The Last One

 

Six days.

That’s how long I have left in Alto Molócuè.

I have spent the last several days painfully processing my upcoming departure. I’ve started counting my “lasts”—last lesson plan, last school meeting, last dinner with my sitemate. And, I’ve started saying goodbye to people that I care about: tears welling up in my eyes as they say, “Maybe you’ll come back to visit,” even though we both know that we may never see each other again.

For as long as I can remember, I have kept a journal. I’ve always used writing as a way of working through my thoughts, as a way of understanding what I’m feeling and why, by keeping a conversation with myself. When blogging has been hard in Peace Corps, and I didn’t know how to publicly share my experience, I’ve continued my journal. Yesterday morning, I sat down to write, to process the goodbyes and the glass case of emotion in which I’m currently trapped, and I couldn’t. For the first time in my life, I am at a loss for words.

I have been thinking a lot recently about the process of saying goodbye when I left for Mozambique over two years ago. I rented out space in a bar on the Lower East Side, where all my college friends bought me drinks and said they couldn’t wait to hear all my stories from Moz. I ordered pizza (fine, I’ll be honest, it was like four pizzas and also garlic sticks) and watched a marathon of The Simpsons with a close friend about to make his own big move; we talked about how our lives might look in 2016. I stayed up late drinking wine and binge-watching Breaking Bad with my mom, confiding in her that I was scared, while she reassured me that I would do great things and that she couldn’t wait to see me shine.

In all of those cases, and so many more, we talked about coming back together. Two years seemed so long when I was 22, and still feels long at 25, but two years will pass. Now, saying goodbye to Mozambique, I have no idea if I will come back (or, if I do come back, if I’ll get to see all the people who have meant so much to me). Two years is hard, but what is that compared to a lifetime?

This morning I re-read my very first blog post. I wrote that I was “standing right on the edge of this journey, so close to what always seemed so far.” More than two years later, I find myself in a similar position—on the brink of what often seemed unachievable. In my dreams of being joining Peace Corps, I could always imagine leaving for my service, but I could never imagine coming home.

I spend my days trying to memorize every detail of my life here—the smell of laundry drying in the sun, the brightness of the full moon that renders my headlamp unnecessary, the sound of my foster mom’s laugh. I am trying, in vain, to cling to all the things about Mozambique that I have loved, hated, and struggled with over the course of my time here. I am trying to come to terms with the work I have done, knowing that “though it may be incomplete, it is a beginning, a step along the way.”

I am leaving Alto Molócuè more humbled and more grateful than I ever thought possible. I am leaving without words for all that I feel and have felt here. I am leaving with a heart full to bursting of memories and moments that will bring me joy for years. And yet, I am leaving.

This will be my last blog post—maybe forever, maybe just for now. After all, I called the blog “Where’s Cathy?,” and who knows where life will take me next? If you’ve kept up on my journey, I thank you so much for your support over these years.

Até a próxima.

That Once-in-a-Lifetime Feeling

How do I begin to write about the end? This question has been looming over me for the last few months, and I’ve been putting it off… and off… and off. Honestly, dear readers, I have been avoiding you. I’m sorry.

It’s not that I haven’t been thinking about you. No, really, it’s not you, it’s me! And I’ve tried and tried to blog the last couple of months. I have the following four unfinished and unpublished blog posts saved on my computer:

On Loss, which I wrote after my house was broken into

To Tell the Truth, in which I attempted to explain the bad days that happen alongside the good days

– an untitled post about JUNTOS, the national project I coordinate which is every bit as rewarding as it is challenging; and

The Care and Keeping of Moz, a post about the differences of growing up and going through puberty in my own life vs. the experience of young people in Mozambique

But… I never finished them. I’m not totally sure why. I guess each one felt a little forced, and each one didn’t feel completely honest, like there were larger things I was ignoring by writing one of these posts. As a blog reader, maybe you wouldn’t have noticed. As the blog writer, I felt overcome by the lack of things in these topics, by the inability to say everything I wanted to say, by what I viewed as gaping holes in my narrative of my Peace Corps experience.

