Yesterday afternoon we stopped by the Inharrime hotel, the main restaurant and bar in town, to get food to take back to Erin’s house so we could watch a movie. We were sitting in the main room when a really drunk guy came up and began to try speaking to us in English. He was pretty obnoxious but nothing out of the ordinary at first—a drunken Mozambican guy overjoyed to see four white girls. He really annoyed me when he welcomed us to Mozambique—this is my town, it’s bad enough that I have to put up with this here, but how dare you welcome me to where I have lived for over a year. I tried to put him in his place but that was just a mistake, he was too drunk, so I stopped acknowledging him and went back to my embroidery. He kept walking away and then coming back to lean in too close to talk to us or try to rest his hand on us. We kept telling him to leave and otherwise ignored him, hoping our food wouldn’t take too long. When our food finally came out he proclaimed “I will pay for your things!” but we just ignored him and tried to pay as quickly as possible so we could leave. When he saw one of us trying to pay he tried to physically stop her, but she ignored him gave the money to the woman working. In response he yelled “F*** YOU!” and threw the contents of his beer bottle at us (but not the bottle thankfully). At this point the two women working finally got upset and asked him to leave and apologized profusely to us until we left. Thankfully he didn’t try to follow us, but Yvette was ready with her brand new glass bottle of hot sauce, just in case he did.
I love this country and the people here. But there are a few things I really don’t like and this situation exemplified one of them. It is generally considered acceptable for drunk men, actually just men in general, to behave like that. That behavior is even expected in some ways. So the entire 20 minutes he kept bothering us and we clearly didn’t want him talking to us and we kept loudly asking him to leave, not a single person around stepped in on our behalf—not the two women working or many of the other patrons of both genders. I have encountered the same problem on public transportation many times, where a man is harassing me and not a single person present sticks up for me. The mentality seems to be just that “boys will be boys,” and in some ways I brought on this behavior by being a woman, being alone (as in not with a husband), or being a white woman.