Settling in to life here, all the women I live with are incredibly nice. Ann has been trying to get all the things done for her house to get it up to Peace Corps standards. She has a rat problem (they have eaten her breakfast on two occasions) which really needs to be taken care of because she can’t not be able to keep food in her house for two years. The good news is that she found someone with kittens (for the rodents) and someone with puppies (for security) so she will be getting them soon. But she only has three windows, they are all on one side of the house, only one opens, and the screen doesn’t have a lock so the house isn’t secure if it’s open. Additionally, her walls need to be reinforced with cement on the inside up to 5 feet (this 1 inch of cement prevents people from just sticking their hands into the house and pulling out whatever they can grab, but doesn’t stop a determined thief who can simply break through it), she needs to have a metal grate put over her door, and a screen door installed. It’s getting to the point where so much needs to be done, her organization might just move her instead. There is another house of cement that she could have lived in, but apparently Ann’s APCD told her organization to put her in the reed house because that is the “true Peace Corps experience.” Yesterday when she was talking to her land lady telling her all of the things that needed to be done to the house to get it up to Peace Corps standards (this isn’t Ann being a pain, these are the standards Peace Corps Mozambique made themselves) the land lady told Ann she didn’t have the money for all of that, but Ann did since she is American, so she should pay for it. The other day Ann and I were telling one of the sisters who is my school director about all of the troubles with her house. She told Ann that they have a house nobody is using that is “normal” (literally the word she used). Ann asked, what is normal, and she patted the cement wall she was leaning against and said, this is normal.
Today on the chapa a man asked us what we were doing here. I told him we were Peace Corps volunteers from America and his response was “why can’t Mozambican people do that work, I need a job too to feed myself.” I walked into town today (a little over 2 miles) carrying a large tub and got picked up without even asking for a ride by some people who recognized me from church. I walked from town back to the mission with a girl in the seventh grade. I thought my walk was long, but I think she told me she was going to the next town. Even though she was carrying a sack on her head, she offered to help me carry my things. We have a bakery in my mission so when I arrived I asked if she was hungry and she said yes rather rigorously so I sent her on her way with a loaf of bread and a mango. I am hoping that people in the town where we live get to know us and recognized that we are not tourists. It stinks to have all the little kids come running up to you with their hands extended because you’re white and therefore have money. As we are walking around, the thing we hear from almost every guy is “hello my seestah” which I hate. It’s kind of bizarre, I have no idea where they got it from, and it also creeps me out. I have started snapping back, in Portuguese, “I am NOT your sister.” All the vendors will try to speak in English to us because we’re white, but both Ann and I refuse to speak English back to them.
I have started reading Harry Potter e o prisionerio de Azkaban which is a really fun way to improve my Portuguese. I also have the benefit of getting to eat meals surrounded by people speaking Portuguese, which I wouldn’t have if I were living by myself.