The roosters get each morning started, only Mozambican roosters apparently missed the memo about announcing the day, because they tend to precede dawn by at least an hour. Gradually the chickens and other creatures join in, and all of the animals sync their calls into a united pulse that peaks and falls in regular intervals. It’s oddly nice.
My day starts around 5:30am, when Mãezina (it’s a term of endearment for mom) wakes me up to say tchau before leaving for work. I usually squeeze out a few more minutes in bed before one of my sisters gets insistent that I wake up. On weekdays I go straight outside to first-bath, but on weekends this is preceded by room-cleaning (sweep once, mop twice). After getting pretty, I have morning tea with bread and jam, and usually I have a while to read, write in my journal, or do homework from the previous day.
Morning language classes start at 7:30, at the house of one of the volunteers in my group. There are four in my turma, along with Eurico, our ‘facilitator’ in PC-speak, who is a mid-twenties Mozambican and generally cool guy. Classes are surprisingly fun, as I like the people in my group and we play lots of games. Also, there’s official snack time (lanche), which is a genius idea that America should adopt immediately. I only wish I had slightly more free time (nonexistent currently) to review/study on my own, as I do well when I get to reprocess in my own way.
At 10:30 my group walks to Namaacha’s secondary school (buying fresh bread on the way) for technical sessions, which up to this point have been covering the basics of the Mozambican educational system, what we can expect as teachers, and some introductory lesson planning. Mostly good, useful stuff, only it’s often overly drawn out to fill time, and every tech session requires some sort of inane group activity, against which I might prefer 20 minutes of latrine squats.
We get a long break to walk back home for second-bath and lunch. This has become an adventure this week, as it has been raining constantly and Namaacha has transformed into bizarro-Africa, cold to an expletive-appropriate degree and covered in mud. As this makes second-bath both painful and pointless, I have been begging my way out. I also occasionally avoid the 20 minute trek back to my bairro by getting lunch to go in the morning and eating at a barraca across the street from school, but this makes me feel inordinately guilty because it adds another task to my oldest sister’s already chore-tastic morning routine.
Afternoon brings more tech sessions, followed by more language class, which finishes at 5:30. This leaves me a maximum of one hour of sunlight. In two weeks I have only once taken the opportunity to get drinks with PC friends, usually I go straight to third-bath, then evening tea with a side of homework/journaling/reading. Slight tangent: I finally finished reading The Heart is a Lonely Hunter by Carson McCullers, which has perhaps my favorite title ever and has taken me six months to finish. It was as beautifully-written as promised by reviews, but also majorly soul-crushingly depressing. So recommended if you are feeling a bit masochistic. Now diving into two relevant non-fiction books, one on HIV/AIDS and the other covering the Mozambican civil war. More happy-fun-times reading!
Dinner is served around 7:00, and because I’m a manly-man, I am the first to serve myself. Luckily that’s as far as the deference goes, and since my family is very egalitarian and father-less, everyone eats together at the table. Dinner time is also A Escrava Isaura-time. It’s a Brazilian telenovela. And it is the shit. Isaura is a sexy slave girl in Colonial Brazil who was kidnapped and nearly raped by Mr. Obviously-villainous Mustache but then she escaped but then she fell and fainted even though everyone in the family was yelling RUN BITCH! but then someone else stabbed him while Isaura was still out cold only she’s been accused of the murder and is being held in jail and now I’m really confused because there’s just a lot of talking and subplots but most importantly Isaura still looks good even in the pokey.
Seriously, my family is obsessed with this show, and I’m getting there fast. The only problem is that all of the black characters are slaves, very Uncle-Tom-ish devoted to their beloved masters and not at all concerned about the trampling of their freedom kind of slaves. Awwwwkward.
I could easily go on about TV for an entire post. It’s playing pretty constantly in our living/dining. There are batshit crazy Brazilian variety shows and a super-cool Mozambican music video program (Mozambicans as a people, and especially lil’bro Ricardo, can Dance with a well-deserved capital D). On weekends I sometimes also catch a Portuguese telenovela called Os Mutantes that has really, really sexy vampires and werewolves and awesomely bad special effects that blow Twilight out of the water. Why do we not have this in the States?
Anywho, I’m in bed by 8:30 at the latest, reading or watching a movie or trying in vain to clean my nails or anything to decompress a bit from a day of being constantly on, constantly observing and learning and stumbling and trying. By 9:30 I’m crashing, except that this is usually when then barraca 50 feet from my window starts hopping, so I have to block out crazy-loud electrotrash that plays until three in the morning. So far I have had a fair amount of luck falling asleep to the National’s latest album (High Violet, exceptionally recommended). And if that doesn’t work, the rain on my tin roof does the trick.