2008.07.21: July 21, 2008: Headlines: COS - Mozambique: Gay Issues: gaywired: Zachery Scott writes: The Long Ride Home

Peace Corps Online: Directory: Mozambique: Peace Corps Mozambique : Peace Corps Mozambique: Newest Stories: 2008.07.21: July 21, 2008: Headlines: COS - Mozambique: Gay Issues: gaywired: Zachery Scott writes: The Long Ride Home

By Admin1 (admin) ( on Wednesday, August 06, 2008 - 8:32 am: Edit Post

Zachery Scott writes: The Long Ride Home

Zachery Scott  writes: The Long Ride Home

I told a story about traveling into my provincial capital last February. I had taken one of the last seats when we stopped to pick up an elderly woman carrying Canhu, a traditional fermented drink that is celebrated with friends and family that time of year. I offered her my seat and opted to stand and slump over for the rest of the journey. Somehow the old woman and I managed to start joking with each other. She was saying that I should pay for her Chapa ride and I said that she should give me some of her treasured Canhu. Before long, we had the whole Chapa laughing and getting in on the conversation. Eventually we stopped and let off some passengers and I took an open seat directly in front of the old woman. We were still trading good-natured barbs when all of a sudden she reaches over the seat, puts her arms around my neck, gives me a hug and kisses my cheek. I froze. It was the first bit of real affection I had experienced since arriving to country. It was genuine kindness, like a grandmother kissing her grandson, and in a country where that type of moment between men and women is rarely seen in public. Thankfully I had sunglasses on, because I started crying uncontrollably. Trying not to make a scene while wiping the tears that were coming down my cheeks, I realized that by cramming everyone together in such a confined space, it forces you to experience and interact with people with which you might not normally connect. I was grateful to be there, at that exact moment, to be a part of a rare bond between two strangers and a bus full of spectators.

Zachery Scott writes: The Long Ride Home

Letters from Southern Africa: The Long Ride Home

A gay life in transition, from Weho to Southern Africa

By Zachery Scott | Article Date: 7/21/2008 10:30 AM

I just spent the last week in my country’s capitol in meetings and had dinner with some other volunteers the last evening we were together. We were talking about our most and least favorite moments in country thus far. Embarrassing stories ensued about hasty cultural acclimation or interesting hobbies that the volunteers had come across. But one thing kept jumping between the positive and “not-so-positive” lists—Chapas. Let me explain.

Chapas are the overwhelmingly used mode of transportation for people in my country. Chapas are 15 passenger vans (someone once told me they were old Japanese school busses that had been sold to the country at a reduced rate) and serve as a sort of public transportation system subsidized by the government.

However, the special thing about chapas is that while they were designed to tightly fit 15 people inside, I have seen as many as 25 unfortunate souls get jam-packed in every available open space possible. This is by no means comfortable nor convenient, but is the only option for almost everyone.

Regardless of the various opinions at the table that night, we all agreed that in experiencing a chapa, one could get a good feel of the general spectrum of this country. This is because no one Chapa experience is ever the same.

The group offered a variety of questions that each trip brings forth. Will my Chapa have doors? Will there be a goat on top? Will the intoxicated man hit on me or just fall asleep in my lap? Will I need a tetanus shot when my leg is gauged open by the rusty metal bar I have to traverse in order to get out? Will my chapa mate have showered and/or brushed his tooth and/or changed his clothes this week? Will I have a cute cobrador (a.k.a. money collector)? Will I crap my pants because I bought a questionable egg sandwich in the last village and the Chapa is taking twice as long as I had planned? Will the other passengers understand my funny joke? Will they sell beer at the next stop?

I could keep going, but you get my point.

So, of course, we started trading Chapa stories like old war vets.

I told of the time when my Chapa blew a tire going 80 kilometers per hour, propelling us into oncoming traffic and veering away just as an 18-wheeler roars past. As the passengers are making cross symbols and saying “Gracias Deus,” the cobrador tries to get out to survey the damaged tire and the entire door falls off onto the ground. Funny, right? Like something you would see in a National Lampoon movie.

http://www.gaywired.com/Article.cfm?Section=169&ID =19645

Links to Related Topics (Tags):

Headlines: July, 2008; Peace Corps Mozambique; Directory of Mozambique RPCVs; Messages and Announcements for Mozambique RPCVs; Gay Issues

When this story was posted in August 2008, this was on the front page of PCOL:

Contact PCOLBulletin BoardRegisterSearch PCOLWhat's New?

Peace Corps Online The Independent News Forum serving Returned Peace Corps Volunteers RSS Feed
Dodd vows to filibuster Surveillance Act Date: October 27 2007 No: 1206 Dodd vows to filibuster Surveillance Act
Senator Chris Dodd vowed to filibuster the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act that would grant retroactive immunity to telecommunications companies that helped this administration violate the civil liberties of Americans. "It is time to say: No more. No more trampling on our Constitution. No more excusing those who violate the rule of law. These are fundamental, basic, eternal principles. They have been around, some of them, for as long as the Magna Carta. They are enduring. What they are not is temporary. And what we do not do in a time where our country is at risk is abandon them."

