The well has run dry

I am falling apart.I don't know how it began. One morning I woke up with a wooden splinter lodged beneath my right eye. Another day I developed a cold that has now turned into a raging hacking cough. We have no more gas and our organization has refused to pay for more. This means we have no drinking water and we can not prepare food at home at all. The water in our well out back is so low, all we have are pools of thick muddy water. We are all afraid to bathe. I look at the water and the words cholera and typhoid come to mind. Times are getting interesting.

Happy Friday the 13th. To celebrate, we gathered at Akisha's to watch the Spanish film "Orphanage". Kids are creepy. But what isn't creepy is Akisha's indoor shower with hot water- aaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhh, that shower was nice.

I said goodbye to my students today :-( I will miss them. They were great. It wasn't an easy decision, but I have decided to end my contract with Humana a month early and will be returning to New York on Tuesday en route to D.C. en route to New York again. I have many reasons for this decision. None of which I have time to get into now. I will post a copy of my resignation letter later.

I have to go. This computer is needed for a round of karaoke.


Within the past week or two, close to 50,000 migrants from Mozambique and Zimbabwe (mostly) have crossed over the border from South Africa into Mozambique through Maputo (the capitol). The situation is desperate.The migrant workers are leaving South Africa where they have endured brutal attacks as a result of an explosion of xenophobia fueled by South Africa's struggling economy and fears that the migrants are taking jobs from South Africans.

People have been beaten, set on fire, harrassed, and over 40 people have lost their lives recently. The situation is beyond the control of the South African government (which with Joburg' being one of the most dangerous cities in the world - had questionable control to begin with).

The atmosphere here in Inhambane is tense. Everyone is talking about the problem. People are worried about crime which has increased in Maputo due to all of the traffic. The conditions in these refugee camps are deplorable. It is just a matter of days before the refugees make their way further into the mainland. It's really sad.

Is this even on the news in the US?

More madness in one act

ACT I.(In the teachers office. Sojourner, Tamika and Gierdre have just returned from breakfast)

Teacher: Oh did you forget Sojo: Forget what? Teacher: You don't want to give the exams Sojo: What? Am I supposed to be giving an exam??? Teacher: You don't want to? Sojo: Want to what? Nobody told me I was supposed to give an exam (The other girls agree) Teacher: (Laughs) Yes well it's very important, you must give, we must hurry Sojo: Wait what exam am I giving, to which students, what are the instructions, how much time do they have? Teacher: Ah, did you forget? Sojo: Forget? Nobody told me anything. Did you forget? Teacher: Come girls we must hurry the exam has started Sojo: If it's started how are we going to give it? Teacher: Yes, but... (His phone rings, he looks to see who it is) Ok wait! (He goes to the doorway) Yes, hello my friend, how are you? No I'm not doing anything. Yes, yes, things are good and you? (Laughter) (He walks away from the building, leaving the Development Instructors annoyed in the middle of the room) Sojo: Why?

Soaking in Inhambane

Last night's Manchester victory, I felt like I was there.My three roomates and I, along with Akisha, Lynne and Wendy went to a local bar, a brand new one that just popped up along the main road before the central market. The bar was really cute. It was owned by a local woman, a fashion designer who is apparently showing her collection at Fashion Week South Africa - but that's not the point. Back to Manchester, the football game was on and the atmosphere was wild. Our eyes were glued to the large screen television.

The energy was so infectuous.

We were the only women in the establishment. We were the only non-Mozambicans in the establishment. We were up-front and center, elbow to elbow with the men from town, holding our breaths in anticipation.

It was a good game. I didn't watch all of it because I'm a little ADD, especially when it comes to sports, but I had fun.

My roomates and I walked home. People are weary of picking up four hitchikers at once. During our hour long walk down that old familiar moonlit path we would hear screams and hollers as men all over Inhambane cheered or cursed. These screams seemed to come from the bush and from the dark savannah-like expanses around us. We couldn't even see all of the places the voices hailed from, but they would cry out in unison every fifteen minutes or so. Every once in a while the voices would be accented by glass breaking and frantic shouting. I love this place.

Today, Tamika and I strolled around town. We visited the local history museum. I have always passed by and have always been curious I just never found the right time. I'm glad I did, it turns out that Inhambane has the sweetest little history museum, simply titled: museu.

Inside, the history of Inhambane was chronicled through drawings, photographs and artifacts. It really was fascinating. I feel very connected to this place.

A whole section of the museum was dedicated to the practices of the local traditional healers. I really want to visit a traditional healer before I leave. I have no particular ailments. I've actually been in perfect health. I just want to talk to a traditional healer and learn about the traditions and methodology. A self-directed anthropolgical quest if you will. Why not?

I purchased a batik print at the market today. It was purple and brown and depicted elephants crossing the savannah. I bargained that sucker down to an astonishing 12 Mtc. It took a good twenty minutes and several exaggerated pivots to indicate that I would be moving on to a different vendor. I've become a haggler. I know too much now. I've learned the local prices and I won't settle for anything else.

We visited APOPO today, a non-profit next door to ADPP that specializes in training rats to detect land mines. My friend Tamika put it best when she said "they are training rats to save people from people". These rats are truly performing an invaluable service. They are also being trained to detect TB as well and to go on search and rescue missions. NO MORE RAT POISON! We need these creatures.

The rats were Giant Tanzanian Bush Rats and they averaged 20 pounds. New Yorkers, put this into perspective! I thought they were cute though. I got to pet one. I've always been a rat tolerator. I'd actually like to have a rat for a pet, one day, like in the young adult novel "Star Girl" that I used to read with my students. Movie night at my place anyone?

Flashes beneath the tropic of capricorn

Here, the lightning takes stage a good two hours before the rain and thunder. It's such a show. The sky becomes illuminated with  bright flashes of pink, purple and yellow. It's a silent show that never fails to stop me dead in my tracks. Perhaps this is always how it is, maybe I have never noticed since I can not remember at any point in my life seeing such a great expanse of sky. Either way, the sky over Mozambique is brilliant. We've had powerful thunder and lightning storms for the last two nights. The power has come and gone several times during the evening hours. We light our house by sticking candles in Lemon Twist bottles. The wax melts over the bottle and creates volcanic art pieces.

Tomorrow Tracy leaves. I can't believe it. The house will not be the same. Later this afternoon, we are supposed to get a new Development Instructor from Spain. Our little house is filling up. On Friday, I'm leaving for my two week investigation period and when I return Tamika will also join me in Inhambane. It will be a nice IICD-Massachusetts reunion and a full house. All of the four bedrooms will be occupied.

I'm teaching another yoga class this Thursday! I am having such a great time teaching yoga. One of the first things that I am going to do when I get back to New York is become certified.

I haven't seen any disturbing insects in weeks. I hope I don't curse myself. Last night I did fall asleep with a mosquito trapped inside of my net. Talk about irritating. It kept buzzing in my ear but I wasn't fast enough to kill it. I haven't been bitten though, so I don't know what happened to it? Somehow between the thunder and mosquito buzzing, I fell asleep.

We've almost caught up with our LOST episodes. We've got three more episodes to watch and we'll be at pace with the rest of the world. I'm completely caught up with 30 Rock (my new favorite show).

It's the little things. It really is the little things that make all the difference!