Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Thank you for prying off our door lock, Mr. Thief. Love, Erin

I'm back. I began to teach again last week. Unamazingly, news spread like wildfire here. I had people I've never met before be like "are you better?" and then clutch at their throats. I also had students clap when I came into the classroom. Nia said she only told a few people the details of my abcess but every person she told was like "oh, it's because she ate fish." I love the causes and cures of diseases people claim here. I particularly enjoyed when a friend was sick with a cold during training and her host mom told her she needed to eat a hamburger. When I was down in Maputo for training, I was told that eating sand helps pregnant women. Note to self in the future.

We've had a couple of friends visit us from Niassa, the northernmost western province. Everyone is automatically curious about them too. Pretty much the first question out of our students' mouths is "are they your husbands?" But it's been really nice having them with us, especially since we had an incident the other night. We had a break-in. I haven't been able to sleep well at night, which I entirely blame on my hyperactive thyroid, so I was semi-awake at 3 a.m. the other night and had my room light on. I heard this loud clanging by our front door and I got nervous and turned off my bedroom light and locked my bedroom door. After I didn't hear anything for a while, I fell asleep. I awoke to Nia at 6. "Ummm, Erin?" I unlocked my door and looked into our kitchen. Our front door was wide open with the lock crow-barred off the wall. The amazing part of it all was that they stole nothing. There was a cell phone sitting on the table and they didn't take any of our kitchen supplies. We were so confused by that. Jamie claims that it was probably just someone who has a grudge against doors and I am convinced that they looked through our window and saw our vast array of spices and wanted to borrow some mint. Our real theory is that my shuffling around in the room and putzing with my room lock scared them away.

The glory of theft and what I respect the most about it in Mozambique is that most of the time, people will try to steal from you but they aren't out to hurt you. Typically, if they know people are home, they won't try anything. A friend from Zimbabwe told us she just heard about a case in South Africa where a child was waiting at the gate of their school for a parent to pick them up and they had a cell phone on them. A man walked up and shot the child, with the sole purpose of taking the cell phone. Unbelievable. I feel pretty safe in Mozambique though. People here don't like confrontation or trouble, much less violent crime. Absolute poverty is bound to breed different levels of theft and crime though. It's survival of the fittest here. Each for himself and his family.

So now we've had a carpenter install two new locks on that door and a simple slide lock. Possibly more later. We're going to ask to get iron gates over our doors too. Make the place a fortress. Peace Corps will pay for us to get the iron gates so I think it would be worth it. We're in Nampula right now for a conference and I am getting a dog from a PCV in Mousseril. So the dog will bark if they hear something at night. And our school has said they will pay for a guard for our house. So it's all looking up.


Charlene said...

Hi Erin
Two things come to mind,BIG DOG and use for the new shovel.Be safe.

love ,Dad

Rog & Deb said...

Erin - What a year you are having so far - I bet we can't even imagine, can we? We hope the pills are helping and you are feeling better and getting some sleep now. We also hope those bars are on the front door - or soon to be. You are in our thoughts and prayers. Keep writing - we are always looking forward to your next post. Roger and Deb

Carly said...

Wow! I can't believe that happened. I always felt so safe in our house... we never had problems like that, only once Heather's screen was cut open in her window and some towels stolen from the back porch before we had the small wire put up over the bars... craziness...