Today I went into Maputo with Rosalia, my host mom, to pick up her son who had been spending the school holidays with an aunt, since classes recommence tomorrow. When we met up at the chapa stuff she handed Baby Anata to me and said, “here, you hold her.” Surprisingly, Baby Anata didn’t object or get upset. Apparently today she decided that we will be friends. The driver on the way there was pretty crazy. Scary. Just something you try not to think about and be calm because you have absolutely no control in the situation. We got off the chapa in the bad part of town and headed to where we could catch our next chapa, me with Baby Anata and Rosalia with our purses. The man in front of Rosalia suddenly yelled “Hey! Look what you did!” He pointed to his rubber sandal that had split into two layers in the sole. He demanded that she pay him for the shoe she had just broken. She said no, she didn’t have any money. He commented on the way she was dressed and said she did (she was dressed very chic—probably why he picked her in the first place). A cop passed, heard the situation, rolled his eyes and told her to pay the guy. She refused. Eventually one of the street vendors there told the guy that she wasn’t going to pay his salary and he should stop trying to take advantage of people. As we walked away we laughed that his shoe had probably already been broken and he was waiting for a well-dressed person to walk by who he could blame it on. I felt bad that I couldn’t help her or stand up for her, but getting involved would have been the least helpful thing in the world. If the man had known I was with her, me with my white skin that just screams money to everyone here, he never would have let us go. But it was kind of refreshing to see that ridiculous things happen to other people here too.
At their house we sat and chatted and they prepared lunch to serve us. Because having guests and not feeding them is basically a mortal sin here. My host aunt and her husband had just married in January, so they were showing us pictures and the DVD from the wedding. A wedding in Mozambique involves the traditional ceremony which has many steps and involves a fairly large dowry and the presentation of it to the bride’s family, the religious ceremony, and the official registering with the state. All three of these processes are fairly expensive, thus many couples here opt for what we would call common-law marriages in the states. This couple has been together for many years and they already have two children together, but had never officially been married before. It was interesting to watch the DVD and see especially the traditional ceremony which I have been told about but never seen before. Her husband and I kept asking each other questions about the other’s respective cultures and ceremonies and comparing the similarities and differences.