Hello! I am recording from Mozambique, Africa. I am now a Peace Corps volunteer. I have been offline for a while because of so many things that I will discuss. For now, I am back and hope to post more often.
"Oh, my back still hurts," Jim groaned as he sat on the bed and bent over to pick up his shoe.
"Why don't you try a massage?" His wife asked. "My friend Carol swears massage is the only thing that can help her back pain."
Jim sighed as he tied his shoe. "I suppose I have tried everything else. The chiropractor says my back is fine, just the muscles are tight. My doctor gave me muscle relaxants, which I don't like to take, and our insurance only covered four physical therapy visits. Massage can't hurt my back any more than it already does, I guess."
I have been in Mozambique for three months now. I just finished my training and have sworn in as a Peace Corps volunteer. I have been keeping a journal since I arrived, but I have yet to blog about my experiences. When asked, I have had difficulty articulating my reasons.
To start, how does one honor a place like this? I want to convey the beauty and splendor of Mozambique, but I am here because there are very real challenges as well. I want to discuss the poverty here, but I do not want to engage in "poor-nography" and typecast a people who are so much more than Americans realize. I want to be cognizant of the dangers inherent in Africa, but I do not want to dishonor the incredible friends and families that have opened their arms and homes to me.
I walk around, a sole white person, an American, and realize the awesome responsibility that I have. I may well be the only experience they may have with an American, and I must be respectful. People stare at me as I walk around. …
One of the most difficult challenges for me in the Peace Corps is learning to live with discomfort and do it anyway. Every day, I am faced with the urge to just hide out in my house and avoid people. At least in my home, I don't have to worry about not being able to communicate, or risking people staring or laughing at me. I have worked myself into low-level anxiety over taking a chapa to town. I have mentally stubbornly refused to stand up in front of people for a palestra (health demonstration). I have mentally rebelled 100 times from a task, simply because I know it is new for me, and I will be stretching my abilities to try it.
The thing is...it always works out. It is never as bad as I feared, and I feel a great sense of accomplishment afterward.
Case in point, yesterday, I was sitting in my room and sewing. I was trying to figure out what I was going to do for the day, and wondering when and how I would meet children and start a youth group. I have been very concerned about th…