But this morning I woke up and realized I am six weeks away from finishing my service, and I’m running out of time.

This blog has often been less about what I’m doing and more about how I’m feeling. And how I’m feeling is… complicated. I’ll break it down as a list, in an effort to explain the mess going on in my head and my heart.

  1. I’m ready to leave. I think the time has come. I’m ready not to find beetles in weird corners of my house, not to have spiders drop on my head during my bucket bath. I’m ready not to take a bucket bath anymore! I’m tired of teaching, of being yelled at and called “whitey” while I go to the market, of everyone asking me to marry them and take them back to America with me… I’m ready to leave all the frustrating and annoying parts of Mozambique behind.
  1. I’m heartbroken over leaving. Knowing that I’ll most likely never come back to Alto Molocue, never see my students or friends or neighbors again is almost too much to handle. I won’t see 3-year-old Raimundo grow up, or see 11-year-old Guebuza become an adult. I’ll miss birthdays and holidays and weddings and funerals for the rest of my life.
  1. I’m excited to be back. I miss my friends. I want to hug my dad and kiss my mom. I want to go on an actual date with my boyfriend instead of skyping. I can’t wait to have a normal social life, rather than hitchhiking 200+ kilometers to hang out with a friend. Celebrating Christmas, wearing a sweater, eating ice cream… I could write a whole blog post on this alone.
  1. And, I’m anxious about being back. I need to find a job, find an apartment, and navigate transitioning into real adulthood. (Seriously, how do you work full time and go to the gym and cook dinner and go grocery shopping and do laundry and everything else in one day?! Someone please tell me.) But more than that, I’m nervous about meshing my Peace Corps life with the life I had back in the US. I want to remember Mozambique, but I don’t want to cling to it too hard. I want to be able to talk about it, but I don’t want to annoy people by starting every sentence with “Well when I was in Peace Corps…” I want to maintain relationships with my Peace Corps friends and pick up old relationships that have fallen by the wayside while I’ll been off on this journey. Do I even know how to have normal interactions with people? I certainly don’t know how to dress myself…
  1. I’m stunned that it’s actually ending. Peace Corps is something I have dreamed of doing since I was 15. It’s a goal I’ve been working towards for years, and to have now reached the end of it is a little jarring. I feel kind of a sense of loss for this dream, knowing that I will never again be able to recreate it, and that my service has truly been a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

I have 43 days* left in Alto Molocue, 48 days in Mozambique. I have 6 weeks of teaching, 4 lessons to plan, 2 tests to grade, 2 grants to report on… You get the idea. I’m at a place where counting down isn’t as ridiculous as it once might have been (you know, when I got here and had 778 days left in Moz).

*I started writing this post a week ago and nearly fainted when I changed this number.

I am completely overwhelmed by maneuvering the end and by the upcoming transition, but it’s all happening whether I’m ready or not. So all I can do is soak up the moments as much as I can. Here’s to the beginning of the end.

Stomping Out Malaria in 2016

Every April, PCVs across the world get involved with malaria prevention activities. You might remember from my blog post in 2015 that malaria is a serious illness for which about half of the world’s population is at risk. 90% of malaria deaths occur in Africa. Malaria prevention is a key area Peace Corps is involved in. So, this year, I’m dedicating my Stomp Out Malaria blog post to a description of our work to combat this deadly disease.

Why do we need malaria prevention?

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Malaria exists in all corners of Mozambique. Zambézia province, where I live, has the highest malaria rates in the country. PCVs often talk about malaria as this big, scary illness, but many people around us don’t take it as seriously or are not aware of the dangers it poses. Educating our communities about the risks and helping them gain access to information or nets is a key part of preventing the illness.

While malaria is not contagious in the usual sense (if I’m sick and sneeze on you, you’re not going to catch it), it still spreads more quickly in regions where people are already sick. Since the malaria parasite lives in your blood, when you are bitten by an uninfected mosquito, that mosquito can then start to be a carrier of malaria and can transmit the disease to your neighbors, friends, and coworkers. The more we can help individuals prevent malaria, the better off the whole community will be.

