov and Tim, were wonderful too because they have that year under their belts and can give realistic descriptions of service and traveling. The rest of us were 15ers ready to be away from site, with other people and missing our families. But like I said, we were in it together and had ourselves a really wonderful day. And I am so thankful for cellphone rede so that i could talk with my family! Everyone was together celebrating and hearing their voices just warmed my already sweating heart!
Oh and I've put pictures on Facebook going back to orientation for your viewing pleasure. And of course there is more to come as things progress!