Sunday, April 20, 2008

meus deus! (said with dramatic flair)

So...the REDES conference. It started off on Sunday when we had to start traveling to Nampula city where we would catch a flight to Beira. I brought the girls, who were 45 minutes late to begin with, to the city with me and we caught breakfast and met up with another group of girls. One of my girls didn't have her ID on her because she had left it with extended family in the city. She insisted that their house was really close to the little cafe we were sitting in, so I let her go to get it while I would wait. Well, a quick trip to get her ID turned into a four hour ordeal. I paced that city for three hours looking for them, getting so frustrated I was ready to cry and glared at every man who tried to speak to me in English. I think I may have looked insane. So after the other group I was waiting around with left for the airport, I started to have a slight nervous breakdown. First of all I was worried that something happened to them and second of all, I was angry that they hadn't listened to me. And to top it all off, my cell phone isn't working for me to call any PC people for help. So just as I am about to call it a bust and walk to get help from some people I know in the city, who should come lollygagging up (yes, I am 70 years old for using that term) but my two girls and two of their relatives. They explained that they were at a ceremony and were busy. I just growled that we had to leave and that I was not pleased with them. We had to take a taxi at this point and I have to pay for it out of my own pocket. I tell the girls to hop in and I tell the taxi driver where to go. Who should go and try to squeeze themselves into the taxi as well, but the relatives. Of course, I have to pay 50 more to have two extra people in the backseat. I am about ready to combust in the front seat in all my anger.

The conference went well for the most part. The girls really responded to a lot of the activities we had planned. The only frustrating thing was that people started to think of it more as a money-making event, rather than as a chance for girls to get to meet other girls and learn important information. Girls and counterparts started to complain about how much money they should be receiving, how they needed medicine because they were 'sick' (which would mean it was epidemic proportions because everyone was sick) and everyone was hoarding food from snack time and feminine pads. Girls would walk up and just stick out their hand to the girl in charge of medical supplies, demanding pads. When she would give them one, they would say 'only one!?' When you see people behaving in this manner, you feel less benevolent and more pessimistc about human nature than anything. On a funny note, the girls didn't really know how to use the hygiene products we gave them. One girl put deoderant on her feet. Girls used the bathroom without shutting the door. A couple were spotted not even using the bathroom but going to the bathroom in the bushes, like they would at home. And this was on the grounds of a Red Cross facility. They didn't understand the importance of flushing the toilet. Or that the soap dispensers were, well, soap dispensers and that there is such a thing as an automatic hand dryer. I think we will have a session at the beginning of the conference next year on hygiene so they know what's up. I have volunteered to help plan the regional one next year that we'll probably end up having in Nampula anyways. And now we are waiting in a hotel, waiting for a flight tomorrow because they kicked us off the flight we were supposed to take today to accomodate a group of male soccer players going to Nampula. Don't get me started on that one.

In other news, I haven't been able to blog for a few weeks because internet in my town is, surprise, surprise, not so hot. I finished up the first trimester with what is probably the lowest passing rate of all the teachers because I didn't let my students get away with anything. I am sure that the school boosted my scores to make them better. Even though 39 to 45 of my students passed in each class, passing being fifty percent or higher (way to shoot for the stars, right?), they are going to jack it up to passing 80 percent of the kids because they don't want the kids to 'give up.' Hmmm. Yes. I have strong feelings about this and I get worked up so I won't even get started.

I got hit on by the sleazy veterinarian in my town when all I wanted was a rabies shot for my dog. He smelled like a liquor cabinet as soon as he opened his mouth. When I had to get change from him, he said that we could walk to go get it and he could buy me a drink. Smooth. Obviously I said no and he retaliated by calling me his pita in front of a bunch of people in front of a shop. A pita is not delicious bread here. It's your girl 'on the side,' if you catch my drift. It frustrated me to no end. I have no respect for a lot of men here now until they prove it to me that they aren't creepy. They are quick to hit on white girls. Case in point, just got hit on by a guy waiting to use the computer behind me. They are sleazy until proven not guilty. Not exactly fair, but hey, it's worked for some facist dictators so there's gotta be something to it.

2 comments:

Heather said...

Hi Erin, this is Heather from Moz 6, just wanted to tell you I read your blog occasionally, I love it- I wish I had had one when I was there. I have my own crazy story about getting girls to the first REDES conference- in Inhambane, but I won't waste your space. I wanted to let you know that I have made a website on Mozambique http://heatherleila3.googlepages.com/ mostly using my own pictures. You've mentioned you wish you could put pictures on your blog for your family and I know how you must feel- you want them to SEE what you're talking about! If you would like, you can give them the address of the website. I have lots of pictures and information about Nampula and Macua culture specifically. There are pictures of the school and a few of the house. Its just a thought. Take care, Heather

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