We're trying to decide on the proper words in Xitswa, and then how to spell them since it is largely unwritten.
My Sunday was lazy, mostly because we had no power in Chicuque for most of the day, a hold over from the night before. I got up, turned the computer on briefly and used up all the battery life it had, then put it away and worked on non-tech stuff for a bit, but reluctantly had to put clothes on. I ventured into town and went to Pastelaria Universal, which had power of course, and had food, wrote, and used the cards I made to storyboard some more comics. The best part of all that was when I went to get on my computer a young girl came over and asked to play with the cards that I had put away. When I gave them to her, she took them back to her mom and her mom and her mom’s adult friend sat and made up rules to heir own game and then taught it to the girls so that they could play. It worked out exactly like I wanted it to and completely organically. Wow.
I went to get in a chapa going back and as I sat there a fight broke out.
We are using tape to laminate the cards and make them more durable
Two chapa drivers were going at it hot n heavy, screaming and bashing vehicles – apparently they both wanted to be the next chapa to drive to Chicuque. Great. That’s the chapa I’m in. We sat and listened to them argue for 20 minutes and then the other chapa slowly got more riders, so it left first anyway. Then we sat there forever and a day so the thing could over-load. We took off an hour after I got into the thing originally. Baaaahhh. LoL.
On Monday I got up a little late and when I went to take a bucket bath Manuel was mopping. I made to come back in a little while and he said “No, No, come”, so I did. Then, as I walk in he told me to take all my stuff out because there was a conference coming that day and many people would be there to use the bathroom. There were already people gathering everywhere… Long story short, I gathered my belongings and left because I was aggravated with all the people coming and going and making noise in the residential wing of the building. I went to Inhambane to go
Students and Activists Working
Working to make a set of cards.
to the Chinese superstore to get office supplies. I stopped by a papelaria on the way and got the paper reams, picked up some other stuff at the Chinese shop, and then hit Bistro Pescador (café) on the way back. Only mild hiccups in the day, but it was getting on so I had to grab a boat and get back to Chicuque. I didn’t want to take the little boats, but I had no choice, so I got in and they, of course, over-filled the thing with people and stuff. Now, the tide was going out when we crossed the first time and it was suuuuuuper low now. Like, I could see mudflats almost all the way across or waves breaking in other places. Why, then, did the driver think it was a smart idea to take the direct route across the bay? (They are supposed to follow a channel that is marked by buoys – doing a U-shape to get from one pier to the other instead of straight across. Wouldn’t you know – in one of the shallow areas where I can see the bottom, we grind to a halt as we hit a sand bar. Forreal?
These are some of the cards in a more refined state. They will be used by activists and students to test drive them with others and let me know how they go.
Forreeeeeaaaallll? There is just no emoticon to accurately portray level of irritation. -_- he fights with the motor, guns it a few times, this way and that way, guns it again, a little more – then he’s breaking free, but there is a dhow now heading straight for us. At the very last minute the driver turns the motor and the dhow misses the bow of our boat by feet – the guy sitting on that side of the boat could have reached out and touched the other boat. Sweet baby jeezus, I wish I had a large blunt object at that moment.
Tuesday, as usual, was about preparing for group meeting that night and getting some things in order earlier in the day. I went into town early to run errands and was back and forth all over the few square blocks of Maxixe like 7 times. I’m terribly inefficient in my attempts to not be bamboozled by vendors. Eventually I ended up at Pastelaria again for food, had meeting, and then chapa-ed it home to get in bed. The “highlight” of this day was finding out from the students after the activists left that some
This is the first version of a page from one of the comics.
of the activists were talking in Xitswa about getting “paid” more. The students were a little uncomfortable about telling me, but I already had an idea of what was going on from the body language. Another thing to overcome, but we’ll just keep on truckin til no one else comes back.
Wednesday was a travel day. Elfie asked me the night before if I wanted to go to Mukambe feha with her and pastor for the day and I said yes, thinking they would just be doing interviews for their report. We got there and most of the activists were there, we had meeting, and then we broke and went into the bush via some barely visible road and drove and drove until we found a collection of brick and tin houses. I swear, they look like play-school solar ovens and I bet they are hot as holy hell inside. But, they beat the grass huts for keeping out mosquitoes and such… We conducted three interviews and then packed up and went back to Morumbene so that Elfie and Pastor could get some stats from the hospital and grab food on the way back. A stop here,
The same page, revised once
a stop there, two stops somewhere else… finally home. A nap, then writing, then the computer, then bed. Nothing that fun.
Thursday- Independence Day! 1975, Mozambique gets independence from Portugual. Yay. Much like in the States, I celebrated by doing nothing. No really, I did nothing but sit in my room all day except for an evening stroll on the beach. Mostly worked, with a hefty dose of goofing off on the internet as well. I started feeling kinda crappy so I went to bed earlyish… or at least tried.
Soon after I got into bed I realized things weren’t quite right. I was super tired, but dizzy tired. Cold. Nausea. Headache. Sweating. Chills. I put on two extra layers and piled on the blankets. I tossed and turned. I got maybe 2 hours of “sleep” and woke up at 7 feeling horrible. I’m taking my antimalarials every day, but I’m paranoid and went and asked Elfie what the process was when she got tested for malaria. She started explaining to me and then Rose was like “just go with him, you’re not doing anything anyway” (they were listening to music and not doing
The last revision, without words, and verified with the community that it contains the message it is supposed to.
much in the office). We walked to the hospital and went to outpatient services… and this is where it gets uncomfortable… she says “oh, ‘we’ don’t wait in line” and took me right past what must have been at least 50 people waiting with their papers, who had been sitting there for god knows how long, and she walked right into the consultation room while there was someone in there with the clinician. When he was done she told me to go in, asked for the test, and then we walked to the lab, where she did the same thing. So uncomfortable. I thought when she told me about how she got tested at the hospital “and went to the doctor’s office” that she went to a separate area – like his actual office, as if they had office hours or something – and saw them there. Nope. Just screwed over the natives completely, that’s all. Ugh, and they wonder why/how they keep the “white, western foreigner = money and privilege” mentality.
I tested, then had to go to the city to pick up my passport from immigration. It was remarkably simple, though no frills and completely
It says negative, although I had to ask the woman in the waiting room since I couldn't make heads or tails of it. I still felt like crap though.
joyless. Back on the chapa and to the hospital for results... … … … Negative. No malaria. That’s good that I don’t have malaria, but bad in that it was something else and now I don’t’ have an easy fix for it. I went home and got into bed and didn’t get out until well into Saturday. No group meeting or anything.
Since I was ill I ditched the wedding I got invited to on Saturday (Pastor Marcia’s) and stayed in my bed late. I got up and worked a bit once I felt better, walking back to the hospital to take some pictures of posters and such with symbolic communication to support the work I have been doing. (The symbols are already in the environment, I’m just using them for my own purposes for the most part)
So, lots of time wasted doing randomness, being ill, or from lack of communication. Blah. Next week: half way through my stay! O_o
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