This weekend we traveled up to Xai-Xai beach to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day with about 20 other PCVs. We had green food coloring for our drinks and food, two houses on the beach, almost enough sleeping spaces for everyone, the sun, and almost nobody else on the beach—it was a great weekend. It’s still weird to me that most of my closest friends are gone, and it hits me hardest on weekends like this when they don’t show up…because they are actually back in America.
When Anna and I were leaving our house on Friday the two little boys who live directly in front of us ran up to us. Normally whenever we are leaving or entering our house they excitedly scream “olá!” repeatedly until we are out of sight. They ran behind us for a while, “olá, olá!” and babbling in Changana (the local language), and then eventually held our hands and walked with us. We appreciated the attention until we had gotten a few hundred yards from our house, at which point we started trying to convince them to return home. They probably are about 18 months and 2.5 years and as far as I can tell, neither speaks much Portuguese. “Go back to your house! You can’t come with us, go home!” I said to the older one. He responded with one of the only Changana phrases I know, “nayala,” (which means “I don’t want it”) and a small stamp of his foot. We continued walking holding their hands until we reached a group of people sitting outside a shop of a woman we’re friends with. “Can you please tell them to go home? We don’t want them to get lost” I asked. Alternating between Portuguese and Changana one woman told the boys they needed to go home; they couldn’t continue walking with us because there was a big dog up ahead. The boys gave us one more smile and then turned and ran home giggling.