Today during English Club the students were telling me about their weekends. One boy told me about a ceremony traditional to the area that I hadn’t known about, and it was such a wonderful experience to learn about this while listening to him describe it in English (and Portuguese every once in a while when he got stuck). When a woman gives birth, she and the baby stay inside the house for four weeks, during which time other family members stop by to visit, help out, and do the chores she would have normally done. At the end of four weeks she is finally allowed to leave the house again, at which point they throw a small party in her honor to celebrate. This was the party my student was telling me about—his mother gave birth to a baby boy four weeks ago.
We changed our REDES meeting times again, this time to a free period at the end of the school day, so all of the girls would already be at school. And this finally seems to be working—they all show up and show up on time. We talked about being present at meetings and participating in extra-group activities. They all said that someone would have to have been present at all of the meetings in the previous month. When I reminded them that if we had something planned for right now, only one of them would have been able to participate and they said it was okay—they didn’t deserve to.
Our REDES group is planning to present a small theater piece at the Mozambican Women’s Day (April 7th) celebration at the town monument. Marcia, my participant/Facilitator discovered the Maya Angelou poem “Still I Rise” (translated into Portuguese) and fell in love with it, so now we will also present that. We just began talking about these two things yesterday and during today’s meeting three girls presented the poem beautifully (not by heart yet, but they knew their parts) and they basically ran through the entire play. I was blown away. It was such a great meeting, the girls were all fairly focused and being productive, but were also energetic and being a little silly, the meeting was a wonderful mixture of productivity and ridiculousness and giggles.
Today is Fat Tuesday so tonight the sisters and the girls celebrated Carnival. Maintaining last year’s tradition, I “painted” (with markers and glitter pens) the faces of the girls and everyone wore loud and ridiculous outfits. There are some benefactors of the mission visiting from Swaziland and Portugal, so they had brought some nice cheese and meats which were a great surprise. One volunteer gave the girls some long balloons that fly around making a fantastic noise, so the refectory was filled with shrieks and squeals of all the girls chasing them around. And, because this is Mozambique, dinner was followed by a dance party.