Today while I was bathing I looked down to see a daddy long leg crawling up my leg. Then about a minute later the power went out in the house so I finished my bathing in complete darkness. I am just glad it happened in that order. After, I sat in the lantern light with my host brother and cousins and they took turns telling stories. My 7 year old cousin was dancing so if I asked if he knew how to dance like Michael Jackson. He couldn’t do the moonwalk but his spin and crotch grab were spot on! After classes I had gone to play catch with some other trainees with an American football and so my host mom was asking about American football and hockey and asked if I had any pictures. I got out the picture of me playing that I brought to give to people and gave my family one, as well as a Bowdoin hockey puck. My host brother kept saying he wants a pair of ice skates and I taught them the word “puck.”
Today we had a session on personal safety and security, especially highlighting landmines. During the 17 year civil war the followed independence, a huge number of landmines were planted all over Mozambique and many have yet to be discovered and disabled. ~~~~~~~ would not have lasted long in Mozambique because people are discouraged from going to abandoned areas and traveling on anything other than the path well traveled. Another session we had today was about the myths and misconceptions surrounding HIV that we will encounter (not might, but will). They listed the many common misconceptions about HIV (ex: God sent HIV to punish people, condoms contain HIV, you can contract HIV from touching an infected person, etc), and we had to come up with both a response to correct this misconception and also an analogy to help explain. In many places outside the western world, science is not just the simple explanation for things, so we need to reply on other methods as well. A current health volunteer explained that if you simply responded to people with scientific “proof” it would be as if you responded in a different language—quite simply, they do not speak the language you are speaking. So the analogies, especially if they have cultural context, are much more effective teaching tools.