September 3rd is Laura Vicuña day, she is the patron saint of our secondary school and the entire mission is usually referred to as the Laura Vicuña Center. We were scheduled to begin the festival at 7am, but then the day before we were informed that the government had designated today as the day for a national peace march. So at 6am my colleague who also lives within the mission and I walked to town for the peace march. We waited until 8:30am; still nothing had happened. The police chief has passed by earlier and said she would be back, but she wasn’t sure who was going to lead the peace march, since the administrator and other town leaders were out of town. By 8:50am apparently my director was fed up with waiting, so she piled everyone affiliated with my school—students and faculty who had turned out for the peace march—into the large mission truck and we headed back to school to start our festival. Thus, we “started” two hours later than we would have otherwise, and, since this is Mozambique, we did not start right at 9am by any means. The festival opened with a mass, followed by a theater about the life of Laura Vicuña, followed by presentations from students. One of my REDES girls recited a poem in French, some students performed a song they had written specifically for this day and our school, and our two REDES groups performed dances. There was a male faculty vs. female faculty soccer game, but I wasn’t able to play because I had to stay to coordinate the music for the REDES groups. The last event of an otherwise good festival was the student-faculty soccer game. And at the end of a day that had passed with few problems…a student’s head collided with another person’s head and he was rushed to the hospital with his head bleeding and one fewer tooth.
Yesterday I ran 16 miles (okay I had to walk some of it, I hadn’t run anywhere near that far in too long). I get the impression that often when I tell my students how far I ran, they just don’t believe me. But today one of the girls in my peer-education group saw me run past Chongola, the next tiny little town up the road where many students at my school live. It’s about 7 miles away so suddenly there was proof that I wasn’t just an idiot white person that doesn’t know how far a kilometer is! Instant respect from all of the kids in my peer-educators group.