Saturday, April 16, 2011


Because of the holiday last week, I just had my second Txopi lesson yesterday. It is interesting what my tutor has taught me in the first two lessons. We have obviously covered the basics (hello, my name is…), but I thought it was interesting that two of the other things I was immediately taught were, “my father is…” and how to respond to the question “what do the people look to when they awake in the morning?” (they turn to the work that must be done). I thought these were interesting because they are so culturally rooted.
I mentioned that my brother will be coming in June, so my tutor taught me how to introduce him and say that he is 18 years old. And thus I learned about the counting system. They have names for numbers 1-5. Then numbers 6-9 are named: 5 plus 1, 5 plus 2 and so on. My brother’s age, 18, is 10 plus 5 plus 3. I have noticed before that when people are talking in Txopi, they tend to say things like numbers or days of the week in Portuguese, mixed in with their Txopi. I guess this explains why, since Portuguese numbers are much simpler.
Apparently when the girls from the orphanage went to the beach a few weeks ago, some of them were able to catch about 30 tiny little fish that they have been keeping in a large can, hidden behind one of the dormitories. And they have been successful in keeping them alive so far, digging up worms and other bugs to feed them.
I called Barclays bank today because the PAO (Public Affairs Office of the US Embassy who gives us, REDES, our money) still hadn’t received the fax confirmation of the money transfer, despite the man telling me he would do it on that day, and a woman telling me she would do it when I called a week later. So today I explained that I was calling about a transfer on March 25th and needed the confirmation faxed and to please please please actually do it. The woman asked for the fax number and then told me she would take care of it. “Wait” I said. “What are you going to fax, how do you even know which transfer I am talking about?” She laughs and replies, “oh you’re that girls group right?” Well they aren’t very good at keeping their promises, but the Barclays in Inhambane knows my voice now!
On the trimestral exam the students were asked “how should students treat litter in the school yard?” Reading their answers I realize that, they don’t fully understand the meaning of the word litter, they think it refers to anything dirty. So a lot of them wrote about how, if we don’t keep our school yard clean, we will get diseases. I do like his mentality because litter in Mozambique is awful, but some of my students listed diseases they could get from litter and included malaria. First thing next trimester, we are doing a lesson on malaria.

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