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Published: July 25th 2015
Tofo on Sunday
just lookin for seashells.
Tofo again on Sunday, but just for the day and a whole lot more stress-free transportation-wise. I brought my book with me and just read it the whole way, essentially ignoring the long wait times and such. Mild irritation at being shoved forward and jammed into the bench in front of us as they loaded too many crates of beer into the back of the chapa (and then couldn’t close the door, they tied it mostly-shut instead), but nothing major. I had packed lunch and snacks before I left and once I got to the beach I struck out for the lighthouse and the tidal pools I played in last time. High tide was about 5 pm, so it was pretty low when I got there at 10:20ish. I walked the beach and after a bit the people dropped off and there were only a few locals here and there looking for crabs and other such things in the tidal flats. At one point I passed a group of 6 or 7 young boys out playing in a tidal pool (they were probably 8-11 years old) and as I passed one jumped up and was butt naked and waived his hips
back and forth and screeched. LoL.
I walked until I started to feel the (sun)burn and then decided to eat in the shade of one of the dunes before turning round. With my back to the sun, I could feel myself being fried alive. I took out the Lufthansa airline blanket I picked up from my flight here and put it over my head and around my shoulders like some weird cross between a Bedouin head wrap and a hijab. I got weird looks, but totally didn’t care cause I wasn’t being burnt alive any more. This falls under the category “things only super pale, pasty people understand”. I was reminded of a conversation with Harriet, from Botswana, about how she had “just found out about sunburns and how painful they are from her white friends” bah ha ha ha. Oh nature, you’re so funny.
I got tons of great seashells and spent the next few hours at Fatima’s lying back and having beer and beans on the balcony and listening to the waves. (Ok, and fending off peddlers too, whatever.) The bar guy said the last chapa back was probably at 6, so I packed
up about 5ish and headed back. As I was standing there two other white people came up and asked how much it would be to get to the Y-point that leads to Barra… 20 meticais – without hesitation. (It only costs 18 meticais to get all the way to Inhambane). *Sigh*. Whatever. I had exact change and you can bet you, me he only got 18 out of me in Inhambane, along with a dirty look. Back to CoH after yet another round of which-chapa-is-next-and-don’t-lie-to-me-either. That ended up in two chapas leaving before I got in one that was actually going to Chicuque and had other people in it.
Monday rolled around and I was determined not to work with the CoH team on the grant or budget because I seriously have to finish the work that I am doing in order to be able to train people on how to use it before I leave. I’m in my room all day, then Arlindo leaves early to get groceries for some shin dig he’s having for the Texans. Others leave early too. *eye roll* If it is so important, why are people leaving early? Ugh. Clare and Rose
sat outside and did Clare’s hair. Then Rose left and came back with Elfie and they all had a sleep over complete with loud music and hair. Girls… I woke up the next morning with Elfie singing along with Jeezus rock. O_o
Tuesday is the budget and the same thing goes down (me in my room), only they work until 6ish. I am informed that I was invited to said shin dig as well, even though Rose read the group text/email out loud and it made no mention of me, but did name Clare specifically as an invitee. I feel no desire to go to this thing. I want nothing to do with any part of it and would rather work late, but so be it. We got in the car and drove to Arlindo’s house, which is less than a city block away. -_- For real? This fool drives to work every day and he lives less than a block away? SMH. Also, as we go over the power goes out, so we are in the dark with phones and flashlights out when the Texans finally arrive. First off, let me tell you how odd it was that
all the POC sat on one side of the room and all the white people sat on the other… then the old white lady basically demands/instructs everyone to introduce themselves, as in, just short of standing up in class. After that, we sit in relative silence for a bit and then the power comes back on momentarily. At that point, one of the older white guys exclaims “So there ARE other people in the room!” OMG. My eyes got big and I immediately looked across the room to Davnee (black woman from NY) and Clare (Black woman from Zimbabwe) and they see me and just had this “omg, are you for real? Wtf. Get me out of here.” Look on their faces. I moved over to their side of the room right quick and we had a giggle. Then the power went out again and Clare and Davnee started joking about not being able to see people again. Heh.
So, that whole uncomfortable scene with the activists and the women in Nhamaxaxa and how the activists played up the whole grateful, groveling supplicant role replayed itself as Arlindo and his wife offered up this meal to them. I
swear, I didn’t want to be there. (Breaking with the timeline – fast forward to Thursday for a minute and I show Olinda and Arlindo the semi-final materials, to which there is a general “oh, that’s nice. Wow. Yes. Good job. Thank you…” said in a tone that clearly communicated (1) you are equivalent to the Texans and (2) we don’t care, we just want the materials and you can go home. The two scenes show how the behavior that I’m trying to point out to the activists and community as wrong is just as equally present in the “establishment” and how is one ever going to change if the other doesn’t?) We left around 8:30 and went back to CoH, but Rose, Elfie, and Olinda didn’t stay and I told Davnee and Clare that I was going to bed cause I was tired after being woken up early.
