Drawing Inspiration from Mozambique

Drawing Inspiration from Mozambique "Mmm...what is this one called?"


"Mozambique? Like the country?"

"Yes, exactly.  I'm a traveler. The scents of my products are all inspired by places that I've traveled to and fallen in love with."

"I like that. What else do you have?"

After going through each item in my product line, the lady in purple settled on a Paris fragrance oil and a Zanzibar body butter.

Last weekend, I was invited to participate in Brooklyn's Summer Style Market as a vendor.

It was really great to interact with buyers and discuss my products.

People were particularly interested in my choice of fragrance and the names of the different products. As I described the essential oil aromatherapy blends that provided fragrance to each product, I noticed conversations almost always turning to travel as I attempted to articulate exactly what I was attempting to evoke or was inspired by.

I went home that night and began a running list of inspiration, country by country, memory by memory. Like poetry, memories began to fill the page and I realized I had a post.

Have you ever traveled to a place that moved you so deeply it changed the person you are for the better? That's how I feel about Mozambique. The experience wasn't perfect (there was the huntsman spider attack, the time I woke up to about twenty hornets in my bedroom, I caught the South African flu, we ran out of water in our well) but it was the perfect experience for me at the time.

When I think of Mozambique, I am reminded of:

  • The beauty of a sunrise and setting. Before I moved to Mozambique, I had no understanding of how astounding and breathtaking a sunrise and sunset could be. I thought I knew, but I had no idea  The purple and otherworldly cerulean bursts of color, expanding over the horizon to signal the start of a new day and then the golden translucent rays that  cascaded downwards softening the landscape before handing off the baton to the moon were soul stirring.
  • Orion's Belt. Almost every evening I could clearly see the constellation Orion's Belt. The sky over Mozambique at night seemed so much bigger, so much closer. Clouds of fine stardust swirled here and there. Shooting stars danced over the Indian Ocean.
  • Finding peace in the darkness. At night, I used to walk and walk, the only light illuminating my path came from a very large and low pearly moon. Bell frogs and crickets serenaded me in the distance as my feet moved slowly, meditatively over the fine sand that covered the earth.
  • Feeling the warmth of the earth, as if it were a living, breathing, warm blooded being. Often barefoot, I was able for the first time to feel the warmth of the earth beneath my feet when I walked. The ground, red and compact, grassy and soft, or sandy and dry was always warm and alive. It bore a distinct smell, musky, spicy and grounding.
  • Being greeted by strangers and friends with a warm smile no matter what. Inhambane, Mozambique is known as "Terra da boa gent" (land of the good people) for a reason. Smiles and warmth are everywhere. People helped each other and could be trusted. It was here in the brush of Inhambane, that I slept at night with my doors unlocked, left my shoes on my porch and went to fetch water or take a bath (in the communal bath hut behind the community well)  leaving my front door wide open for ventilation. Never did I encounter a problem. Warmth and determination radiated off of people. Wide smiles were a constant reminder that if a people whose country was less than a decade out of a civil war which resulted in a relative genocide could be so resilient, so happy, then I, certainly had no excuse to be anything but grateful and joyous for the life I have been given.
  • Hitchhiking. In Inhambane, hitchhiking to get from place to place is both common and safe. Though it was nice to get into a car and meet new people (especially during the rainy season), I usually sought out trucks. The best seat is in the bed of a pickup truck, face to the moon, sun, or clouds, hair dancing in the breeze, a magnificent expanse of countryside before you.
  • The power of saying yes- yes to the market woman who offered to take you to her home to feed you, yes when you're offered a local dish at a restaurant, yes to children wanting to touch your skin, clothes and hair, yes to people wanting to practice their English with you, yes to the artisans from Zimbabwe who invite you to storytelling circles near the ocean, yes to the rolling waves of the warm Indian Ocean, yes to the stray dog who wandered into your kitchen and made you smile, yes to the beautiful man who invites you to his home town, yes, to the woman asking for money on the side of the road, yes to taking it all in. Yes, yes, yes, one of the most liberating words in the English language.
  • There's life outside of my native tongue. I had six months to learn Portuguese in preparation for this trip, the idea of existing after six months without English at first was terrifying, but it all worked out. There is so much more to communication than words. The lively seductive lull and fall of Portuguese, a language that romances harder than Casanova made my English speaking tongue spasm with effort when it came to pronunciation and verb tenses but I took it all in. I learned, I functioned and I survived.
  • Tropical fruit warmed in the sun. Large ripe mangoes, passion fruit and papaya. The sweet smell of a freshly sliced mango after it has been warmed by the sun. The sour fragrant flesh of a passion fruit. The soft give of papaya. The peace that comes from living in a place where you don't have to buy organic because everything, by default, is anyway.
  • Rising with the morning sun!

