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So I’ve had a few complaints that I haven’t been updating this blog enough so my apologies and a promise that I will attempt to write more. First of all- thank you so much to everyone for all of the birthday wishes! On April 1 (Dia De Mentiras here in Mozambique) I turned 24 (scary!) and passed the mark for living in Moz for 6 months! Although my day wasn’t terribly exciting, our Health APCD (in charge of the Health sector here) did pull a good prank and unfortunately Michelle Obama will not be visiting this wonderful country and even more unfortunately will not be coming to visit me personally in Mopeia. But I did make a pretty good cake in my dutch oven and my neighbor’s cat, Pikachu, enjoyed it more than anyone else. So I’m another year older and hopefully a little wiser and so very appreciative for all of the kind notes and words of encouragement that I received from so many people!
I did get to do something really amazing on my birthday, which is going to be part of my normal routine as I’m starting to figure out my work schedule and how I can be most effective in my efforts here. In the afternoon I went out with a group of Activistas in the bairro A Luta Continua. We all went on bikes (which was a lot easier after the Activistas pointed out that I didn’t have air in either of my tires), and we went to visit some of the beneficiaries of Save The Children’s home based care program. These Activistas regularly visit their beneficiaries to check on them, make sure they’re taking their medications, see how the children are doing, and even feed and bathe some of them if needed. So my role right now is mostly to observe how the visits are being conducted and if I see any areas that can be improved or if I can support the Activistas to provide better care to the community. This job is sad, I see a lot of sad things and I’ve questioned so many times why there is so much suffering in this world, but these Activistas are so amazing it’s really inspiring. These are just people from the community who are volunteering to take on this role and receive so little in return. They are paid a very small incentive each month, but it’s not enough to convince someone who isn’t completely dedicated to this type of work to go out every day and care for their neighbors. The Activistas led me through windy, sandy paths, through overgrown wheat fields, and past beautiful, giant cashew trees to several small mud houses so we could talk to these families.
One of my roles is to make sure that they are checking on the children of the beneficiaries to see if they are studying, if they are sick themselves and need to be accompanied to the hospital, and if they have any other needs that we might be able to help them with. The thing that amazes me time and time again is how tough these kids are. We met one boy probably about 10 years old whose mother died last month so he’s now living with his grandmother who is a beneficiary and very ill. This little boy told us he wants to be a doctor and showed us his notebook from school. It’s filled with beautiful drawings and he was a little embarrassed at all the compliments we gave him. For me it’s hard to imagine a child going through such horrific events, but for many it’s the reality here. But this child wants to go to school and dreams of becoming something great so he does what he has to do, he survives. The resiliency here is incredible. I am so incredibly lucky to be such a small part of this amazing program.
On a different note, I went on a small vacation a few weeks ago. We had a conference with all of the health volunteers in Nampula to talk about how our first 3 months living at site went and to share our experiences with each other. It was so nice to reconnect with friends that I hadn’t seen since I moved to Mopeia! After the conference about 10 of us traveled to the coast to Ilha de Mocambique. I think this is one of the most beautiful sites in the world. The water is crystal clear, there are white sand beaches, and there is so much history. We took a boat across to a beach called Carrusca which was incredible so we spent a couple days relaxing. We went back to Ilha for a day and took a tour of the museum and fort and did some shopping (capulana pants, a ring made out of an old piece of Portuguese tile, and 2 beautiful bead necklaces for less than $20!). It was great to be able to travel with friends and to see another part of Mozambique. This country is so beautiful!
Hopefully by the next time I post a blog update it will be less than 100 degrees here and maybe we’ll be starting this winter everyone keeps promising me is coming. The market is full of pumpkins and squash so I’m hoping that’s a sign that colder weather is on its way. Also hopefully I will have received the packages sent in January by Mom, Dad, Judie, Chase, Ash, and everyone else (maybe if I put good vibes out into the universe they’ll actually make it to me?), so thank you so much for trying to get me some candy and other treats! I miss everyone and hope all is well at home. Send me updates, questions, comments, whatever! Tchau!

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Address

Jordan Rief, PCV
Corpo da Paz/U. S. Peace Corps
Av. Do Zimbabwe 345
CP 4398
Maputo
Mozambique

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The contents of this blog are my personal thoughts and opinions. They do not represent the views or official policies of the Peace Corps or of the U.S. government.

Peace Corps Moçambique