Wednesday, April 4, 2012


This morning Anna and I went for a run as our morning workout. At one point a police car driving toward us starting to pull over, right into where we were about to run. As a matter of pride I don’t give in to the cars that think it’s funny to try to run me off the road, so I held my ground. The car wasn’t able to pull over as much as it wanted, but they stopped from hitting me by about 6 inches. In Mozambique there seems to be a very strong direct correlation between the size of a man’s belly and his status in society. So just then a moderately important man began to get out of the back seat of the car. I saw it coming so put out my arm to block the door he opened into me, hitting me. “Hey! Watch out!” he yelled at me, annoyed. I turned and yelled back a string of expletives about how he should be the one watching out. He was shocked. I am sure this was one of the first times he has ever been yelled at by a woman, especially one so young.
Shenzi, the new puppy, is settling in well. He is miraculously somewhat housebroken already which is fantastic—if the door is open he will always go outside to relieve himself. Amendoim—the other dog—is a little wary/scared of him. We think that maybe he isn’t aware that Shenzi is a dog, because he isn’t territorial or anything, but mostly just keeps his distance.
I got home today and found a livid Anna in our house. She told me that when she got home she found two kids up in the tree inside our yard just out of reach of the dog’s lead, taunting him. When they saw her they ran away and the handful of people around the front of our gate somehow couldn’t come up with the names of the two kids. She was livid because she knew that everyone knew who the kids were, but were refusing to help her. I went back outside to chat with the neighbors. At first I was told that nobody knew who the kids were. I explained how incredibly disrespectful it is for kids to enter our yard without permission (which it IS in Mozambican culture) and how I needed to talk to these kids’ parents. After chatting for a few more minutes, I was able to discover a couple kids who did know who these kids had been. Turns out one of them lives directly next door to us. (Interesting that nobody was able to come up with her name before.) This girl was one of the older ones and leaders of the neighborhood gang of kids, so I thought maybe there was a misunderstanding and it wasn’t her, but either way I knew she could tell me something, so I went to her yard. As soon as she saw me, she ran and hid in her house. So much for thinking she was innocent. I explained to her mother that other kids had seen her in my tree today taunting the dog and I explained that we always let them come in and gather guava fruits from the trees when we are there, but to enter our yard without permission was completely unacceptable. She called out repeatedly to her daughter, but the girl refused to come out. I mentioned that I thought it was her shame that prevented her from coming out. The mother apologized and said she would have a talk with her daughter. Later I saw the girl’s best friend who I know is very hardworking and responsible. I explained to her that she needs to show her friend how to be a responsible and good person—she can’t allow her friend to act like that. The culture of shaming is generally quite effective here.

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