Mozambique, what a pleasure and an honor it was to call your shores home.

The product that was inspired by my adventures in Mozambique is the Mozambique Fragrance Oil, a jojoba oil based roll on fragrance stick with an earthy scent lightened by exotic floral and citrus undertones.


If you can't experience Mozambique in person for yourself, take the journey with a Mozambique Fragrance Oil stick.

From now, until next Wednesday (8/27) enjoy 10% off the Mozambique Fragrance Oil (by entering the code MOZIE at checkout) and enjoy one final summer hoorah!

Morrungulo Beach Resort in Mozambique- I Must Return For My Honeymoon!

Morrungulo Beach Resort in Mozambique- I Must Return For My Honeymoon!

This country, this Mozambique, holds so many beautiful gifts. One of the most extraordinary is the Morrungulo Beach Resort.

It was Lynne's idea, the weekend away. It didn't take much convincing. We rounded up the crew from Inhambane and a few friends came up from Maputo. We rented cars and were off.

I wasn't prepared for what a found. Perfection!

The resort was completely ours, not a soul in sight.

The waves were mild, I fell into rhythm with the sea.

Everyday there was meditation, yoga and stillness.

I wrote in solitude.

We ate and laughed together.

The stars at night, a spectacle.

I left renewed.

I left inspired.

I left longing for more...

The Long Ride Home from Mozambique

I am back in Manhattan. In many ways it's almost as if I never left. It's funny how life moves forward with such great momentum despite it all. It's strange how in the blink of an eye you can be transported from one time, one place, one reality to a completely different one. I have had almost no time to process anything. Yesterday, on the subway, Tamika and I kept blinking at each other, trying to understand how we came to be in New York, when only a few... (ok like 48) hours ago we were riding a rusty, rickety chapa. I am happy to be back. I'm taking it slowly. I'm finishing up my final round of interviews this week. Then I'm heading to Maryland/D.C., Rochester and back to Manhattan to go through the process of re-settling (eeeh...).

I miss Mozambique already and have decided to enroll in a formal Portuguese language course so I can truly become fluent enough to go back (in some capacity or another). I'm definitely going back to Mozie, the love bug bit me the moment I stepped of the chapa, although at the time, I wouldn't have called it "love".

Tamika and I had an adventure making our way back home to the states. We almost didn't make it back.

We left Inhambane for Maputo at 4:30 am. We spent the night at Lynne's, took a chapa from the central market and arrived at 11:30. This was on a Monday and we were supposed to fly out of Joburg on Tuesday evening. Two weeks earlier, we contacted the ADPP headquarters in Maputo telling them that we were leaving and that we needed our bus tickets to Joburg (our organization is supposed to cover our expenses to the airport, etc.). Sure, no problem, we were told.

When we got off of the chapa in Maputo, we called the office to let them know we had arrived and would be heading to Machava in a few hours to pick up our tickets for later on that day (we were supposed to leave on a bus at 7pm- we just wanted to drop our bags off at our friend Jesse's apartment so that we wouldn't have to lug them around the city). When we called, we were informed that they hadn't purchased any tickets for us and that the bus that we were supposed to take was full. The panic began here.

Desperate and furious, Tamika and I showed up at a particular man's office (I am not naming names) to get to the bottom of the confusion. We were told that it wasn't possible to get a bus in time to catch our plane and that they didn't know we were leaving. I was literally told and I quote "this is not my problem, this is your problem".