Wednesday, another work day punctuated by Clare popping in to request things (she’s super nice, but kind of clueless re:work time is not play time) She has to go back to Zimbabwe early and needs to shop for luggage, so she leaves Davnee here with me and tells me
(yes, tells – not asks) that Maria’s daughters will be here shortly and to negotiate a price for them to braid the rest of Davnee’s hair. Ugh. Fine. They get here, I try and negotiate, Manuel and Maria say 150 meticais total, for both. I say that is way too crazy low, but they won’t give any other quotes. I told Davnee to give them 500 meticais and be done with it. They finish and she’s off.
Clare gets back and wants to get fish. Now, Zimbabwe is a land-locked country, and though they have rivers and lakes, from what I can gather from conversations with Clare, she doesn’t eat much seafood at all. (Crabs = “monsters”) I am working and am more than a little aggravated that she wants me to stop what I am doing and walk with her to the peixaria to get fish, but Maria says I should go with her because I speak Portuguese. I argue that numbers on your hand and figures in the dirt are just as effective when buying food. I lose. We go and get fish from the roadside by the bridge where two women are standing with up-turned
buckets of small fish that I promise you, no one in the states would bother with. They look like bait. She buys a stack for 100 meticais and off we go. I made it very clear to her that I was still working and was not eeeeeeven about to gut and clean fish for dinner. She said she would do it…
Well, I don’t know what I expected, but apparently the way to do fish this small is to take out the guts, but literally leave everything else intact and throw them in the oven. They were then to be eaten whole, fins, tail, bones, and everything so that only the heads remained. I wouldn’t eat the fins or the backbones. Other than that, they were ok, even if I did almost choke to death on an “espina” – fish bone. Bath and internet after that until I was too tired to stay up any more.
Thursday was Clare’s last day and she left to catch the 9 AM bus from Maxixe towards Beira and/or the border. I don’t know what she was going to do to get all the way home, she just said she
would figure it out on the way. Blah. I continued to work on digitizing materials and it’s coming along. Three booklets and six posters later, with at least 3 booklets and instructions for the card games to still be designed and printed. No ink to print out drafts though, even though it was been out since Monday. I talk with Arlindo at lunch and basically force Rose’s hand and make her buy ink so I can print on Friday and take to group meeting with me to try and proof the Portuguese and translate into Xitswa. Why must I ask 6 times and go over someone’s head in order to get them to do a simple job?
Today, Friday, I printed off materials after some to do (they bought the new cartridge, but didn’t want to install it and were trying to print with the old one to see if I would notice). Only after almost 10 minutes of trying to get the files to print did Rose take the cartridge and walk the 5 feet over to us to put the new one in the printer. (I had even commented on the printer still saying “out of
ink” on the display screen beforehand) Whyyyyyyy. I went back to my room to get something and came back a little while later and noticed a sleeve of ginger cookies on Elfie’s desk and tld her she should ask for things before she took them. She laughed and then it was clear she didn’t understand, so I clarified that “no, it’s not funny. When you, the individual ask to borrow something, that’s fine. But you, the company, just taking my things is really not acceptable on any level.” The room got quiet and I clarified about the toilet paper being used and not replaced, the salt that I buy being used for communal meals, the sugar, the milk, the bread, everything – as if I’m only here to supply them, the company, with goods for office use. Elfie clarified that she bought the cookies from Taurus herself – at which point I felt like a *bit* of an ass, so I apologized, but my point still stood about all the other items and that was why I jumped to conclusions about the cookies. Olinda gave a standard, canned response and I left the room so as
not to scream.
I worked in my room for a bit longer and then caught a chapa into town to go shopping to pick up a few things from Taurus for group meeting. Bread shop, then Pastelaria to eat and wait. I got to the school and found Eric and Shaun, talked to them, and then it was 5:30 and I was just about to pack up and leave when someone showed up. Only four people showed up overall, so we didn’t get as much done as I would have liked, but that is my own fault for not holding meeting last Tuesday or the Friday before that because of time and other projects. Hopefully we will finish everything this week, seeing as the training I want to conduct with Nhamaxaxa is going to be on Friday at noon. Arlindo says that they are not going to Mukabe feha twice this month on account of funds, so I will only go on the health fair day and then stay three days from that point onward to train them.
Now it’s Friday night and the club music is pumping from the stick hut, I mean bar, down
the road and I may have to bash myself against a wall in order to go to sleep. Heh. I mean, all your neighbors have stick huts, how have they not killed you yet for noise pollution? This would not be going down on Chester Ave within a block from my apartment. Oh helllll no. Alas, it’s Mozambique. Meh.
Take a look at the materials, but know that they are not finalized. The Portuguese needs correcting and translating and there are still formatting issues, but you get the idea.
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