It’s been three months since I returned from the Peace Corps in Mozambique.
I deeply miss my rural village in one of the northern provinces in Mozambique, my good neighbors, the sunlit landscape, the sun soaked blue skies, the support of the gritty sandy dirt under my flip-flops or Birkenstocks, the sweaty hot days that could melt pretensions and calories too, the breeze under the mango tree, and the quiet dark nights that lit the way for the new day.
On the other hand, I won’t miss the black scorpions the size of my left hand and the big hybrid looking spider I call The Wobbler, that’s for sure.
I went, yes, but why; the answer is an old and used cliché; I thought the Peace Corps in Mozambique needed me (capital “m”), I was sure of it; but I needed the Peace Corps in Mozambique, with humility that is something I know.
Go Peace Corps, Go Moz.
A Fresh Outlook 09/21/2011
I am still job searching and applied to approximately 7 places over the past two weeks. I returned from Africa almost 2 months ago. My eyes and outlook on things here in the States are still fresh, wide open, positive and grateful. I’m happy to be back with family and friends. However, I sincerely miss Mozambique.
One of my buddies from Moz Facebook’ed me a nice hello a few days ago. And I told him that I missed my village, everyone in in it, and Moz very much. I also miss all of the fresh foods, clean air, beautiful skies, the mountains, but … there are things that I don’t miss like the electricity slapping off in the entire village for long hot hours or extraneously long days and nights. But diner by candlelight proved to be fun and I could always talk and laugh with neighbors under the shade of a mango tree in Mozambique. It truly was the simple things in my village that were sweet and made life without the basics, like houses made according to building codes and bathrooms that flush or running water, enjoyable sans the basic amenities.
The latest book I read was Everything Is Obvious, and now Hamlet is in my queue.
Hip Hop Documentary 08/31/2011
I saw an interesting hip hop documentary the other day about rap group A Tribe Called Quest. It is called Beats, Rhymes & Life. The group was formed when they were young kids. Most of the story takes place in Queens and shows some of the early artist of hip hop culture including Run DMC nominated for a Grammy, and Grammy Award winning artist LL Cool J who’s portrait sits in the National Portrait Gallery in Washington, DC. The documentary about A Tribe Called Quest shares an interesting story, and the soundtrack is a lot of fun.
Saw an interesting hip hop documentary
About A Tribe Called Quest, no not Public Enemy
They were four young men
They didn’t own a Benz
Took the subway, rapped in Queens, and hit the Billboard Charts
They were a talented group who rapped from their hearts
Nominated for a Grammy
Although they didn’t win any
They were an artsy group with a colorful discography
I was visiting the National Air & Space Museum in Washington, DC. It was a hot hot and humid humid day. I opened the doors to the grand museum and was met by a wall of air conditioning. The cool recycled air in the building was very refreshing. I got a bottle of cold water and enjoyed the exhibits.
Post Peace Corps: City Drama & Dog Sitting 08/14/2011
I am still job hunting and applied for 6 research and writing positions last week. I have been back in Washington, DC for approximately three weeks now, and still have a fresh-eyes look on things.
Bad Boys Bad Boys What You Gonna Do, What You Gonna Do When They Come For You...
The other day I was walking to Metro. I crossed the street and a quick scan showed two males sitting on the stairs by the laundromat. It was hot and sunny. A car pulled up to the laundromat powerful and fast. A few guys jumped out of the car, armed and clearly displaying police regalia. Before I could breathe they were standing by the two males and talking to them. I got tense because I expected the two males could run and make things ugly. So I picked up my walking pace and scanned around, no one seemed to be running toward or away from the situation. No loud noises, no arguments, things seemed under control.
Two young women stopped to watch the laundromat scene. One of the women had on khaki colored lipstick, it didn’t look very nice and I hopped it was not a new style. I felt a lot better when I passed by the whole scene, including the two women, and got to the other block. Thought of the theme song to the show Cops, and that the cops handled the situation, whatever it was, very well.
Besides the general drama of the city streets, I had lots of fun dog sitting last week.
The dog is such a good buddy and he’s so cute. When I am walking him, the guys in the neighborhood playfully call out: Hey Fido, Look at Fido, Look at my dog Fido go! It’s playful and funny because the dog’s name is not Fido, but that’s what they call him anyway. And we don’t mind because they call out in good fun.