This was one of the most frustrating things about living and working in Mozambique, nobody ever wanted to take accountability for anything, nobody was ever on top of anything. There were no systems in place to check or balance much of anything making it so easy to get screwed over because you couldn't depend on anyone and people didn't do anything unless you lit a fire beneath their you know what. It was a backwards mess.

We were so angry. We argued with this man and his buddies in the office. Finally, since there were no buses and we needed to be in Joburg by 7pm the next day, he decided to give us the ticket money and told us to take a chapa. This would have been uncomfortable but fine if there weren't violent conflicts at the border and people being killed. I couldn't believe that ADPP had so little concern for our personal welfare that they would send us, two females, on a rickety chopa with Mozambique plates over the border in the middle of a conflict zone where Mozambicans were being targeted and attacked. We took the money and left. We had no other options. The only bus company that we were aware of was booked solid.

We called everyone we knew. Everyone begged us not to risk taking the chopa. We were torn. Our flight would be leaving without us, if we didn't make a decision and quickly. Literally two hours before we almost took a chapa, my friend Lynne called to let us know that there were two tickets available on the Pantera Azul bus that was scheduled to leave in the morning at 7am which would get us to Joburg by 3pm. It would be a close call but it was our best chance.

Thank god for friends. We were connected with a friend of Lynne's who lived in town where we spent the night and left in the morning with no problems. Luckily my friends are wonderful, supportive people, without which, I would never have survived the journey or my experience in Mozambique.

That last clash with my organization made me so happy that I was leaving early. I can't stress enough, the importance of doing your homework before you take a contract abroad.

The Pantera Azul bus was comfortable and spacious. We relaxed our tense muscles and enjoyed the complimentary tea and biscuit service. It seemed that everything would work out in then end after all when about an hour away from Joburg, around 2:30, the bus blows a flat tire. We were horrified. We just wanted to get to the airport so that we could go home. We were so close but it was just not working out.

The driver and his first mate hopped out and worked on the tire for about 30 minutes. Somehow they patched the tire and we slowly puttered onward towards the bus station.

We finally made it to Joburg. We were about an hour late but we were there. The brother of one of the guys we knew in Mozie came to pick us up at the station and took us to the airport. We made it just in the nick of time. We were even able to spend our last rands and mets at the airport mall before boarding.

Despite it all, the flight was great. Tamika and I had two seats each. I caught up on my movies. The amarula and wine flowed freely. We had a surprise stop in Senegal? but 17and a half hours later, we made it to New York and boarded the subway and bam...we were back in the game. My Mozambique- ADPP chapter is now closed. I am working on a book about my experiences. There were so many things that happened that I couldn't really write about in this blog that I am recording now. I'll post my introduction as well as blurbs at a later point. I can write what I want now that I'm no longer under a contract ;-)

Thanks for reading!

I am terminating my contract with Humana People to People and ADPP a month early. I will be heading home next Tuesday. I have many reasons for this decision which I'll get into later.The weather is dipping low right now. We've had freezing cold evenings where I lay awake shivering. Evenings so cold, I can see my breath when I am outside drawing water from the well. Yet during the day, the height of the afternoon, it's hot - so hot. I don't understand. This probably explains why I have a cold or maybe a sinus infection. I don't know what I have yet, but it sucks.

In other news, we've now completely run out of water. We've hit the bottom of the well. The only water available is thick  brown and murky. It's pretty disgusting. The water is basically runny mud and smells strange. I'm afraid to bathe. My roomates and I are turning into beasts of the bush. Luckily for me, I'm in town, hence the internet access, where I'll be able to take a hot shower at Akisha's tonight. I feel for our neighbors, we all share this well. I wonder how they are getting by?

To further complicate matters, we've got no gas in which to heat anything  and our "lovely" organization is refusing to pay our gas bill. According to our contract, they are supposed to take care of our gas. This means we have no access to drinking water and we can't cook. We've been waiting on a water filter for three months and it hasn't arrived. The closest bottled water is an hours walk away. The going has gotten tough. I've started to hoard water. I need it to rain so I can collect rain water.

