So I’m driving at certain death speeds (in kilometers, even more dangerous) while standing, well, hunching really, since I’m over the height limit for everything in this country.) Various Mozambican body parts are shoved against me, generally against my important bits, so that whenever we stop I just sway less than an inch back or forward before the people-cushioning kicks in to keep me upright. Oh, yep, there’s a boobie. The toddler in front of me is getting lunch. Aaaand the wastey-faced teenager a couple people over just grabbed my ass while searching for his girlfriend’s.

Altogether it’s the most action I’ve had in a month, so goodtimes! For seriously though, chapa rides/orgies are one of my favorite parts of Mozambique. To clarify, a chapa is a smidge larger than a Volkswagen van and serves as the basic unit of travel in country, at least in the southern provinces. They’re made to fit 18 or 19 emaciated dwarfs, but typically carry 25+ variously sized Mozambicans (and now an oversized white guy with sore knees and a permanent crick in the neck). The situation described above actually took place in a super-chapa, a closer to full size bus made for 25-30. I counted 45.

Week three of training sped by, due largely to a mid-week rearrangement of language groups (not exactly an improvement, but qualquer). Not too much new to report on training, we’re rolling on, and typically the sessions are practical and not too face-stabbingly boring.

Socially the volunteer group is really starting to bond hardcore, aided by the various barracas of Namaacha (although if you run into mãe Susana, the party line is that I stick to coke). Really though I’ve kept it pretty tame, home by 8 every night for dinner with the fam. This is largely due to the fact that I tend to PTFO by 9:30 at the latest. I need to start pushing this time back, however, in anticipation of the Halloween festa planned for this upcoming Saturday, which most likely shall not be reported on in order to preserve the reputations of all involved.

I’ve had a wonderful decompression weekend. On Saturday my PC-besties and I chapa-ed to Matola (or more accurately, one super-American-suburbia-style-strip-mall in Matola) for R&R. Shared a pizza with REAL blow-my-mind-I’ve-been-craving-you-so-hard cheese (heaven) at a lovely little bar/restaurant with a modern bathroom (utopia). Apologies for my hyphen abuse, I need some German constructions stat. Then I got lost for an hour in the Shoprite, which is basically a South African Wal-Mart, only magical. The day was capped with the awesome, aforementioned chapadventure. Dia óptimo! That was followed by a Sunday of laundry with mom, hiking the beautiful back side of Namaacha with a friend, and now chilling with a G&T and some mooched internets. Hard knock life.

I also managed to power through some non-fiction this week, reading William Finnegan’s A Complicated War, which covers the Mozambican “civil war.” I don’t really want to write any political opinions on here, but the book is highly recommended. It offers a wonderfully well-written, on the ground, anecdotal view of the war, and pulls in the wider political and international drivers of the conflict. My only complaint is that it is crazy unstructured/nonlinear and therefore confusing, and it also stops in the early 90s, so obviously all of recent history is absent.

To balance out the depression-tastic reading I’ve been ending every night with an episode of Strangers with Candy. God I love me some Jerri Blank. I think we’ll close this up with some of her words of wisdom:

“Sometimes it’s better to be a happy gin-soaked grape, than an anguished raisin in the sun.”


NB – Muito obrigado to everyone who has been commenting. You seriously make my day. Everyone else is dead to me.