It’s been over four years since I sat down for my first day of study abroad orientation, in São Paulo. The first thing the professor told us was “for the first couple of weeks, there will be things that will shock you, surprise you, confuse you… write them down because soon you’ll be used to them” and so I did. Or so, I tried.
So when I moved to Mozambique, I thought I’d do the same…. but life caught up and I forgot. After some time, life here seems normal. My house quickly became a home, and the things that annoyed me (roosters at 4am), confused me (the call to prayer), shocked me (blatant low level corruption in schools), soon became the norm.
I’ve always thought that a home is where my family is, but even without them, Malema quickly moved from being where my house was, to where my home is. It all came full circle when after 21 months in country (almost exactly!), mom and my littlest (taller than me) sister stepped off of a teeny 37 seater airplane into the lovely Nampula airport.
Full circle. Worlds collide. I assumed that because I’ve called home (almost) every single day since I’ve arrived to Mozambique, my mom would not be shocked/surprised/confused about anything. But I’m especially thankful for having a visita here, which helped me see both Malema (and the rest of Nampula) with new eyes while also reinforcing everything I’ve loved about this country for the past 21 months. (especially the people, who are ever so hospitable, but also the food, the mountains, the oceans, the school including the indisciplinados…)
I will never be able to choose an eloquent set of words to explain the emotions, (including the tiniest bit of frustration), awe, and happy tears, that I had for Mom and Pauline who stayed in my little house in Malema for four nights and were patient, polite, and understanding (turns out DuoLingo Portuguese really works!) with me, my neighbors, my school, a district science fair that started with a three hour delay, countless photoshoots with my friends, eating chicken without utensils, and all with minimal food poisoning (though that last point was probably just good luck).
Most of these pictures are stolen from their cameras, since they saw everything with fresh and bright eyes and gave me a new appreciation for the beauty of Malema, Ilha, and even Nampula City.
Without further ado, my favorite pictures of our time in Mozambique together.
Ps. If by chance there are any Peace Corps families contemplating visiting…. I highly recommend it! Clearly, I reaped the benefits (restaurant meals, hotel beds, an entire suitcase filled with snacks and dictionaries for my students!) But it was so beneficial for me to see that there was someone from home who lived a piece of minha realidade.