I’ve pretty much been staying at my site focusing on work. I did, however, get a chance to slip away for a long weekend/ much needed mental health break back to Angoche (a beautiful beach north of me). This was at the end of June. At the same time we had an actors group from Canada come and work with my girls program for 3 weeks. I think it was a great experience for everyone involved. The girls got to learn new games and I got a sense of home (kind of). The Canadians, on the other hand, got to see for themselves the struggles of Mozambique.
On a sad note, at the beginning of July, my second netbook in Africa and my longtime friend, my blackberry, died within 4 days of each other. I had a bit of an electronics meltdown, but luckily survived. I am now currently using an extra laptop of an amazing American friend at my site and bought a new (less fancy) internet phone. Though I am in a developing country I still gots-ta-have me my email access! I think one of the things that got my through my “crisis” was knowing that I only had a few months left of my service. I also had quite a reality check. I felt so stupid freaking out about this when I am surrounded by people with way worse struggles than I will ever face. I am hoping to bring this perspective back with me to the states. It’s a good lesson for all of us.
Next up, we decided to take one month off at my girls program. My 2 coworkers and myself have been working our butts off since the new year and we figured we deserved a break. Now, normally I would freak out… I have one month off… what am I going to do with myself?! I HATE being bored. But as it turns out this month off has helped me to be the most relaxed I’ve ever been here. I had 2 amazing weeks just at home with no schedule, no responsibility, no worries. One thing I’m really going to miss when I leave is the simplicity that has been my life. In those two weeks I slept in, read, ran errands if needed, watched TV shows from my hard drive, and just relaxed. That was it. 2010 Meagan couldn’t handle it, but 2012 Meagan has thoroughly enjoyed this time.
After 2 weeks I admit I was itching to do something. So I planned a trip with a fellow volunteer and we headed to Vilanculos and Tofo: 2 of the most beautiful beaches in Mozambique. Vilanculos was more business for me. I was there to finish my scuba certification. I had one day of classroom work, testing and a pool dive. The second day was filled with the final 2 open water dives I needed to complete, along with some tasks to receive my certification. Luckily (which I didn’t find out until later was a good thing), I was nervous to do my final dives. That first ever dive where I got extremely seasick and couldn’t even complete the second dive will always haunt me. For a split second I considered myself crazy for even trying to do thing again. Well, as it turns out I did great! I completed the dives/ tasks and got my certification that day. The lucky part I’m told is that divers can get cocky after a few dives and that’s where mistakes are made. Because of that first dive I experienced, I don’t see myself ever getting careless underwater, which will only make me a better diver. My instructors were impressed and I was happy to be out of the “classroom” ready to make my first open water dive without instruction.
We then headed to Tofo beach which is a very popular tourist spot. I instantly fell in love. The town itself was small, but filled with gorgeous houses, hotels and restaurants. I definitely didn’t feel like I was in Mozambique anymore. The first full day there we walked around town, checked out diving/ snorkeling companies and enjoyed the beach. Day 2 was where the real fun starts. I signed up for a morning dive where I ended up being the only one on the boat besides an instructor from the diving company (you never dive alone). It was great. We took our time and saw so many amazing things. On the short boat ride out we spotted some humpback whales. Luckily our dive site wasn’t too far from where we saw them so underwater I could hear them communicating so clearly. It was the most amazing thing I have ever experienced. It literally sent chills throughout my whole body. Right then I knew why I was doing this. I was also excited because in my first 4 dives I never saw a turtle. Well, this time around we spotted a large green turtle just hanging out on the reef. Among other things I saw many times of stingrays, including one the size of my wingspan, a small shark, many amazing fish and yes… I did find Nemo. Granted we were not in the Australia region, I still found him. After an hour, we resurfaced and headed for the shore.
Within 30 minutes I was back on the boat for a sea safari/ snorkel adventure. The goal was to find and snorkel with whale sharks. Unfortunately, the water was pretty choppy that day so no snorkeling or whale shark sightings. What did redeem the trip were the many humpback whales we saw. They are currently hanging out in the area after giving birth, which we got to see: a mom and a calf together. Just as we were about to head back to land we see a blowhole in the distance. Our skipper heads in that direction. Soon enough that humpback was breaching all the way out of the water. What an amazing site. As we got closer, we realized the whale was having a great time. He was bobbing his head in and out of the water and slapping his fin on the surface as if he was waving to us. So cool!
Unfortunately all good things must come to end. After a week of bliss I find myself back at my site and back in my home. I’m happy to be here though and get another week off before the madness of 100 girls starts up again.
I’ve hit my 3 months left mark. What a crazy concept. I’ve realized that my home here is the longest placed I’ve lived consecutively since high school. My time here has definitely gone by fast and I know these last 90 days will fly as well. That’s why I’m not letting anything get to me. I’ve also realized that at times I take for granted where I’m at. So in these last 90 days I’m really going to enjoy the fact that I am in Africa. I’ve had some unforgettable memories here, especially this last trip and I’m so lucky I get to experience all of it… the good and the bad.
I hope everyone is doing well at home. Let’s hope I post another blog before I leave. Otherwise, I‘ll see you all in November. Love you!