Peace Corps News Peace Corps Library Peace corps History RPCV Directory Sign Up

July 1, 2008: This Month's Top Stories Date: July 16 2008 No: 1245 July 1, 2008: This Month's Top Stories
Sarah Chayes continues work in Kandahar 29 Jun
PCV Catherine Saltwick killed in Automobile Accident 2 Jun
Richard Stoll returns to Tonga for capitol’s rebuild 2 Jun
Peace Corps Reopens Program in Liberia 4 Jun
Tu Dang is a Foreign Affairs Officer 4 Jun
Bethany Hedt takes aim at AIDS with statistics 5 Jun
Expanding opportunities for deaf PCVs 5 Jun
Peace Corps/Kenya Program Reopening 6 Jun
José Klein is plate artist 9 Jun
Kenyan Prime Minister Visits PC Headquarters 19 Jun
Michael Meyer's writes "The Last Days of Old Beijing" 20 Jun
Chuck Ludlam writes: Congress Enacts PCV Tax Law 24 Jun
Dodd Speaks in Opposition to FISA Bill 24 Jun
Christopher Hill critical to success in Korea Talks 25 Jun
Mark Gearan writes: Hillary Clinton's Contribution 25 Jun
James Rupert writes: Pakistan Fights Taliban 27 Jun
Elaine Chao hails U.S.-China dialogue 28 Jun
Obituary for Bud Keith - Champion for Disabled 29 Jun
Life in prison for killer of PCV Julia Campbell 30 Jun
John Coyne writes: PC Archives at JFK Library 30 Jun
Mark Shriver to Chair National Commission on Children 30 Jun

New: More Stories from May and June 2008
June 1, 2008: This Month's Top Stories Date: July 16 2008 No: 1247 June 1, 2008: This Month's Top Stories
Senator ties up Kathleen Stephens appointment 1 May
Philip Dacey writes "The New York Postcard Sonnets" 31 May
Sophia Polasky writes: Luncheon with the president 30 May
Arnold Wendroff warns dangers of ritual use of mercury 30 May
Lynn Lurie writes “Corner of the Dead" 29 May
Obama Urges Grads To Serve Country 26 May
Nick Mucha promotes development at surf destinations 25 May
Don Crosby and wife serve in Thailand at 70 23 May
Matthew Handley pursued case of 12 murdered Nepalis 22 May
Zig and Irma Sokolnicki receive President's Award 21 May
Bruce Sterling writes: Steve Cisler RIP 20 May
Colorado to host Peace Corps Reunion in August 19 May
Hugh Pickens writes: Death Be Not Proud 17 May
Zachery Scott writes: Being a gay volunteer 14 May
PCVs in China Are Safe after earthquake 12 May
Louis Adams relives PC days in Morocco 12 May
Jemison say US leaders have made foolish decisions 11 May
Amy Smith's low-tech inventions have high impact 8 May
Bill Moyers on the 2008 Elections 8 May
Don Odermann creates Education Fund for Latin Players 5 May
Peter Hessler wins National Magazine Award 2 May

New: More Stories from April and May 2008

May 1, 2008: This Month's Top Stories Date: May 2 2008 No: 1242 May 1, 2008: This Month's Top Stories
Condoleezza Rice Visits PC Headquarters 28 Apr
Bush hosts PCVs at White House 29 Apr
George Derrick is Oklahoma's first PCV 27 Apr
Debate is Brewing over Older Volunteers 25 Apr
Peter Spiro Scaled Corporate Ladder at Microsoft 24 Apr
Ukraine PCV terminated after testing HIV positive 22 Apr
Strauss writes: PC never lived up to purpose or principles 22 Apr
Atlantic Publishing needs your help on PC book 21 Apr
Nicole Nakama follows in footsteps of Father as PCV 21 Apr
Jerry LaPre writes: The Children of Sierra Leone 21 Apr
Robert Blackwill quits lobbying firm 19 Apr
An Interview with Christopher R. Hill 18 Apr
Harris Wofford introduces Obama's Speech on Race 18 Apr
Matthews could Challenge Arlen Specter for Senate 16 Apr
Lee Myung-bak invites 1500 RPCVs back to Korea 15 Apr
Peace Corps looks forward to returning to Kenya 11 Apr
Kathleen Stephens Quizzed by Congress 11 Apr
Campbell murder trial ends; Verdict set for June 30 9 Apr
Dodd Calls for New Strategic Partnership in Americas 9 Apr
Jake Hooker wins Pulitzer Prize for "A Toxic Pipeline" 9 Apr
Sirleaf welcomes return of PCVs to Liberia 8 Apr

New: More Stories from March and April 2008

What is Wrong at the US Embassy in Bolivia? Date: February 10 2008 No: 1227 What is Wrong at the US Embassy in Bolivia?
Last summer Peace Corps Inspector General David Kotz cited the lack of cooperation from the US embassy in Bolivia in the search for missing Peace Corps Volunteer Walter Poirier III. Now a member of the US Embassy Staff in Bolivia is accused of asking Peace Corps Volunteers "to basically spy" on Cubans and Venezuelans in the country. Could US Ambassador Philip S.Goldberg please explain what is going on at the embassy that he has been running in La Paz since 2006?

Read the stories and leave your comments.

Some postings on Peace Corps Online are provided to the individual members of this group without permission of the copyright owner for the non-profit purposes of criticism, comment, education, scholarship, and research under the "Fair Use" provisions of U.S. Government copyright laws and they may not be distributed further without permission of the copyright owner. Peace Corps Online does not vouch for the accuracy of the content of the postings, which is the sole responsibility of the copyright holder.

Story Source: gaywired

This story has been posted in the following forums: : Headlines; COS - Mozambique; Gay Issues


Add a Message

This is a public posting area. Enter your username and password if you have an account. Otherwise, enter your full name as your username and leave the password blank. Your e-mail address is optional.