At 7:30am this morning Ann, Erin and I had a meeting first with the head secretary of the administration of Inharrime district and the administrator of Inharrime (like our mayor). We showed up on time but the head secretary wasn’t there, so we went next door to the district direction of education. In order to take kids out of our district like I want to do this Saturday with my REDES group for our Inter-group Exchange, I need the district director of education’s permission. He gave me permission, but then explained what we would have to do first. He explained that the administrator is like the father to all of us here in the district, and you would never leave home without first saying goodbye to your father. So on Friday 12pm we (all 30 REDES girls I plan to take) needed to return to the administration (4k from our school and where a majority of the girls live) for a formal send-off from the administrator. I explained that almost all of my girls study in the afternoon, so he changed this time to 8am. He explained that it was a formality so all 30 girls didn’t necessarily need to come. I was thinking to myself that there was no way I would convince even five girls to walk that far at 8am for something they wouldn’t get credit for. I was hoping it wouldn’t be too awkward when the administrator and I had a one-on-one send-off. Then he explained that on Monday we would need to return for a welcome, because you never return home without greeting your father.
We returned to the administration and waited for a little while longer. We were told the head secretary wouldn’t be coming in today, but that hopefully the administrator would see us. But then I saw him walking home (he lives across the street), so we guessed that we wouldn’t be seeing him today. The lady apologetically informed us that he wasn’t working today, and that tomorrow he would be traveling through the weekend, perhaps we could come back on Monday. Ann, irritated, asked if we were actually going to get to meet with anyone on Monday, since we had been told to come in today by both people we were supposed to meet, only to find neither person was working. The lady asked us what we wanted to meet about anyway. We explained that we didn’t want anything! We had turned in a letter last week describing our project and it was them who wanted a meeting with us.
On my walk out of town an older lady greeted me and asked if I was going back to the sisters.’ “My house is right up here, let’s walk together!” I was in power-walking mode and trying to get back to school as quickly as possible—she was walking at Mozambican speed. But I slowed down and walked with her and her grandson and was glad I did. She asked if I knew Sister Lucilia. She talked a little bit about how wonderful a lady she is (which she is). Then she asked why I don’t come to town on bike, since I live so far away. I explained that I didn’t like having my bike in town, because I am always afraid it will get stolen. “Oh yes” she agreed “people here are always stealing bikes. I even heard that last year a bike got stolen WITHIN the sisters’!” I told her it was my bike. I was surprised that gossip had made it all the way into town. When we arrived at her house she invited me in for tea, but I actually had a meeting to get back to, so I told her I would come by next week.