on travel, thoughts, and the art of short fiction

Island of the Pigs

In Mozambique on May 4, 2008 at 1:19 am

The days have been flying by. I can’t believe it’s May. Soon I will be celebrating my third month in Inhambane – my halfway point. When I arrived, it was hot and humid, now, it’s chilly and dry. There have been so many changes.

When I arrived I was afraid of giant cockroaches, now I ignore them. When I arrived, Tracy was here, having just celebrated her third month anniversary, on Wednesday she will return to New York.

We have a new Development Instructor, a girl named Gierdre. Gierdre is from Lithuania and seems nice. I think she’s disappointed with the project as we all were when we first arrived. Hopefully she’ll have a better experience here than the rest of us (as far as the project goes). We took her around and introduced her to all of our friends and have shown her the beach and the city. She’s off to a good start. She’s an assertive one, so that will serve her well. You need to be so blunt here.

I published a travel narrative on the Pilot Guides website about my experience in Ghana at the Cape Coast Castle. The article is located at: http://www.pilotguides.com/community/travel_writers/ghana_door_no_return.php

Oh, speaking of new developments, we no longer have Nutella. Nutella ran away one day after she was kicked out of the teacher’s office by one of the other teachers. We took her outside the office and she tried to jump in through the window. There are bars seperating the window hole into five small squares. Her head went into one, her paws in another, she almost hung herself. After hoisting her down, Tracy and I walked her through the ADPP gates near the main road thinking she would go home. That was the last we saw of her. Oh Nutella, wherever you are we miss you!

Yesterday, Tracy, Geirdre, Akisha, Lynne, Wendy and I took a trip to Pig Island with a bunch of Akisha’s students. It turned out to be a great day. It started off rocky. The students didn’t plan well and by the time we arrived at the dock where we were supposed to catch our sail boat that was hired to transport us to the island, the tide was so low the boat couldn’t sail. We had to walk for an hour in muddy knee deep water, over sharp stones and shells to the mainland where we had to trek across sand and then through water again to reach the boat that finally took us to the island.


Pig Island is beautiful. It is home to a small traditional village. The island almost seemed empty. We were the only tourists. The Mayor of the village came out and welcomed us and offered us the most amazing coconuts from his palm trees. We spent the day touring the island, relaxing, and picnicking on the breezy beach. I collected two cowry shells (a rare find). My shell collection is growing nicely.

My classes are progressing slowly. Classes were cancelled last week. I did have a student approach me from one of the other classes because he wanted to learn my lengthy version of “Head/Shoulders/Knees and Toes” so that he could teach it to his first graders. I was happy to be of service. Tracy and I put in a proposal for a community literacy program but as with most things it’s been brushed to the bottom of the pile. I am really sick of dealing with some of my male colleagues who have clearly never had to work with women before because they can ‘t stand it when they are challenged. These things drive me crazy and cause me to imagine slamming glass Fanta bottles across their heads, but I try to maintain my composure. Women are definitely second class citizens here and intelligent women with opinions who refuse to take other people’s nonsense, seem to make everyone very nervous. Luckily I will be going on my two week investigation beginning on Friday and I won’t have to think about ADPP for two glorious weeks, three if I can push it. I do need the break.

Last night we watched the movie “27 Dresses”. I was not very impressed but it was nice to see Manhattan, if only for an hour and a half.

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