Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Brainstem's the only way to stop em

Every morning when I leave my house I am accosted by a group of about one hundred children. This is a difficult thing to describe in terms of enjoyment. That is to say, do I like being accosted by one hundred children every morning? Someone taught them all to say “ta ta!” to any white person they saw, and having one hundred small children wave frantically at you and scream “ta ta!” in unison is a heart meltingly adorable thing.

As their curiosity grew they would approach me, at first only the brash/stupid ones that Darwinian selection would get if only society were not here to stop them from poking snakes or crawling into dark caves (the ones that either die young or grow up to be Bear Grylls). When one finally got the courage to hold my hand I did what any man would do, I started roaring like a lion while picking them up and pretending to eat them. They were at first terror-stricken, but after a few thrilling moments of the white hot, blinding fear that only a child can feel they began to actually want to be picked up. A few of them developed the unfortunate tendency to try to eat me back. Since then leaving my house has become something of an issue.

Every morning I am quite literally blockading by one hundred screaming children. They lock onto my legs, weigh down my arms, climb up me like a tree—and while at first my lion gig was good enough to get rid of them they now think its rip-roaringly hilarious. My threats to kill them are lost because these children are too young to speak Portuguese, and while my shitswa is good enough to scream “go away!” at them it has no effect. So I do what any man would do, I run away.

So for the last month or so you will see me leaving my yard dressed in a button down collared shirt, slacks and dress shoes, cradling my man-purse as I run as fast as I can past a pursuing mass of crazed children. It’s a lot like 28 Days Later only I can’t shoot them.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Riots in Maputo

The last week has seen some violence in Mozambique. Rises in the prices of basic goods in conjunction with a food shortage (due I believe to a drought in Russia or some such whatever) have caused large protests, which some crazy kids took as an opportunity to riot and loot, and unfortuntely lead some police officers to use live rounds on rioters/protesters killing between 7 and 13 people, depending on the report. The protests did spread to some other metropolitan areas of Mozambique, and in the city of Chimoio some reports said 3 more were killed.

Now despite all that my life has changed not at all. My community has not been affected in the slightest by these problems. In fact when my mother called she knew quite a bit more about it than I did. The peace corps volunteers here in Moz are in no danger of any kind, though the Peace Corps has taken precautions and restricted our travel to keep tabs on us just in case.

Reports of jeeps full of police rolling the streets of Maputo armed with AK47s calls to mind dark times in this countrys past, so worry over the violence in the international news is no surprise. It is also a tragedy that police used live rounds, or that some protesters chose to riot. That being said, the effects of all of this have been quite small. Though in the coming weeks we'll see what rising food prices does to my community.

So it's relatively all good in the hood.