Yesterday headed up to Maxixe to do a little shopping and then stay the night with Becky and Stephanie. They live a short chapa ride away from Maxixe but I wasn’t sure I would know exactly when to get off the chapa, so before getting on I asked the conductor, “do you know the two white girls who live there? Do you know where their stop is?” He said, “Oh Rebecca and Stephanie? Oh yes, dey are my friend!” And he did indeed know exactly where to let me off. They live about a 10 minute walk into a neighborhood with no streets and only slightly discernable paths, so I was planning to wait where the chapa let me off until one of them could come get me. But a boy in a school uniform got off at the same place so I asked if he knew where the two white girls lived. He said “oh yes, I met them last year when they first arrived here!”
We met up with Emily who lives in Inhambane on Wednesday (which is Heroes Day here, a national holiday) to go to Tofo beach. Tourist season has passed so we had the beautiful beach all to ourselves, and I thoroughly enjoyed the ice cream at a shop there which is the closest to real ice cream I have yet found in Mozambique. We were talking to a boy selling bags on the beach. Becky asked if he went to school and he said that yes, he was in the 7th grade. Becky asked if his town had 8th grade and he said no, he would have to go to Inhambane city for 8th grade. He said “of course, you need money for the transportation into the city, so if I have the money I will go. But if you don’t have the money, you can’t go to school.” It’s such a shame that in a country that so badly needs the educated and skilled people, some people who would like to go to school can’t because they can’t afford the transportation costs. My school now offers 11th grade for the first time, but any kids who live in Inharrime who want to complete 12th grade have to have the money available to pay rent in Inhambane or Maxixe.