Post Peace Corps: Metro Art 08/06/2011
Post Peace Corps: Metro Art
I met a local Washington, DC artist while I was riding Metro the other day.
His name is Nikkita and he calls himself a “starving artist.”
I saw him sketching a portrait of a woman at the station where I got on the subway.
When he finished sketching the woman, she said that she didn’t have money to give him but she offered him 2 cigarettes instead. He turned down the cigarettes. A man sitting in the same car, who was sitting by himself and didn’t seem to know the cigarette woman, gave the artist 2 dollars. The woman said thanks, the artist said thanks, and the woman took her portrait.
Nikkita turned to me and asked if he could sketch me. I took off my sunglasses, smiled and said sure.
The artist is really talented. The portrait looks great and he sketched it in about 4 Metro stops.
PBS News Hour featured him in a news story, “Drawing & Hustling in Washington, DC.” Here’s the you tube link…
Post Peace Corps: 3 Funny Things 08/04/2011
I have applied for 4 research and writing positions this week and I live with good friends in DC.
It’s hot here but nothing worth complaining about.
3 funny things I’ve heard this week in DC….
(1) At a retail store…
Woman 1 says: Girl what does this mean? (She holds up 2 dresses) size 1, size 2...
Woman 2 says: What does it matter, you ain’t no size 1 and you definitely ain’t no size 2
This is so funny to me because I missed the Washington, DC flavor and humor
(2) Walking to Metro…
A nice strange man calls out to me and says: Hey baby girl
This is funny because I am 30 … something, but flattered so I smile and say …”hey”
(3) Possibly Intoxicated Man…
On Metro, a man sings to himself and keeps looking over his shoulder at me
I decided he needs attention and didn’t want any trouble so I look straight forward and I say …“uhm humh”
It alleviates an awkward conversation with the possibly intoxicated Metro man
Washington DC still has its humor and all is well
Post Peace Corps, The Simple Things 07/29/2011
I love DC. Who wouldn’t love this fabulous metropolitan area with lots of culture, flavor, fun and experiences. I am still job hunting. I figure it could take 6 - 8 months, or sooner if I am lucky.
I am living with friends and we haven’t got on each other’s nerves yet *smile. In Mozambique for almost a year and I just really forgot about the stress of having just about everything right here within your reach.
For example, seeing CNN news every morning, I was listening to BBC news over the radio every chance I could get in Mozambique in order to stay informed, but here, it is easy to be inundated with news news news beauty beauty beauty & wealth wealth wealth, a fast moving culture. I think it is good sometimes to sit back and reflect on good friends, a warm home, and projects that help the community.
We didn’t have much in my village 3 hours north of the provincial capital and I tell you no plumbing surely is big bummer, and big scary militant bugs, but the people in the village celebrate life. Here, in the U.S., the country I love, it is easy to forget the simple things like just turning on the shower.
Post Peace Corps Umh Humh 07/28/2011
Post Peace Corps…
I am still a little jet lagged but I think that should be over soon.
I rode Metro the past few days and there are some funny folks riding Metro:
First, it sure is wonderful using Metro and seeing the riders on the transit system.
There was one woman who was standing alone in the same car with me. She had a short shinney hairstyle and lots of glittered lip gloss. She was hilarious because she kept looking around at the people near her and saying: Umh Humh, Umh Humh, Umh Hum.
She Was A Riot, lots of “tude” (attitude) and apparently making a non verbal social commentary on the good people that rode in the car with her: Umh, Humh.
I tell ya, I sure did miss the DC flavor, umh humh, and it’s so good to be back home.
I also rode Metro down to the Smithsonians the other day and there is a fabulous Latin Music Exhibit at the International Gallery. Here’s a few pics…
The Peace Corps Experience 07/26/2011
My Peace Corps experience in Mozambique has come to an end and I have safely returned stateside.
I am reacclimating to life before I left and maybe I will blog in the future about what life is like post Peace Corps...
Right now I am experiencing the wow factor. Wow running water, plumbing and air conditioning.
It is amazing how good is it is to be home.
I’m back in DC, job searching and staying with friends.
Road metro today, got a cell phone and nude colored pumps.
Relaxing at home with friends and the a/c is up and on - it is very humid in this fabulous little city, but I think I got a handle on hot climates : )
The Peace Corps really was an amazing experience.
Tracy, Peace Corps in Mozambique October 2010 - July 2011