Well hey there amigo, I humbly want to say thanks for stoppin by and takin interest in what this girl is doing! While you read, Keep in mind that the ideas and thoughts expressed in this thing are mine and do not necessarily represent the views and opinions of Peace Corps or the United States government...blah blah blah...go read!

Monday, June 7, 2010

Island Adventures

To commemorate dia mundial do meio ambiente (environment day or something like that...i dunno, I don't speak English well anymore) a local environmental organization called Primeiras e Segundas put together a rather wonderful educational island excursion. Alex and I were in charge of running a contest at the local schools to select students to go with us on the voyage. We selected 4 wonderful students from Angoche, 2 elementary kiddos and 2 high school students after reading through all their application essays about the environment in Angoche. So on Friday we set off early in the morning on this boat that appears to be more impressive than it really is and arrived late morning at our home for the weekend--the island Abudo Arahamane, aparently named after a guy who lived there alone for many years. He's dead now so his island has been pretty quiet until we made it a field trip destination. Below you will see our arrival and camp sites.

Not bad for a field trip, eh? Anyway, so this particular island was selected because it is situated on the the far side of the Angoche islands (a group of islands clustered so close together in a mix of canals and mangrove swamps between Angoche and the open ocean that it's difficult to distinguish where one starts and the next stops). From this particular island, it's an easier hop over to the chain of islands that are further out in the open ocean--the islands that the project Primeiras e Segundas is focused on.
We were scheduled to make a trip that day to one of the islands called Puga-puga in the Primeiras e Segundas chain. Puga-puga is nesting ground for sea gulls, engangered sea turtles, and a number of other beautifully interesting sea creatures. Unfortunately the wind and waves made the trip a little too dangerous, so we didn't make it there. I think I was even more bummed than the kids were. We did make it to a sand bar named Pinga-pinga. I'm not sure if they were kidding about that being the name. Pinga-pinga or not, we got to hang out for a bit before the sandbar disappeared. Bento and Andre, our fellow teachers we invited to come with us. We told them that guys in America always pose like this for pictures. Suckers.
Definitely our most curious student who we have re-named Pinapple. He found this jellyish thing. I don't know what it is. I'm from Iowa.
Anyway...we were still able to do a number of other activities with the kids including little info sessions about some of the issues specific to this area like trash disposal, uncontrolled burning to clear farmland, sustainable fishing techniques, and mangrove management and planting. Stay tuned for my next blog post for more details on mangrove info, one of the most important focuses of the excursion and the Premeiras e Segundas project. The kids were also part of a ceremony on the Island of Mazuani. The administrator from Angoche, a documentary film crew, a number of different representatives from WWF and Care, the Moz media all showed up so the kids felt pretty darn important. They were all honored for their work and there were some rather long-winded speeches made. Their work was displayed and they recieved their prizes.

These are some of the kids who live on Mazuani. They probably don't see a lot of visitors, so they were quite curious. They also don't speak Portuguese well, so I invited (or forced, rather) my older students to teach them in Koti about what we were doing there. Life on the islands is pretty tough. No electricity, health care, little drinking water, dwindling fish population, difficult transport, and just one teacher for grades 1-7 for everyone. Epa.
I would say the weekend was a success. These kids don't get opportunities like this. None of them had been to the islands before this trip. Yay field trips! Thanks WWF/CARE!

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