Tuesday, December 6, 2011

MozamBRIDES

Weddings: Last Sunday around noon I was working on my blog when my host mom knocked on my door and told me we were leaving. Since it was Sunday I was wearing flannel and looked pretty scrubby. I opened the door and saw my host mom wearing a floor length dress and heels. “We’re going to a wedding. Let’s go!” I asked if I had time to change and she said no, although it took us over an hour to get to the wedding because she stopped to talk to EVERY neighbor along the way. When we got to the house, my host mom asked me if I was a woman. When I hesitantly said yes, she said “women work, right?” I said yes. Then she said, “today you will work like a Mozambican woman!” and she promptly put me to work washing and drying a stack of 100 plates. Once everyone else arrived from the church I had to serve rice in the buffet line. After 3 hours of labor I was allowed to eat. When I finally got to watch the reception it turned out to be really fun. Here it’s tradition to sing and dance while you give the bride and groom their presents. My host mom made me dance with her in front of the crowd, bride, and groom. In my flannel, looking like a scrub. Six hours into the reception I was exhausted and begged my real family to call me as to escape the fight that was ensuing over cake. I’m pretty sure my host mom fought the bride for cake.

Tres Fronteras: Yesterday after our final Portuguese language test, I went with a group on a hike to the tres fronteras which is the point where the borders of Mozambique, Swaziland, and South Africa meet. First we hitchhiked to the base of the mountain. Next we walked along the barbed wire fence on the Swazi border. Five minutes in two guards stopped us and refused to let us continue our hike. First they told us we couldn’t walk because we didn’t have identification, then they said we didn’t have the right shoes, then they said there were snakes. Eventually we convinced them to show us an alternate path and continued our hike from there. It took us an hour to walk up the rocky slope. The sun was scorching, but we made it late in the afternoon. At the top we were able to see all of Namaacha, Swaziland, and South Africa. We also found a mystery reptile at the top. Thinking it was a black mamba, we ran back down the mountain. After our half hour decent we hitchhiked back to Namaacha on the open bed of a water truck. When I eventually got home I dragged a chair into the kitchen, served myself xima (sheema) and beef and had an hour conversation with my host grandma as she killed chickens. She told me I was her favorite volunteer and I told her she was my favorite host grandma. I think we are officially besties for life.

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