Friday night we celebrated another PCV’s birthday with her out on the town in Maputo. It’s fun to occasionally get dressed up and go out like that. But very very occasionally—a Peace Corps allowance doesn’t cover many nights like that. At the end of the night we got a ride home with a Mozambican friend and his friend was in the car as well. He turned around and was chatting to us and asked our names. When Anna told him hers he said “oh were you in Namaacha? I did your dreds, remember?” And yes, in fact, when Anna got her hair put into dreds almost 2.5 years ago, it was this guy who did it!
At mass today the same little girl came over to sit on my lap again, this time bringing a friend with her. Last week I had asked her if she knew how to give the money for the offering and she nodded at me, so I handed her my money. But apparently she didn’t understand (and who knows if she even speaks much Portuguese) because she walked over and offered the money to her mother. Her mother was quite confused as to where her daughter had gotten so much money, but one of the girls from the orphanage who was sitting with us went over and explained and took the little one up to the front to put the money in the basket. This morning I asked her if she understood this time and she nodded confidently, so I gave her and her friend money to offer for me. As she made her way up to the front (which is just a disorderly mob every week because there is no concept of lines here), she proudly showed off her money to everyone she could with a huge grin on her face.
After mass it is customary for everyone to hang out in front of the church for a long time socializing, so in my attempt to before more a part of the community of Namaacha I did this. Though admittedly I socialized mostly with people under the age of 12—girls from the orphanage. One of them pointed out a white girl about my age who I had seen around town a few times, so I went over and introduced myself. She is Ecuadorian and volunteering for the sisters here, so we made plans to hang out sometime. One of the girls hanging all over us grabbed our hands and put them together, asking “why are you this color and she is this color?” She is fairly pale and I just came off a weekend at the beach. I laughed and asked why her hand was lighter than her friend’s. I think a couple of the girls were genuinely surprised, I don’t think they had ever realized that “white” people might come in different shades of pale.