What do we do?

Education is a big part of our antimalarial work. There is a lot of misinformation (or just lack of information) out there, and some of what we do is to help people more accurately understand malaria, including its causes, symptoms, and treatment.

There are a lot of myths about how you can catch malaria. Some common ones I hear are drinking dirty water, having trash around your house, wearing dirty clothes, and not bathing. It makes sense that health is associated with cleanliness, but in the case of malaria, I’m not going to get sick from simply skipping my morning banho. Helping people understand how exactly they get sick is important to them preventing the illness in the first place.

Knowing the symptoms and treatment of malaria is also important. We try to teach people that it’s important to start taking medicine right away so that they don’t get even sicker. In some parts of Mozambique, the government sponsors indoor residual spraying (IRS) in homes around the community to prevent mosquitoes. Often people are unsure of what is being sprayed, the safety and efficacy of the chemicals, or even who on earth is coming to their home. PCVs can also play an important role in explaining the IRS process.

Some PCVs go beyond education on malaria and are able to distribute nets. Giving out long-lasting insecticide-treated bed nets (and showing how to hang and use them) can be a valuable way for people to access a potentially life-saving item they might not otherwise afford (or prioritize, even if they have the money).

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Possibly the most important item I own in Moz: my mosquito net!

Sadly, these nets sometimes are not used for their intended purpose, and end up aiding in fishing or gardening, or even being cut up for cloth. It’s important for the net distributors to check in with the community and see how they are using the nets and if they understand what the nets are for.

Is it working?

 It’s hard to say. All of my students know that malaria is a serious illness, but sometimes that means that anytime someone is really sick, they assume it’s malaria. They know that sleeping under a net is a crucial way to avoid mosquitoes, but often say they don’t because the net makes them hot (it’s true—pretty difficult to get any breeze under there). However, my students, coworkers, and neighbors all tell me they go straight to the hospital when they suspect malaria and take their medicine faithfully. Scientists are also making headway on a malaria vaccine, which would truly change the lives of people in places like Mozambique. All we can do in the meantime is try to make small changes—one more family that sleeps under a net, one more person who knows where to get medicine at the hospital. Little by little, pouco á pouco, we can begin to stomp out this disease.

FAQ: Teaching in Mozambique

Before I jump into this post, I need to write a major disclaimer: the information that follows is about the school where I teach. While some of the underlying issues are general to Mozambique, this in no way reflects the experience of every volunteer in country. This is my reality, and though others can relate, I don’t want to be speaking for them.

Phew, glad that’s out of the way. I realized recently that I have written a lot about my personal experience as a PCV, but very little about my primary project, which is teaching at a secondary school. So, I’ve compiled some answers to the questions people most often ask me about my job as a teacher at Escola Secundaria Geral de Alto Molocue (General Secondary School of Alto Molocue).

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The center of our school grounds

What do you teach?

I teach 10th and 12th grade computers. The subject is called TIC, or Information and Communication Technologies. (And yes, I teach in Portuguese!)

How often do you teach?

I see 8 classes (a group of students is called a turma) for 90-minute periods once per week each.

How many students do you teach?

This year, I officially teach a whopping 664 students! This averages out to about 120 students per 10th grade turma (yikes) and 75 students per 12th grade turma.

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A 10th grade turma

How big is your school?

This year, ESGAM has 81 teachers and approximately 4500 students in 8th-12th grade.

What’s a normal school day like for your students?

My students are in school for five hours per day, Monday through Friday. They have six 45-minute class periods per day. In 10th grade, they take 13 subjects, while in 12th grade, they take 9. The students stay in the same classroom all day, and the teachers rotate, which means teachers don’t have a chance to decorate the classrooms or leave up posters of information.

School is divided into morning (half of 8th grade, 10th, and 12th), afternoon (the rest of 8th, 9th and 11th), and evening (8th-12th night students, typically adults) classes. Three different turmas thus share each classroom, so they don’t get to make the room their own, either.

