Sunday, November 17, 2013

10. Namaacha

After a two-year absence, it was wonderful to return to our old training town of Namaacha.  In a way, it was a fitting end. 

More than two years ago, we stepped off the plane in Maputo International Airport.  We were overwhelmed and unsure, each of us gathering our courage and questioning the series of rash decisions that led us to that particular moment.  We barely spoke Portuguese.  Most of us had little to no experience teaching.  We had never set foot in Africa.

To come back again, and return to Namaacha after two years of service, really and more than anything marked the end of our Peace Corps experience.  We had come full circle.

It was then that we could see how far we’d come, and how very much we’d grown. 

Our old language teachers were overjoyed to see us, and cooed about our burgeoning lingua.

“Why, you barely spoke when you left here!”  They said.  “You just waved your arms around-- yes, like that-- and stuttered.  And now, look at you!  You’re a Real Mozambican!”

The sprawling hills of Namaacha 
A large house in Namaacha
In Namaacha
In Namaacha
In Namaacha
In Namaacha
A beautiful, tree-lined avenue
The famous cathedral in Namaacha
Jamie and her host sister, Benilde
The well-stocked market
At the German Bakery
The German Bakery in Namaacha

Compared to Zobue, Namaacha looked fancy and chique and ornately rich.  For the first time, I realized that I was seeing a completely different side of Mozambique. 

Tete Province, my old home, was in a much poorer region of this developing nation.  The province was a part of the country that was poor and underprivileged, but growing all the same.  It had been relatively untouched by tourism, and in a corner of the world that I would have never gotten to know if I had never joined the Peace Corps. 

I have been intensely privileged to have experienced both sides of Mozambique, and for that I am intensely grateful.  

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