It’s been a while, but I’ve been busy!  I had a great 2nd week of teaching, then a week of malaria, or dengue fever, or a virus.   Glad that’s over after a course of flagyl anti-biotic and co-artem malaria treatment, and now probiotics. Now that I’m healed, I’m started with Block 2, which is 4 lessons at a time = long, long teaching sessions. 

During the second week of teaching, I had time to assimilate into the culture, learning from the Mozambicans with whom I spend my time.

Carrying a "bidao" of 25 litres of water with the clinic assistants

First, I carried this container of water full of 25 litres of water on my head from the spicket to the clinic across the street.  Very heavy, but I made it all the way without dropping it!  The people here carry many things on their head, like this bidao, huge bundles of branches and logs, bamboo mats, sacs of corn (which I tried today), etc.

Sorting beans with the night guards

Next, I sorted beans with the night guards.  All the beans must be separated from the dried plant material, pebbles, and bad beans before they are soaked in preparation to cook them.

Pounding Peanuts
Sifting Crushed Peanuts


Third, I pounded and sifted peanuts with the clinic assistants.  They pound raw peanuts in a large wooden mortar and pestal.  The motion is more up and down than grinding.  Then, they add corn meal/flour to absorb some of the oil and pound some more.  The wood is “iron wood” and is very heavy.  Then, the powder is sifted in a seive, and the larger chunks are pounded again.  The peanut powder is distributed as a nutritional protein booster to some of the children on the nutrition program.

G-Rated picture of my week of illness

Lastly, getting sick was part of the cultural experience.  It came suddenly at night with vomiting and diarrhea, fever, chills, and headache, and I ended up laying on the bathroom floor in and out of sleep, moaning, and hovering over a bucket or the toilet.  I spent the days in bed sleeping or lying still.  Then, I became dehydrated, had horrible muscle cramps, and one night I had twitching in my arm and a racing mind from imbalanced electrolytes or zofran or both…I thought I was going to die.  The whole experience was not pretty.  The photo above is a very nice snapshot that won’t cause any mental scarring.  None of the missionary nurses know for sure what it was but after being treated for 2 different kinds of diseases – malaria and a number of intestinal illnesses, I am better.  I want to believe that it wasn’t malaria because I was on the super-duper expensive prophylaxis, malarone, and I slept under the mosquito net every night.

To end on a high note (pun intented), I finally finished making a windchime out of found objects and local resources!  I carefully selected the wood twigs for the frame, and began looking for glass pieces, which are everywhere!  Everytime it rains, they make their way to the surface.  Tracy had the guards search our driveway for glass because its dangerous, so that gave me a whole bucket of things to sort through and choose for the windchime!  Next, after trying to use string to tie it all together, I had one of the hired gardeners teach me about a local plant that can be cut into cords, dried, and then wet and tied in place, and it dries tight and strong.  This was the best and nicest looking solution to tie the frame together and hang it from.  I used twine to hang theobjects.  Then, I used an all-purpose clear gel adhesive to secure all the parts to prevent the glass from falling out.

It came out beautiful to the eyes and ears!  The missionaries seem to like it very much.  Its hanging in our outdoor dining area where it can catch lots of wind and keep us company!  🙂

"Beauty from Ashes" Windchime


I wish I could post a recording of the Mozambican wind’s music!


One thought on “Assimilation

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  1. I like the pictures and that you have kept us posted along the way. You look happy in the pictures and I am sure this people will miss you sorely when you go. Ps that drum of water looks awfully big! not sure I could do that. Keep up the good work and congrats on coming this far (esp. with the sickness). D

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