How is the school year organized?

Mozambican secondary schools have three 13-week trimesters: February-May, May-August, and September-November. The last week of each trimester is used for provincial exams, which every grade level takes as a final in all of their core subjects. This does not include TIC, but does include things like Portuguese, Math, English, Biology, etc. In November/December, 10th and 12th grade have to take national exams in these same subjects in order to pass to 11th grade or to graduate. (Think standardized state testing in the US but on steroids.)

What are some of your biggest challenges with teaching?

Damn. Where to start? I’ll just pick three things.

First: the class sizes. It’s simply not possible for one teacher to meet the needs of 120 students at once. It can be hard to control the classroom, and it’s very difficult to make sure everyone is following along. Sadly, a lot of students get left behind this way. (Also, with big turmas like this, a lot of students sit on the floor, which makes everything harder. My 10th grade classrooms have around 30 desks each, while my 12th graders have about 25. They sit three to a bench.)

Second: student absence. In my 12th grade turmas, I usually have about 20 students absent on any given day. Sadly, this number increases throughout the school year, and students that were regulars in February will slowly stop coming as the year goes on. Absence from school, in my experience, disproportionately affects female students.

Third: our computer lab. I am at a school lucky enough to have a lab, but many items are broken or have been stolen over the years. Currently we have about six working computers, but only one mouse. This means the lab is pretty unusable for turmas of 75 or 120, so we are mostly limited to what I can explain on the blackboard.

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My only materials. At least I have colored chalk!

What are your favorite parts about teaching?

Teaching TIC, though extremely difficult without computers, has its benefits—since it’s not a core subject, I don’t have to teach to any state or national test, which means I can be more flexible in my lessons. I get to have more fun with the kids and don’t have to take it so seriously.

The students, though, are by far the best part of teaching. They can be annoying and unruly and loud, but when one of them turns in an especially well-done homework assignment, or gets a perfect score on a test, or just feels comfortable coming to my house and asking for help, I can’t help but smile. Sometimes, if we end class early, they’ll ask me questions about myself or English or the United States. It’s a rare moment when we can connect on a more personal level and when they’re not worried about grades or other repercussions.

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Some happy 12th graders after class (poor Sandra blinked…)

Teaching is hard. Teaching in Mozambique is extra hard. When I first started a little over a year ago, I felt so unqualified. My college roommate had done a two-year masters program and uncountable hours of student teaching before she had her own class (and Ms. Sarno is now an excellent teacher, I’m just sure of it!). How could I possibly just be dropped into a classroom and manage it competently?

I don’t really feel qualified now, but I have a handle on what to do and when. A lot of it, I just make up as I go along. Even though I sometimes feel ineffective, I’ve learned that just being an adult present for the students is more than they often get. (Teacher absence is also a problem, and teachers normally have families and other responsibilities. My only job is to be here for my students.)

I hope this gives a little glimpse into my primary job here. Have another question I didn’t answer? Ask away!

 

The Marathon

It takes a lot of stamina to get through your 27 months in Peace Corps. That’s partly because our service is not a series of projects or events, but rather a 24/7 job. Seriously, it’s in our job description—Peace Corps has ten Core Expectations for volunteers, and #5 reads, “Recognize that you are responsible 24 hours a day, 7 days a week for your personal conduct and professional performance.” Professional performance 7 days a week? Yeesh—but true.

Some of my friends back home work very, very long hours. Some of them have to work on weekends, or take work home with them. But there is something entirely different about work like mine where my entire existence, every infinitesimal thing I do, is defined by my job. I don’t do my grocery shopping as Cathy Landry, Human Being. I do it as Catia, Professora da Escola Secundaria, Voluntária de Corpo da Paz. This is true for doing yard work, or going for a run, or eating at a neighbor’s house. I can never escape needing to cover up appropriately despite it being over 100 degrees while I’m gardening; enduring the stares and shouts as I jog past another bairro; or behaving in accordance with my profession even when I’m trying to relax over a nice meal.

