Today all the kids came to school and about half of them were carrying hoes and machetes. At first I didn’t think anything of it because it’s quite common to see people walking around town carrying machetes here, but then I realized it was far too many of them to be a coincidence. The pedagogical director gave them a little speech, welcoming them back from holidays and then telling them that this is their school and it’s their responsibility to upkeep their school. All the kids were split into groups and set to work weeds, cutting the grass, and raking into piles all the dead leave and grass that were then put into the trash pits to be burned.
It seems that Mozambicans are much more likely than the Americans I know to get into really deep and philosophical conversations on a regular basis, or perhaps when talking to an American they feel pressured to impress them intellectually. I have on numerous occasions (much more often than when I was in America, and I went to a pretty nerdy college!) found myself discussing the affects of global warming and what man can do to counteract it, the philosophies of teaching, the need for development in countries like Mozambique and the role of outside aid and volunteers, the differences in economic opportunities between countries like Mozambique and South Africa, the philosophy behind volunteering, etc. And this is with a huge range of people, my new colleagues at the secondary school, the guard outside the bank who I strike up conversation with as I am waiting for my friend, the man who sits down next to me while I am having a cold drink in the shade, the person giving us a boléia, etc.