When I left the United States over three years ago I was at first made of stone. I was so eager to get out that I didn’t realize all that I was leaving behind me for three years. I have missed weddings, the births of two of my best friends babies, birthdays, wedding anniversaries and the many, many family trips that my family decided to plan yearly only during the years I was abroad. My mother moved in with her boyfriend. Both my parents has surgery. All of these are memories of happenings that really didn’t happened to me.
Instead of all these memories that didn’t happen to me, I have a whole new set of memories that did happen to me while I was in Mozambique. I have seen deserted islands, farmer fields, reed houses, rains, not much while at the oh-so-frequent power outages, bonfires at the beach, bonfires in the middle of classrooms, a student punching a teacher, political turmoil, fallen bridges, flooded houses, found great friends, went to the Mosque, learned about Islam, loved and lost. All of these memories are now a part of the fabric that makes me. I have eaten with my hands, tried all sorts of foods, laughed, danced, traveled, seen countless species of animals, traveled by boats, trucks, buses, small airplanes, big airplanes. I can’t even start to think that all of these things will soon make up the great memory of my time as a Peace Corps volunteer. They will all probably melt into one, big happy memory that I will forever have.
Forgetting is my main fear. I don’t want to lose track of the names and faces of the people who call me their friend here. Suaibo, Xirikaka, Amiga, China, Americana, Macunha or whatever else. I am already having trouble sleeping because I keep forgetting the names to the faces of some people, and then find myself going through my phone looking for the names. Isaias, Hilario. Silly me, forgetting already.
And then there’s Angoche.
I have lived in what can only be described as paradise for the past three years. I shared this place for two of those years with my dear friend Anneke. I have also made so many friends here. They still all call me teacher, even though I haven’t been one in a year. They always reprimand me for being sumida. They bring produce to my house when it is plentiful, and many times ask for money in the not-so-plentiful days. They tell me that I can’t leave my familia behind. As I was peeling potatoes for about two hours with one of my friends, I realized I am as close as I can get to being a local in Angoche. Still, she kept making fun of my potato-peeling methods, but whatever.
So here are some of the faces that have made my life better here. I beg never to forget about them. To always remember them.