In Mozambique the appropriate way of dressing for women is nothing above the knees. So from the waist down female dressing is very conservative here. But from the waist up it is quite the opposite. I would say about a third of us saw our homestay mom’s or grandma’s boobs during the homestay. Especially for the older women, walking around topless is pretty standard, especially when it gets really hot. Public breastfeeding is perfectly acceptable here and what gets me still is women will just be walking down the street with their baby in a capulana sling breastfeeding as she walks. A lot of women wear tops that I consider very skimpy and perhaps a size or two smaller than I would have chosen, with their boobs just bursting/hanging out. Today I put on a dress that I was aware was a little short (it doesn’t quite hit my knees, but it is regulation culver kilt length), so I wanted to see what the sisters thought. When one of the Portuguese sisters saw me she exclaimed “oh you look so handsome!” before I could even ask, so I thought maybe it was okay. But then when my Mozambican director sister saw me she laughed and said “is that a dress? I think you forgot your pants!” I find it so funny that any thigh whatsoever is completely unacceptable, but a lot of boob is just the norm.
Last two days have been absurdly hot, the kind of hot where you never actually dry off after a shower. You know you’re in trouble when you’re sweating at 6am. All of the girls from the orphanage have been away since I got here, but some of them came back tonight. It was nice to see how excited everyone was to see each other again, you would think they had been gone years.