My friend Akisha threw a going away party for me and Wendy on Saturday. It was really nice. Her garden was recently landscaped and the event was beautiful. I made fudge. I ate tons of cheese. We had an enormous cake. There was fresh squeezed passion fruit juice. Life just doesn't get much better.

This week I sat in on a panel at work to grade the students as they take their oral exams in English. It's nice to have work to do. It's nice that we are fed not only bread, but bread with cold egg for breakfast (really tasty actually-just a pinch of salt and ...yum...). It's all a giant mess of course. The oral exams aren't so much oral exams as they are presentations, most of which are not very good. However, when I do get that rare student who nails it, it's exciting. Some of the students have extremely strong futures ahead of them.

Our little dog Macuti, well, the project dog (Clara's four year old daughter Suri's dog to be specific) , is growing up before my very eyes. She now has her real big-dog teeth. I'm proud of her. I watched her develop from a yappy little palm sized creature to an adolescent of sorts. Soon her puppy years will be behind her. They grow up so fast.

Oi my throat is burning.

Time to take some more Sudafed!

There is nothing like a good hot shower. Thank god for my benevolent friends in town with running water and indoor plumbing. So fresh and so clean clean!

Yesterday I said goodbye to Akisha. She left for South Africa for a well deserved month long vacation shortly after hosting our Friday the 13th pow wow. I'll miss you akish-kish. C'ya in New York in December.

One of my favorite things about traveling is the fact that you encounter some of the most amazing people. I have met some of my favorite people while traveling. Travelers tend to be of a different breed. Most of the travelers I have encountered on my sojourns are truly open, genuine, caring, and adventurous people, I appreciate that. I will miss my circle here. It's one of those things I didn't think much about until I had to begin my goodbyes.

I gave a lecture at the Eduardo Mondlane University for Hotel Tourism. It was a very memorable experience. I spoke to a class of second year students about recycling everyday materials to create useful items that can be used in restaurants and hotels. It went over really well. The students were so creative. It looks as though I have inadvertently started a campus recycling club. I can't wait to see what the students come up with. They promise to email and keep me posted.

I spent a good portion of my morning running around the city of Inhambane filming. I want to show everyone what Inhambane looks like because I am certain that this city or town, depending on your perspective, will defy all stereotypes of what a town in Mozambique, in Africa, looks like. I also got some great footage of the beautiful bush.

I regret that it will be a very long time, years, before I see another full moon over the savannah. I am saddened that the milky way won't be the backdrop of my everyday life any longer. I will not miss the insects.

Signing off. Preparing for a girls night out in Tofo- second to last night!

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?

Waiter (yet another tale in one act)

ACT I.(At a cafe)

Waiter: Boa Tarde Sojo: Boa Tarde, I would like the Italian pizza Waiter: Yes, Italian pizza Sojo: Yes, but could I have that without the sausage Waiter: (looks confused) Italian pizza, it comes with sausage Sojo: Yes, I know, but can I have mine without Waiter: It's not possible Sojo: Why? You make the pizzas in the kitchen. Just don't add any sausage to mine please Waiter: It's not possible, it comes with sausage Sojo: Yes, I realize that, but I don't eat meat and I would like everything that comes with the Italian pizza, I just don't want the sausage Waiter: ok Sojo: Thank you, so you will bring me an Italian pizza without the sausage Waiter: No, it's not possible Sojo: You can't just give me the pizza without the sausage Waiter: It's not possible Sojo: I'll have the cheese pizza Waiter: Yes, cheese pizza

TWIDLWNIWNM (Another tale in one act)

Act I.(The teachers office ADPP)