And eventually, the weight of this caught up with me, and I honestly just feel tired.

Peace Corps is not a sprint. It’s a long, long marathon. And the thing about the midservice point—where I’ve been the last few months—is that you’re in so far that it already feels like a long time. I started having these exhausted, fed-up feelings about 14 months in, when I realized I no longer understood the references my friends made on Facebook or when I had to be updated on family events weeks after they happened. I’m currently at about 17 months in Mozambique, and you know what? That’s a long time.

I’ve never run a marathon, but my mom has (more than once—what a champ). She once told me that around mile 18 was always the hardest for her, when she’d already run 18 miles (an impressive accomplishment in and of itself) but would still have 8 left. As a very casual jogger, I can say 8 miles is nothing to scoff at—that’s a tough run! And that’s how I feel with Peace Corps. I’m at a point where I can no longer see where I started, but neither can I see the finish line, because another 9 or 10 months feels like a lifetime.

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“No Sam, I can’t recall the taste of food… Nor the sound of water… Nor the touch of grass…”

I started my second year of teaching recently. I’m nearing the single-digit mark for months left, and my paper countdown chain has gotten much shorter.

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Left: December 2014; Right: Now!

But nine months, an entire school year, is still a whole lot of time to get through. I have a lot of classes to teach, clubs to run, projects to plan… I’m not in the home stretch yet.

So, how do I rebuild my stamina? What’s the Peace Corps Gatorade? Sometimes it’s a nice phone call with a good friend, or an afternoon spent lesson planning and actually feeling excited about it. I can’t really tell you what’s motivating me at this point other than having made a commitment and needing to see it through. But I don’t doubt I’ll get back in the race! After all, if my mom can shake off her exhaustion and finish an actual marathon, I can do this, right?

Lessons Learned

I’m coming up on completing 15 months in Mozambique, and as of Sunday, I’ll have been at my site for one whole year. A whole year! It has been one of the longest, weirdest, and best years of my short life so far, and I could write a million blog posts about everything (you should see the fat journal I filled up last month!). But instead of publicly posting all my crazy ramblings, I’ve taken a few highlights of what my first year in Peace Corps has taught me.

 

Example journal ramblings:

January 20: “That Birkenstock tan, though.”

May 9: “How am I supposed to fill all the hours in this day??”

October 7: “JUST WHY????”

 

Lesson #1: Culture is not absolute.

Culture isn’t something we’re forced to think about until it changes. Sure, newspapers and magazines might have essays analyzing the American ethos, or we might be asked in a college or even high school class to think about the zeitgeist of our time (cat memes and Netflix, in my opinion). But in my experience, we don’t fully appreciate the magnitude to which our culture invades everything we do until we’re confronted with someone else’s.

Think about it this way: my culture is the reason I laugh at Seinfeld or 30 Rock. It’s why I cry when animals die in movies. It’s the thing pushing New Yorkers to walk so fast, obsessed with using time efficiently and not being late. It’s why I’ve ever felt proud to identify as independent. Culture is part of what drives my actions and reactions, and it’s so ingrained, so intimately entwined with my life, that I barely notice it’s there.

Mozambicans don’t get sarcasm. People usually don’t laugh at my jokes (weird, because I’m hilarious). Generally, no one likes animals. Why would they care about Hedwig’s tragic end in Harry Potter? No one is ever in a rush to go anywhere. I think I’ve only ever seen two Mozambicans wearing watches, and they both work for Peace Corps. The meeting will start when everyone gets here, my boss would say. I’ll come back in the afternoon, a neighbor might say. What time? I ask. The afternoon. The specifics of it don’t matter. And as for being independent, that’s nice and all, but shouldn’t you stay with and support your family?

Of course, this is something we all know, but living with it every day can be quite draining. My task, then, is to find a way not to give up my own culture, but not to reject this new one. It’s an incredible opportunity to put my own assumptions under a magnifying glass and see why I am the way I am, and to realize that differences aren’t necessarily “weird” or “dumb”—they’re just different.

