Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Gimme a five...meticais

We got a dog at our house again. It´s nice to have a little companion once again. I had to figure out a name for him so I did some thinking and have decided. His mother´s name is Dama do Bling - Lady of the Bling- and MC Roger is his father, both Mozambican hip hop stars, so I figured I´d stay with the hip hop tradition and take it stateside with an American star - Timbaland. My dog is now named Timba, although he has yet to realize that.

I took him on a walk with a leash, an event that turned out to equal the day of the shovel. Mozambicans are extremely scared of dogs. My puppy is about the size of a chihuahua right now but to some, he might as well be a rottweiler or a pit bull. We had stuents come to chat and he brushed up against one of their legs and the student yelped and jumped away. I, however, thought it...was...hilarious. He´s about as intimidating as a bunny. But not the Easter Bunny because, let´s face it, Easter Bunnies at the mall are creepy and thus placed under the category of intimidating.

I went to the market yesterday for some fixin´s for dinner and there was large crowd gathered by the primary school next to my house. I couldn´t see anything at first so I asked a guy what was happening. "Uma luta?" A fight? He said yeah and when I ask what it was over, he responded with a shrug and "sobre coisas." Over things. And then he jaunted off to join the crowd of spectators surrounding two women fighting. These women weren´t just exchanging a good ol´battle of verbal slings but were all out punching and slapping each other and pulling at each others´hair and clothes. Looked painful. A few guys were trying to break them up but it looked like a few other women got involved by the time I´d finished my passing by. I wasn´t about to stop and stare but I secretly wanted to. And to know why they were fighting. Come on. Let´s be honest. A good fight is intriguing to us all. Why do you think Springer was so popular? I´ve heard in a few places that many Mozambicans will break up people of the same gender if they´re in a physical fight but will do nothing if it´s between a man and a woman because they assume it´s a marital spat and that it´s none of their business.

Speaking of disputes, I had an interesting one in the classroom. I had a listening exercise with my students where I brought in my iPod, hiding it in my bag so no one would see it, and my iPod speakers and played Where is the Love by the Black Eyed Peas for them. The kids really got into it and started dancing even. While they were writing down words they recognized, three students knocked on the door and I answered it. Usually when they´re more than 5 minutes late, I don´t let them in but these kids made the time. Tardiness is such a problem at our school - one teacher makes his students crawl from the door to their seat on their hands and knees when they´re late. Brilliant idea. Public humiliation = never late again. So I let these kids in and they sit down. All of a sudden, every one of my students is up out of their seat, yelling at the three students and yelling to me in portuguese that could only be matched by a Mozambican auctioneer. When I finally was able to hear a student tell me the problem - the students weren´t in the turma and just wanted to listen to the music - my students kicked out the three who didn´t belong themselves, ushering them out the door. I was amazed at how the students reacted, saying "eles so querem fazer barulho." They only want to make noise. I love my students. They´ve got my back. There are too many students in my turmas to know who does and doesn´t belong.

Oh, and I´ve thought of a way to combat people asking me for money and water constantly. I ask them back. A guy asked me for 5 meticais. So I said "ok, but first, can I have ten?"

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