Teacher who I don't like whose name I will not mention: Ah, Sojo, my big boss, how goes it? Sojo: Hi TWIDLWNIWNM: Sojo, yah, I need something Sojo: yes TWIDLWNIWNM: I don't know what we will do Sojo: Why? TWIDLWNIWNM: On the computer, I must make a message to teacher Tracy Sojo: Okay... TWIDLWNIWNM: Well you can do it Sojo: What? TWIDLWNIWNM: Yah! sojo: What do you want me to do? TWIDLWNIWNM: I need you to make an email Sojo: what do you want me to do???? TWIDLWNIWNM: Yah, well you can write it Sojo: You can write your own email TWIDLWNIWNM: No I haven't the know how Sojo: You don't know how? TWIDLWNIWNM: Yes, No, Yes, it's very difficult Sojo: Do you want me to show you how so that it won't be difficult anymore? TWIDLWNIWNM: No you see it's difficult Sojo: No, I'll show you TWIDLWNIWNM: No you will write it Sojo: You need to learn TWIDLWNIWNM: No not today Sojo: You realize I'm going baack to New York soon and then what will you do? TWIDLWNIWNM: (crazy laughter) Sojo: (stone faced silence) TWIDLWNIWNM: Ok so write Sojo: Write what? You're not making any sense TWIDLWNIWNM: (more crazy laughter) Sojo: TWIDLWNIWNM, I'm going to count to three and if you can't tell me exactly what you want I'm walking away...1...2.. TWIDLWNIWNM: Oh Sojo my big boss, come sit, tell teacher Tracy I need some papers Sojo: What papers? You need to be specific. You want me to email Tracy who is back home in Westchester about "some" papers. I don't think she's going to know what you're talking about TWIDLWNIWNM: (even more crazy laughter) Sojo: (eyes become slits) TWIDLWNIWNM: Oh Sojo (pets her on the head as if she is a stupid dog who can't be trained) Yes

RAK-47 WPO (A tale in one act)

It's the blind leading the blind. For the life of me, I can't figure out how anything functions. ACT I. (It's a sunny afternoon. Sojourner is walking down a street past a police station.)

Random AK-47 Wielding Police Officer: You can't pass here Sojo: What? RAK-47 WPO: You can't pass here (he points to the other side of the street) Sojo: I can't walk on this side of the street? RAK-47 WPO: No, other Sojo: Why? RAK-47 WPO: (Points across the street) Sojo: (Begins to cross over to the opposite side of the street) RAK-47 WPO: No! you have to go back Sojo: What? RAK-47 WPO: (Points to the end of the street many yards away) Sojo: (Stares down RAK-47 WO accessing him. He is small, perhaps 5'2" and 90 lbs, she thinks she might be able to take him, then re-considers remembering the large assult riffle which probably isn't actually loaded, but if it were, RAK-47WPO would probably be happy to play target practice with the irritated American. She stares him down and gives in, but first offers up the nastiest snarl she can muster. Pivoting on her heels, she makes her way to the end of the street, crosses over and re-works her way down the street, this time, as requested, on the opposite side of the police station)

Morungulu Beach Weekend

This morning I saw my breath as I was drawing water from the well. It's really getting cold. We're smack dab in the middle of our winter season. I have to wrap myself like a mummy at night in capolanas so I can sleep because it's so chilly and of course I didn't bring enough warm clothes because when I was told I'd be in Mozambique during the winter I grunted and rolled my eyes thinking, yeah, sure, eighty five degrees instead of one hundred. What's that thing they say about hindsight?

I am really letting myself go. I'm barely recognizable. I've begun to do strange things that I wouldn't have done before. A few days ago, I drank water with ants, twigs and debris in it, I figured it was alright because it was boiled. Yesterday, I drank my coffee even though there was a fly in it. I just couldn't be bothered with boiling another pot of water and waiting, waiting, waiting, so I just tipped it on back. I didn't even remove the fly. I've become extremely comfortable with roaches, they don't phase me at all anymore. A few days ago, I swatted one away with my hand because it was crawling too close. Ordinarially, I wouldn't get closer than ten feet of one. I used to drink bottled water, boiled my tap water, but now, here, I've let myself go, for better or for worse.

Who knows how my re-integration into American society will go. I can see myelf now, my hooves, because that is what has become of my feet, will be clickity clacking down the terminal at JFK, my hair will be wild, I'll be dressed in mis-matched capolanas and everyone at the arrivals gate will wince in horror as I trot through and inevitably get detained at immigration. Hmmmmm...

