Monday, December 20, 2010

Ribaue, Nampula. Lar Doce Lar (Home Sweet Home)

             Me and my roommate Charlie upon arriving at our site. Our second week here, we climbed the peak on the right

The house we're staying at until our new place is ready in mid Jan. The uke and the middle guitar are mine.
Nearly two weeks ago, I arrived in the city that I will be calling home for the next two years. I had no idea what to expect coming here. I was told it was a bit “la” (far away),  being that it takes 3-12 hours to get here from the provincial capital by dirt road (12 hours is a worst case scenario involving a lot of rain, mud, and car issues, which did indeed happen to the volunteer that was here before us).  But I did hear something about mountains, and boy, oh boy, do we have mountains.

Last time I was in Mozambique, I went into Nampula province to camp out for a week. I had no idea where we were, but all I remember is seeing the most incredible mountain-like rock formations ever. Well, low and behold, as we hit the road from the provincial capital to Ribaue the first amazing rock formations we saw were the ones I had seen (and climbed) last time I was here. I took this as somewhat of a sign from above that I was heading to the right place.  A few hours later, we were there, or here (since it is from here, from my new home, that I write to you). And I feel that it's not premature to say that I think I'm really going to like this place.

To begin with, I am living with a super duper awesome guy. His name is Charles Wood, but here in town he introduces himself as Carlos Madeira, and on my phone I have him listed as Charlie Brown (since most people call him Charlie and he went to school at Brown).Let me tell you a bit about this  kid. First, he's pretty darn smart (he scored Advanced High on our language proficiency test, which is what I scored, and he had never spoken a word of Portuguese before coming here; and he majored in Physics, which is what he'll be teaching here; and he reads science blogs; and he's fluent in Spanish and German; and I could probably go on, but he might read this, so I should stop), he's also tall (6'3”), he rock climbs and hikes (we climbed to the top of Mt. M'Paluwe, which has a 5,800 ft peak, this past weekend), and -brace yourself 'cus here comes the best part -he know how to juggle, breathe fire AND ride a unicycle. How many people do you know who could do all those things? I only know one, and his name, as listed on my phone, is Charlie Brown. I'm sure I'll have more to write about him as time goes on, but for now, I'll just say that I'm stoked to be living with him for the next two years.

Also, speaking of housemates, since our brand-spankin'-new apartment won't be inaugurated until mid-January, we've been living with a health volunteer for the time being. Greg Franklin is his name and he's also pretty cool, although I don't think he knows how to ride a unicycle. But it's okay. He has other redeeming qualities to make up for it. First and foremost, he has a sweet tree tattooed onto his chest, and since I have a thing for people with tree tattoos, I figured he can't be that bad. Greg hales from good ol' Oklahoma and comes from a family of Bounty Hunters. No joke. A few nights ago, he was showing us videos of his mom tazing some lady. He also has some footage of himself being tazed and tazing others, since he too was a Bounty Hunter for a minute(I know that I'm not supposed to capitalize Bounty Hunter, but it's such a bad-a$$ job that I feel that it deserves it). Oh! And he was a college football player and he nearly made the cut to be on Survivor. When that didn't work out, he decided that Peace Corps would be the next best thing. So even though Charlie can unicycle and I could play a few instruments, Greg could probably singlehandedly crush us both at the same time, leaving us incapable of showing off our talents to the world. Thankfully, however, he's a very kind person, and would never do such a thing to us. But he would do such a thing to anyone who threatens him or his girlfriend (he always walks around with a knife, and in college, he always carried a gun.) Greg also just got a video projector, so we've been projecting movies onto a white sheet in our little African adobe house, making for a pretty sweet home theater experience. His girlfriend has also been here for the past week, which has been lovely, since she's a cool person AND and amazing cook. I haven't had an unsatisfying meal yet, and that's saying a lot since the only fresh ingredients in the market seem to be tiny tomatoes, green peppers, and onions. One night, she, her name is Megan, and Greg made chicken burritos with homemade tortillas. It was definitely the best meal I had had in a minute (in Miami, “a minute” means “a very long time”).

Enough about my living experience. Well maybe I should mention that I've been sleeping in the living room, depriving me of any personal space. But I think I actually prefer it that way.  And our electricity goes out almost everyday for a little bit of time.
There's a lot more to say, but I guess I could save it for a future post since this one is getting pretty long.


  1. Hey Daniel, this is Dad.
    I like Charlie and Greg a whole lot. I think they are really cool, each in their own unique way. Tell them I said hi!

  2. The Chinese are everywhere. 0_o