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Published: August 16th 2008
Today we went back to Marafina, the village where we had that meeting and people wanted t-shirts and salaries and weren’t too sure they wanted to be involved in Care for Life if those things weren’t forthcoming. Today actually went pretty well.
In the morning we divided the kids into groups and did two activities with them. Half of them made little toolboxes (think miniature versions of the ones that Cub Scouts always do). The other half made the beads I told you about yesterday. One of the community leaders who hadn’t been too excited about Care for Life’s lack of presents was involved directly in making the toolboxes. I think that’s good, but I’m not sure. As a community leader, it’s good she was there, and she was enthusiastic. But the activity was for kids and she’s no kid, so it was a little weird. And did she come only because there was a free thing to be had? I dunno. It’s also weird that she is younger than many other people in the community—she looks maybe 25. She wears the spiffiest clothes and has the spiffiest hair. What’s up with this mysterious powerful yuppie woman of Africa?
This afternoon we also did the same activities with the kids, but only those who hadn’t done it this morning. Of course, the ones who had done it this morning wanted to do it again. To keep them busy I brought my photo printer and we made and X in the ground and brought them over one by one to take their pictures. Actually we had one girl bringing me the kids and another one marking their hands and taking them away after their photos were taken. That’s because the kids always try to sneak back in and get their photos taken again. Once we’d taken them all, we printed them all out. We didn’t show the kids that was going to happen, because they really don’t understand what it means to get a photo until they see it, and once they see the photos they freak out and mob you.
Unfortunately, the printer worked considerably more slowly than the 38 seconds per print that Epson claims. Long story short, I didn’t get all 77 photos printed out by the time we had to go. We took over the stack of like 50 photos that were
Yuppie village leader
This is the yuppie woman who wanted to make toolboxes with the kids.
done and the kids saw us coming and started exulting and hooting and yelling. Then we told them, sorry, the machine’s a little slow and we’ll bring them by next week. It was sad—like you told them that Christmas is canceled this year. I felt bad. Well, live and learn I suppose. And next Friday when we go back they’ll certainly be excited.
We also played duck-duck-goose with them, which they really liked. Tucker of course was the loudest duck-duck-goose player in the community. He also grabbed a stick and had a sword/light saber fight with all the kids in the village. They thought it was great and I think that it was as much fun as Tucker has had on the trip. You know, getting to do Jedi moves and chalk it up as service hours too. What could be better?
Today I saw a couple kids with particularly distasteful conditions. One had some sort of rotting going on with his toes. They were all black (black like charcoal, not black like an African’s regular toes) and flaky and swollen and not at all right. Another kid looked like he’d had something removed from his scalp. Maybe
it was just that he cut it or something, but it looked grosser than that. Bug larva? Festering infected sore? Tumor? Beats me, could’ve been any of those.
On the way to the community, there were signs by the railroad tracks saying “No urinating or defecating by the railroad tracks.” Not sure why that particular spot is worthy of a sign that by all rights ought to apply everywhere except the latrine. Maybe it’s privately owned land? Or there are employees who don’t want to step in something? Or they’re afraid that a train will run over a local in mid-excretion? I don’t know.
Don’t know if I mentioned this before but man, there are a lot of diesel fumes in Mozambique. I’m pretty sure that the California emissions standards don’t apply here. It’s yucky.
There are several plants that grow here wild and are common in Arizona: lantana (just the large pink and yellow “Christina” variety); hibiscus; vinca; and palm trees come to mind. The plants are rattier here, though, unlike the chickens, which are all fat and textbook-looking. Something about this part of the world agrees with chickens, I can tell you that. And rats.
Typical building in downtown Beira
The structure is gutted, but there's a nice new beer ad painted on it.
We’ve seen a bunch of those, even one during the day. Man, could I use my pellet gun here.
Today I saw some guys playing checkers with a homemade board and bottle caps.
The town we’re in, Manga, is named after the Portuguese word for mango. There are many, many mango trees here, and I guess that they’re very prolific when the fruit is in season. I asked one of the volunteers, a returned Mozambique missionary, what a mango costs, and they laughed at me. I guess that when in season, there are so many that just constantly fall from trees, that there’s no way that you could charge for them.
Tonight we didn’t go to the baby orphanage. The mission president was here from Maputo, which is the capital of the country and an 18-hour drive to the south. Apparently they’re the ones who started Care for Life some years ago. They’ve also adopted a Mozambican girl, who is now eight. The mission is now about to be expanded to Angola, which is also Portuguese-speaking. Angola has not yet been dedicated for the preaching of the gospel. He said that the Angolan capital, Luanda, was originally built
Babysitting during duck-duck-goose
Or, as they call it in Mozambique, "rat-rat-cat."
by the Portuguese to accommodate six or seven hundred thousand people. Because of the civil war that ended a few years ago, people moved to the capital and there are now six million people who live there, most of whom dwell in a dense, wretched shantytown that surrounds the old capital. It sounds really interesting. Apparently they’re going to send four elders to Luanda within the next two transfers.
One of the guys who works with us is a local temporary helper for Care for Life named Basilio. He has a wife and one daughter. I think I told you about him when I was talking about the possibility of him making a few thousand metacais a month if he could get up the money to go to school. Anyway, I got a chance to talk to him a bit about his house. He says that he paid a guy to build it and it’s concrete. He says that it cost 15,000 metacais (about $600) to have it built, plus 5,000 metacais (about $200) to run electricity to it. He said that all houses here have an electric meter and you prepay for your electricity. You go down to
the electric company and pay whatever you want, and they give you a code and you enter it in your box at your house, and you get however many kilowatts. He said that if he pays 100 metacais (about $4), he gets 33 kwh, and that lasts about a month. So he uses one kwh per day. When I get home I need to look at our electric bill and see how many thousand times more electricity we use than he does.
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