I have seen so many rainbows lately. The cool air has created lots of fog which has created a community of rainbows that seem to link one palm tree to another across the horizon. I try to photograph these rainbows, but they never come out very well so I've given up and I'm taking it all in.

Yesterday, I had my first day back at work since my investigation. It is nice to be back to my regular schedule. I've been keeping busy fine tuning my pre-school curriculum which I think is turning out nicely.

The students have exams all week so my classes are cancelled. I hate when my classes are cancelled, I have so many things I want to do with the students and since I only teach twice a week, I really look forward to my time in the classroom.

I had the best week-end. A few of us rented a bungalow on Morungulu beach, a few hours North of Inhambane. It was beautiful and secluded. We had the beach and the resort to ourselves. I was in heaven. The water was so warm, I was swimming and being tossed around by waves. I collected so many shells, I can now add clam shells to my collection, large hand sized ones for holding jewelry and sage. I wrote poetry, that I'll be kind enough not to share with you and worked on my book. I spent hours meditating and sleeping in the sun. The resort was lovely, I'm definitely going to re- visit for my honeymoon. It works out perfectly that our American summer is the off season for the South African tourists who usually occupy the resort. Ha ha ha ...

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?

From Maputo to Inhambane: A Drama in three acts

Tamika and I had to take the chapa back to Inhambane. We left Machava, the headquarters of ADPP- Maputo around seven thirty am and waited for 30 minutes to catch a chapa to take us to the Junta chopa station. While in the chopa heading towards Junta, the chapa driver decided that he wasn't going to Junta after all. We had of course paid. We of course had tons of luggage. Getting from point A to point B can be so frustrating here. We were dropped off about thirty minutes by foot outside of the Junta station and had no choice but to walk.

When we got to the Junta station already tired, dusty and sweaty, it was a chaotic mess - bus fumes, people, vendors, goats, everything and anything. Immediately, because we wre bogged down with luggage and because Tamika was wearing sunglasses, we got hastled. Men surrounded us demanding to know where we were going. There is always such a bitter fight at these stations to grab Western customers because the price is higher. To tired to fight them off and too disoriented to figure it out myself, I let them lead us towards the Inhambane chapa. We got on.

FYI: A ride from Maputo to Inhambane costs 300 mtc

The man insisted that we pay 475 each. I was so frustrated. I had been living here for months now and knew better. I refused to pay and threatened to leave. I got him to go down to 375 but he wouldn't go any lower. We had no choice so we paid.

MORE FYI: My friend Lynne was in Maputo on a business trip that same week-end and was leaving on the same day. We were going to leave together, but I told her we'd go ahead because we wanted to make it home before dark.


So Tamika and I are sitting on this nearly empty chapa. Slowly it began to fill. An hour passes, two hours pass, three hours pass and we're still sitting. Basically, a chapa will never leave the station until it is full. There are no clear departure and arrival times EVER. We can't get out because the station is dangerous and people are all around waiting to rob foreigners like ourselves and Tamika is still wearing those sun glasses. We couldn't even go to the bathroom because well there was no bathroom and we couldn't leave our bags unattended. So we sat and waited.

Suddenly I look up and there's Lynne. It was completely crazy that I was still sitting in a station in Maputo. I was happy to see her though. We waited for two more hours before the bus pulled out. That means, Tamika and I waited for five hours in a hot chapa. You know how awful it is to wait in a parked car with the windows up in the heat of summer? Well multiply that by ten! By the time we rolled out, I had to go to the bathroom so badly.

The ride was bumpy and crazy. Luckily for me, we stopped at a gas station where I was able to use the bathroom and grab some food. We were so hungry and thirsty as well.

The driver, a few hours into our trip became possessed with a sudden sense of urgency. He wove in and out of traffic. Zipped over potholes. We almost got into a few accidents and about an hour before we reached Inhambane, the chapa broke down. It completely fell apart. This was around 9:30pm. It was pitch black and cold outside. We all had to pile out of the chapa and onto the dark streets in God knows where and were forced to navigate our own way home. No refund!

