Thursday, July 20, 2006

Welcome message

Welcome to my blog, I thought I'd start out with some simple info.

Right now I am still in Springfield, Missouri, working part time at the Springfield Regional Arts Council. My other part time "job" is doing random things the Peace Corps asks of me. They like to keep me on my toes by only giving the bare minimum of information. I know I'll be in Mozambique teaching english at a secondary school, but in what town/city I have no idea. I've stopped worrying and fretting over what's going to happen, I'm looking at it as an adventure. That is one thing I am sure it will be.
Along with the voluminous paperwork assigned to me by the Peace Corps, I'm also in the process of reading as much as I can about Mozambique. I purchased and have recently began reading "A Complicated War: The Harowing of Mozambique" by William Finnegan. It's about the long and bloody civil war between Frelimo, the ruling government of post-colonial Mozambique, and Renamo, a rebel army, which lasted for 16 years, beginning in the mid-1970s. Its pretty interesting stuff. It is not a scholarly history book, Finnegan writes of his time spent in Mozambique as a journalist, trying to cover a war that had no fronts, only burned and bombed-out cities and millions of displaced citizens, known as deslocados.

For anyone who is curious, here is my schedule for my time in the Peace Corps:

September 25th-27th: Staging. This is somewhere in the US (I won't know where until 3-5 weeks before I leave. Like I said, they like to keep me on my toes. I feel like I'm a lowly spy and all my information is on a "need to know basis.") At staging I will meet fellow volunteers going to Mozambique. I will also get my airline tickets there, along with vaccinations.

September 28th: Travel. My port of entry into Mozambique is the capital Maputo, which is not far from Johannesburg, South Africa. I've made the trip from JFK to Johannesburg, and it is long (I can't find a G-rated expression to describe its length and uncomfortableness).

September 29th-December: Training. My training consists of intensive Portuguese language classes, training on how to teach an english class to students where english is not their native language, and how to live in the country. How to live in the country means not only how to be safe and healthy, but how to acclimate to the culture and become an active member of the community I live in.

December 2006-December 2008: Service. For two years I'll be teaching english. I won't just be teaching classes, I'll also be writing curriculum and assisting in administrative duties at the school. I'm also looking forward to the extra duties I will performing in the community. Peace Corps encourages (perhaps requires is a better term) that I participate in community projects. That means I'll probably be teaching community english classes when I'm not teaching at school. I'm pretty sure Peace Corps lets you create your own "extracurricular" project, so I'm excited about that.

All right, that's enough information for now. I'm planning on posting again before I leave to give you my thoughts on why I'm going. That might be a question you've thought about already. Enjoy your summers everyone, and don't hesitate to shoot me an email or respond to my post.

Take care,

Peter