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Life in Baltimore: Peace Corps Volunteer from Baltimore Teaches in Mozambique

Dr. Brenda Bowe Johnson | 11/3/2017, 6 a.m.
"When I graduated from college, I was looking for the next great adventure of my life," Nancy Holt said about ...
The Holts visited Mozambique this summer to meet Nancy’s host family. (Left to right) Nancy's father, Harry Holt, Jr.; mother, Nancy Brown-Holt; brother, Harry Holt ll; Nancy Holt and host family in Ribaue, Mozambique. Courtesy Photo

"When I graduated from college, I was looking for the next great adventure of my life," Nancy Holt said about her desire to join the Peace Corps, a world-class organization with a remarkable track record for making a positive impact all around the world for more than fifty years.

Nancy Holt, an education volunteer teaches chemistry in Mozambique. She is a graduate of Brown University and McDonogh School in Baltimore County.

Holt joined the 207 Maryland residents currently serving in the Peace Corps and more than 6,000 residents who have served since 1961. She learned about the Peace Corps programs from a classmate at Brown peaking her curiosity so much that she applied and pursued the training.

Teaching in Mozambique has been a unique experience. Holt finds that the people are friendly and hardworking.

Mozambique is a southern African nation whose long Indian Ocean coastline is dotted with popular beaches as well as offshore marine parks.

Mozambique gained its independence from Portugal in 1975, ending 470 years of Portuguese colonial rule in the East African nation. The official language is Portuguese although there are sixty different dialects. Mozambique is still suffering from the effects of a 16-year civil war, which ended in 1992.

Holt lived with a host family for several months to learn and understand the country. While with the family, she had to learn Portuguese to enable her to teach chemistry. She has become fully immersed in the country's language and culture. The students try to do their best. There is a strong effort to get more girls involved and active in school and in science in general which is a cultural shift for Mozambique. She has integrated the scientific method and hands-on laboratory lesson, which is unusual in the classroom experience for the students.

"I believe that Peace Corps service will have a profound impact on my personal and professional aspirations. By the end of my service I am hoping to be fluent in Portuguese, have a comprehensive knowledge of teaching strategies and methods, create international connections and life-long friendships," Holt said.

Nancy's parents, Harry Holt, Sr. and Nancy Brown-Holt, her brother, Harry Holt, Jr. had the opportunity to visit Mozambique this summer to visit Nancy and to enjoy family time.