Luckily I was able to hitch a ride and we made it back to Lynne's in one piece. (She let us spend the night. She lived in town about 20 minutes away from our rural bush abode.)

I swear I will never ever ever rely on transportation across Mozambique. It is so extremely tedious and frustrating. I was surprised, I think I handled it very well. I have become extremely patient and flexible. I guess I had no choice.

For these reasons however, Tamika and I have decided not to risk our sanity again to travel up north even further to Chimoio and Namantanda to visit our friends who are working at sites there, instead we will stay put. Home sweet Inhambane home and lay low for our last week of investigation.


Last night, a bunch of us got together for dinner at Sem Ceremonias. We were eating and having a good time when Wendy, out of nowhere declared that a rabies outbreak had recently been declared in Inhambane province. We scoffed at this news and made jokes."No, ten people have died already. Many dogs have been put down." She was very serious.

After dinner, Lynne, Tamika and I walked through the quiet calm streets of Inhambane towards Lynne's house. It was a beautiful evening, almost a full moon, every pebble on the ground was illuminated. Magnolia blossoms lightly scented the cool breezy air, everything was perfect.

Then, out of nowhere we heard barking. Stopping dead in our tracks, we looked up to see (I kid you not) a pack of about eight dogs barking and running towards us.

I froze, Tamika froze, Lynne began to run, then I began to run followed by Tamika. "Into the truck!" Lynne ordered and jumped into the bed of a pick-up truck that was parked on the side of the street. I needed no convincing. I lept in as limber as a pole vaulter. Tamika was the last one in. Everyone on the street turned to watch the scene. Three girls screaming, being chased by a pack of dogs, clamoring into the back of a parked truck and the dogs as if they didn't even know we were there ran by leaving us petrified and looking like fools, clinging to each other for dear life in the back of someone's vehicle.


Today is my three month anniversary. Time is flying.
Technically, I am on my investigation period. I've been looking forward to this. Friday I went to Maputo to visit Tamika, explore the city and the ADPP project there.I have a new respect for Maputo. I was able to have a good time there this time around, unlike when I first arrived.

Maputo is a city of extremes. In the Maputo Shopping Center (a giant LA style outdoor mall), the prices were so high, I couldn't afford to purchase anything. Clothing at some stores retailed for over two hundred American dollars, jewelry in the thousands. Who were these stores catering to? The stores were basically empty and the workers, friendly and eager to make a sale. Tamika and I smiled and browsed and kept it moving.

We met up with J, who is from Maputo. He and his friend took us around and showed us some sites.
Maputo was as dirty and crowded as I remembered, but it also had charm. The Jardim Tunduro (the botanical garden), was like New York's Central Park, a little oasis of calm and green in the midst of a chaotic pulsing city. The architecture in the park was charming and there was quite the variety of exotic flora.
The National Museum of Art was breathtaking. Mozambique is home to some extraordinary artists. Many of the sculptures and paintings chilled me to the bone as they were the artists response to either colonization or the brutal civil war that followed. I almost expected some of the sculptures to scream out in anguish at any moment shattering the windows and walls.

There were Kentucky Fried Chickens and Domino's Pizza's in Maputo. The KFCs in Maputo were far nicer and cleaner than any KFCs I've ever seen in America.

The restaurant scene in Maputo deserves mention. I am a self-proclaimed foodie and there were several delicious dining venues. Tons of Indian, Chinese, Arabic and Italian food establishments lined the streets. I will say this and I will swear by it, traditional Mozambican food is DELICIOUS and there are so many opportunities in Maputo to sample the local cuisine.The nightlife in Maputo was great. We went out with J and some  of his friends (Maputo locals) who took us to Gil Vissants, a night-club, lounge, live music venue. A local jazz band played the night we went and they were absolutely fantastic. I felt like I was back in New York, the people, the scene, I loved it. There was a great mix of locals and ex-pats. There are so many creative types in Maputo. I think the city is on the brink of some sort of revival. It's going to be great! Keep your eyes on Maputo.

