September 7th is holiday in Mozambique, to commemorate the signing of the Lusaka Accord. My two REDES groups had been preparing dances to present at the town celebration, and I had arranged things with my colleague who coordinates that. He told me to show up at 6am, so I did, with my book. My REDES girls showed up around 7:10 and he showed up at 7:45. But it didn’t matter because all the important people didn’t show up until 8:15, thus the celebration couldn’t start until then. I was told that our school, Laura Vicuña, had been allotted 30 minutes for our presentations. In addition to my three groups who were dancing (the secondary school group had split into two separate dances) there were a couple students presenting two poems about Samora Machel in French (Samora Machel was the first president of Mozambique and this year has been named Samora Machel year), but 30 minutes was going to be plenty of time.
The students from primary school where Ann has her REDES group were presenting gymnastics, and some of Ann’s REDES girls were part of the presentation. Their presentation of awesome, especially the pyramid they made (I will post a picture). Finally it was our turn. Mozambicans are incredible dancers and they are continually dancing. But despite how great of dancers they are individually (actually, largely due to that) they are pretty awful at synchronized dancing in a group. Very rarely can you get everyone doing the same steps at the same time. One group danced a song, then a poem was presented, another group danced a song, then another poem was presented. This probably took about 12 minutes. When my third and last group went to the middle of the “stage” to present, my colleague said that they couldn’t present, there was no more time. I reminded him that we had arranged for three dancing groups and that we had been promised 30 minutes, which we were still way under. He said that the important people we saying they were tired and because it was already so late we needed to cut it short. I was furious—it was THEIR fault we had started so late. I don’t understand how someone can do that. They screwed up by being so late, but then they want to tell a group of 14 year olds they can’t perform the dance they’ve been working on for weeks because they messed up. The worst part was, of course none of them apologized, so I was the one who had to go explain to my group of 14 year olds that they wouldn’t be presenting their dance today. I was fuming.