Lesson #2: Giving myself a break.

Sometimes, though, the cultural differences are exhausting. Sometimes I don’t want to go sit at a neighbor’s house and have them berate me for not being married yet. I don’t want to go to the market and have people ask me for money. I don’t want to have to spend hours hitchhiking to go see friends. And when that happens, I shut the doors to my house, make a good meal with my sitemates, and just ignore Mozambique for a little while. At first, I felt incredibly guilty doing this. I’m not here for myself, right? I’m here to be uncomfortable, to let myself be pushed, and I’m here for my community—why am I blocking them out??

An older PCV once told me, “A happy volunteer is a good volunteer,” and I realized that if I’m dreading interacting with my community—if I’m tired and frustrated and not happy about how things are going—there’s not much I can do to benefit them. If what I need for my mental health is a break, then I have to take a break, and not beat myself up for it. And once I learned this lesson, things got so, so much better.

Lesson #3: Do sweat the small stuff.

You read that correctly—it says do. An alternate title I considered for this lesson was “Ignore the big picture.”

On May 8, I wrote in my journal, “At a point, don’t I just have to say f*ck it to the big picture and be present with the hand that is dealt to me now?” (Sorry for the language, Mom.)

The big picture in Mozambique is depressing. Zooming out, here’s what you see as an education volunteer: a system that pushes children who can’t read or speak Portuguese through to graduation; teachers sleeping with students or asking for bribes so that the kids can pass their class; kids whose parents didn’t finish primary school and can’t help them with their homework; 45% teacher absence rate; 12th graders who are 21, 22, 23 years old (not counting all the adults that take night school); no available free secondary education (8th grade and up carries an entrance fee); students who have to drop out to care for their families after a parent dies… The list doesn’t stop there. It sucks. Thinking about the big picture makes me want to leave. There is nothing I can do to fix these problems even though they affect all of my students.

But the small stuff is what is actually in my control. I can’t get my students to all have educated parents, but I can be the one to help them with their homework when they have questions. I can’t force the other teachers to show up to school, but I can show up and do my very best with my classes. I can’t get my students to pass all ten of their subjects, but I can try to vary my evaluation methods to give them all a fair shot in mine. The small stuff is the stuff that makes me feel like I’m doing something, and it’s the stuff that gets me out of bed every morning. The big picture would only paralyze me, but the small things are motivating. So, I do sweat them.

Lesson #4: Don’t get your hopes up.

Projects fail. People stop showing up. The internet goes out when you’re working on a grant application. There’s a huge storm the day you want to travel to visit friends, and you get trapped in your site. Every experienced PCV or PC staff member tells the trainees: manage your expectations. Don’t hope for your school to praise your new teaching methods. Don’t hope for 25 students to attend your first science club meeting. Don’t hope for the person who’s fixing your fence to show up when he said he would. Sometimes this translates to a negativity or pessimism that PCVs tend to espouse around one another, but we can say it to each other because we know that we need our expectations to be very low. Helping our expectations to match the reality of life in Mozambique is one of the most important survival strategies we can develop as volunteers. Without it, I’d walk around feeling defeated all the time.

Lesson #5: Nothing is hopeless.

The school might not praise your new style of teaching, but another teacher might notice and ask to see your lesson plans. Maybe only 5 students will show up for science club, but they are probably the most motivated and will be the ones who attend every single week. The fence repairman may have had a family issue come up, so he’ll come the next day, apologize, and fix everything quickly and well.

I live in a beautiful country with a very difficult past, still healing from a violent civil war and from a damaging colonial presence, and still trying to find its own path to development. Moz has only had 23 years as a free nation not at war—of course things are still hard, and really I should be more in awe of how far it has come in such a short time.

Mozambique is not hopeless. My job is not hopeless. The most important thing I can do each day is remember that, because if I really, truly believed things were hopeless, I wouldn’t be here.

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On my very first day at site in December 2014!