We arrived in Inhambane on Wednesday. Tamika came back with me and is now transferring from the ADPP in Maputo to the one here in Inhambane. Long story short, she was virtually ignored at her project - go figure. She is transferring to Inhambane to attempt to get something out of this volunteer program.The chapa ride back was an adventure, but I don't have time to chronicle it right now since I have a job interview over gmail chat which I will also explain at a later time.

Main Idea: The first part of my investigation period in Maputo went well. The city is lovely and deserves mention and a visit from any of you daring enough to venture to Mozambique!

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!


Today a shipment of books arrived from our headquarters in Maputo.We are in the process of arranging a library for the students. I love organizing things. This brings me back to the days of organizing my classroom library. It was always the most exciting part of starting a new school year. The students at ADPP have some great resources to draw from. It will be interesting to see how the library is utilized over time. Geidre, is in charge of developing a card catalog system of sorts. Lucky girl, she got a specific task to focus her attention on right away.

Island of the Pigs

The days have been flying by. I can't believe it's May. Soon I will be celebrating my third month in Inhambane - my halfway point. When I arrived, it was hot and humid, now, it's chilly and dry. There have been so many changes. When I arrived I was afraid of giant cockroaches, now I ignore them. When I arrived, Tracy was here, having just celebrated her third month anniversary, on Wednesday she will return to New York.

We have a new Development Instructor, a girl named Gierdre. Gierdre is from Lithuania and seems nice. I think she's disappointed with the project as we all were when we first arrived. Hopefully she'll have a better experience here than the rest of us (as far as the project goes). We took her around and introduced her to all of our friends and have shown her the beach and the city. She's off to a good start. She's an assertive one, so that will serve her well. You need to be so blunt here.

I published a travel narrative on the Pilot Guides website about my experience in Ghana at the Cape Coast Castle. The article is located at:

Oh, speaking of new developments, we no longer have Nutella. Nutella ran away one day after she was kicked out of the teacher's office by one of the other teachers. We took her outside the office and she tried to jump in through the window. There are bars seperating the window hole into five small squares. Her head went into one, her paws in another, she almost hung herself. After hoisting her down, Tracy and I walked her through the ADPP gates near the main road thinking she would go home. That was the last we saw of her. Oh Nutella, wherever you are we miss you!

Yesterday, Tracy, Geirdre, Akisha, Lynne, Wendy and I took a trip to Pig Island with a bunch of Akisha's students. It turned out to be a great day. It started off rocky. The students didn't plan well and by the time we arrived at the dock where we were supposed to catch our sail boat that was hired to transport us to the island, the tide was so low the boat couldn't sail. We had to walk for an hour in muddy knee deep water, over sharp stones and shells to the mainland where we had to trek across sand and then through water again to reach the boat that finally took us to the island.

Pig Island is beautiful. It is home to a small traditional village. The island almost seemed empty. We were the only tourists. The Mayor of the village came out and welcomed us and offered us the most amazing coconuts from his palm trees. We spent the day touring the island, relaxing, and picnicking on the breezy beach. I collected two cowry shells (a rare find). My shell collection is growing nicely.

My classes are progressing slowly. Classes were cancelled last week. I did have a student approach me from one of the other classes because he wanted to learn my lengthy version of "Head/Shoulders/Knees and Toes" so that he could teach it to his first graders. I was happy to be of service. Tracy and I put in a proposal for a community literacy program but as with most things it's been brushed to the bottom of the pile. I am really sick of dealing with some of my male colleagues who have clearly never had to work with women before because they can 't stand it when they are challenged. These things drive me crazy and cause me to imagine slamming glass Fanta bottles across their heads, but I try to maintain my composure. Women are definitely second class citizens here and intelligent women with opinions who refuse to take other people's nonsense, seem to make everyone very nervous. Luckily I will be going on my two week investigation beginning on Friday and I won't have to think about ADPP for two glorious weeks, three if I can push it. I do need the break.

Last night we watched the movie "27 Dresses". I was not very impressed but it was nice to see Manhattan, if only for an hour and a half.