Julia had one full day in Namaacha during which we went on a morning run down to the Swaziland border, spent the morning celebrating Baby Anata’s second birthday, visited my host grandma’s house (where I lived during my homestay), and walked around town. It was wonderful having Julia there to take great pictures. So often here I’m the only one with a camera and most Mozambicans haven’t had much practice taking pictures, so you never know exactly what will end up in a picture if you ask someone to take it for you.
For Anatinha’s (diminutive of Anata) birthday I had gotten her a doll made by a woman’s organization I visited while up in Zambezia province, complete with a capulana dress and head scarf; a headband with a flower; a shirt; and (the special gift!) earrings with the letter “A” that I gave her inside a pretty box inside a cute purse. Julia and I baked a chocolate cake and M&M cookies, and brought balloons with “happy birthday” written on them. My host mom and cousins loved the headband and doll and LOVED the earrings. But I should have known—for a two year old just the balloons would have been enough, that’s all she cared about all day anyway.
We had a great time watching the kids run around with the balloons shrieking. My mom was only able to hold Anatinha still for long enough to put in one “A” earring, but I found out that Anatinha and her friend lost the other one within a few days anyway. I had also brought Pop Rocks for everyone—they are a novelty here and I know that my host family loves them. One of the neighbor boys put some in his mouth and made a funny face as he felt them begin to pop on his tongue. “What is it doing?” his mother asked him. “It’s dancing in my mouth!” he responded excitedly.
That was our last night in Mozambique before we headed to South Africa the following day and it ended in fittingly Mozambican fashion: Amendoim caught a rat in our kitchen and gleefully ran with it outside to play with it for the next hour or so as it squeaked pitifully.
Julia and the birthday girl
The birthday girl, SO excited
My host mom and Anatinha
First I let the birthday girl cut her cake...
But then this happened!
So I took over and let her help me instead!
My brother Aiton with Anatinha in her new shirt
Anatinha (so excited!) and her next-door neighbor Jusara, who is only two weeks younger
The kids with their balloons