I have this problem of Timba always jumping on me and then snagging my clothes with his nails. One would think that I would be an expert at patching holes by now, but no. Instead, I've taken a liking to duct-taping my clothes. I feel that there are two plus-sides to duct-taping clothing. First, it mends the problem (no longer exposing any thigh in a culture where that's unacceptable unless you're a lady of the night) and second, it gives you that ragged, rugged look that screams 'Don't ask me for money! Look, tape is holding my clothes together!' I also don't wash my tennis shoes for the reason that I'll get asked for them and they're brown. Effective, yet brown.
I have been going jogging with Timba every morning lately. Know what's crazier than seeing a white person around here? Seeing a white person running with a dog on a leash. When people see me approaching, they stop what they're doing, face me completely and stare, mouths open. When I see children doing it, I stare back at them with my mouth open and that usually gets them to laugh. I can hear them saying things in Makua but I have my iPod on so it drowns out their comments and laugher; not to mention, my out-of-shape gasping for breath. Mozambicans love it when I punish my dog too. He does his jump and leap against me and I'm trying to break this clothes-destroying habit of his, so I knee him. Hard. He usually falls down in a pile on the ground and learns his lesson for about a minute. I did this yesterday morning and a man was laughing so hard!
This morning, I was walking back toward our house when all of a sudden a gang of dogs from a house came up on Timba and me. They were all growling at him and seemed ready to rumble, drawing a crowd of Mozambicans who stood there, just watching. I picked Timba up so they wouldn't try to fight him and kept walking. At that moment, I found out what was funnier than a white girl running with a dog on a leash. A white girl carrying a dog. They started laughing SO hard. I felt like the Paris Hilton of Monapo. I really want to take the dog to the market one day, wrapped across my back like a small child in a capulana, to see how everyone reacts to it. I already tell students that he's my son.
Students here believe anything you tell them. Nia told a bunch of students Arnold Schwarzenegger is her uncle and is coming to visit next year. Apparently, they got pretty excited. I told some students that Jean Claude Van Damme is my embrigado and it took 'em a minute to process what I'd said. Nia and I got a few students to believe that white people only bathe once a month. They're extremely gullible, which makes it fun to play with their minds sometimes. One student always draws pictures for Nia. He's pretty good at drawing and he came to the house the other day with a picture of me with Timba. He drew me with cut-off jean shorts, a catana (a sharp sword-like knife) and what appeared to be a powdered wig on. All that was missing what a coonskin cap and a burned out trailer behind me. Needless to say, he captured me perfectly.
I have had SO many people ask me lately why I'm not married. They are like 'how old are you?' When I tell them I'm 24, they don't believe me and think I'm older. 'But you are tall!' Tall equals old here. I have no idea where they got that from. I tell them I don't plan on getting married or having kids for a long time and that completely rocks their world. Why would someone DO that? When they ask me why I'm not married, I tell them a husband equals more problems. It's actually partially true if you think about it. I was reading a Reader's Digest my dad sent me and there was a fact in there from the University of Michigan that said that a husband creates seven more hours of housework for a wife each week. No, thank you.
I bought capulanas (the traditional cloth for women in Mozambique) for my REDES girls for a solidarity thing. They were pretty fond of the idea and when we walked out in the community with them on, everyone got really curious about what we were doing. We went to the market to buy more capulanas to start making more things to sell. They're pretty stoked about that idea. There's such a lack of innovation here and I would love to get them thinking of things they could make here that people would be interested in buying - something that doesn't already exist in seven other stores. My dream or big goal is to get them creating items that produce income and something that can provide money for them to continue their education or at least lead good lives. It's so hard to get them to think of new things! That's one of my biggest challenges with teaching and being a leader of this girls' group.
That's it for this week. I'll end on this quote I read in that Reader's Digest my dad sent and it gave me a chuckle.
'At what age do you think they tell a highway it's adopted?' - Zach Galifianakis