62 Million Girls

There’s a new Peace Corps initiative out there called Let Girls Learn, and it’s being piloted in Mozambique and ten other countries. The brain child of Michelle Obama, Let Girls Learn is partnering with Peace Corps, USAID, the Department of State, and the Millennium Challenge Corporation to provide educational opportunities to girls around the world who are missing from school.

What do I mean by “missing”? That many girls of school age are not getting the education to which they have a right. In Mozambique, for example, a family that can only afford to pay for one child to go to school might choose a son over a daughter. Many girls are told to stay home to help with chores around the house. Some of my students, who are enrolled in school, have told me about missing school the week of their period every month because they don’t have any other options. In some parts of the country, girls are married off far too young, or become pregnant due to lack of sex education and forced to drop out. These girls are denied the chance to learn, the chance to see how they can make a difference, while their brothers, husbands, and boyfriends may continue studying.

This is the reality for 62 million girls around the world, and Peace Corps Moz is working to empower and educate these young women in our communities. For more information on Let Girls Learn, you can check out:

– the LGL website

– the LGL Peace Corps page

To bring light to this issue, Michelle Obama is running a social media campaign called the 62 Million Girls Yearbook, to introduce the world to the girls out there she is aiming to reach. Here are a few yearbook posts from my fellow Mozambique PCVs; to see more, check out the hashtags #62MillionGirls and #LetGirlsLearn.

"In school I learned that when someone disregards my opinion for being "too emotional" in reality they are intimidated by a woman with conviction.‪#‎62milliongirls‬ don't have that chance. ‪#‎letgirlslearn‬" - Rayna, Cabo Delgado province

“In school I learned that when someone disregards my opinion for being “too emotional” in reality they are intimidated by a woman with conviction.‪#‎62milliongirls‬ don’t have that chance. ‪#‎letgirlslearn‬” – Rayna, Cabo Delgado province

"In school I learned that I can accomplish whatever I put my mind to.#62MillionGirls like Zuria don't have that chance. #LetGirlsLearn" - Arden, Zambezia province

“In school I learned that I can accomplish whatever I put my mind to.#62MillionGirls like Zuria don’t have that chance. #LetGirlsLearn” – Arden, Zambezia province

"In school I learned that my ceiling of opportunity in life depends only on my determination and work ethic.#62million girls don't have that chance. #LetGirlsLearn" - Cara, Inhambane province

“In school I learned that my ceiling of opportunity in life depends only on my determination and work ethic.#62million girls don’t have that chance. #LetGirlsLearn” – Cara, Inhambane province

"In school I learned to read, I learned to write, I learned to be creative and critical, thoughtful and kind. I was told I could be anyone I wanted to be, do anything I wanted to do, "The sky is the limit" they said.  But for #62MillionGirls the limit is the door of their house, the chores waiting to be done, the meals waiting to be cooked, the money that's not there, the younger siblings or children they are far too young to be responsible for... Everyone has a right to learn. Marcia is among them. #LetGirlsLearn" - Brianna, Niassa province

“In school I learned to read, I learned to write, I learned to be creative and critical, thoughtful and kind. I was told I could be anyone I wanted to be, do anything I wanted to do, “The sky is the limit” they said.
But for #62MillionGirls the limit is the door of their house, the chores waiting to be done, the meals waiting to be cooked, the money that’s not there, the younger siblings or children they are far too young to be responsible for…
Everyone has a right to learn. Marcia is among them. #LetGirlsLearn” – Brianna, Niassa province

"In school, I learned that my ideas, opinions, fears, and dreams are just as valuable as a man's. I learned that being smart, curious, and driven doesn't depend on gender. #62milliongirls aren't as lucky as I was. It's time to #LetGirlsLearn!" - Cathy, Zambezia province

“In school, I learned that my ideas, opinions, fears, and dreams are just as valuable as a man’s. I learned that being smart, curious, and driven doesn’t depend on gender. #62milliongirls aren’t as lucky as I was. It’s time to #LetGirlsLearn!” – Cathy, Zambezia province