So Tuesday left me feeling pretty shattered on a number of levels. It might have been wiser to take it easy on Wednesday but instead I decided why not go and see the President again! This time he was in Lichinga to unveil a new statue in the centre of town. We decided we would walk in there so I put Sydney on my back and off we went. A twenty-minute walk and 2 ½ hours standing around waiting later, he arrived. It was no where near as spectacular this time as there weren’t any helicopters and so many people had crammed into town so we couldn’t really see much at all but it was a good experience none the less.
We grabbed a lift home with friends and had a couple of hours down time before I decided to head out again. It seems to be ok here to just drop in randomly on people to visit. You don’t really do anything in particular, just sit for a while and then go again. You don’t even really have to say much which works well for me seeing as I can’t really speak Portuguese all that well and despite what the “Looking Good” series might suggest, I’m definitely an introvert. Introvert, extrovert, doesn’t matter. Just for you Sal.
So I really wanted to visit our guard’s family to see how his daughter was going after burning herself on Monday. I headed out with Sydney towards their place after getting instructions from Cam about where is was. I decided to try our guard’s Mum’s house first of all. I thought I was in the right place but decided I’d try out my skills (or as you’ll see soon, lack thereof) in Portuguese on some other women hanging out in the street. After asking if they knew where Dona C’s house was, they confidently sent me off with a couple of little girls to lead the way.
After descending way down into the valley, I was pretty sure we were on the wrong track but they just seemed so confident. At the bottom of the hill I spent a while yelling out “Excuse me?” into some completely random strangers backyard. Thank goodness no one was home. Either that or they were hiding behind the curtains wondering what on earth the crazy white person was doing in their yard! So I returned with the kids back to the main road and decided I’d try to find out guard’s house instead.
Again, Cam’s directions were pretty good and I thought I was on the right track but in my over the top eagerness to try out my language skills on unsuspecting strangers, I asked quite a few people on the street if they knew where Peixão’s house was. No one knew, I just got blank looks and compliments on my beautiful baby.
Not deterred, I was pretty confident I’d found the right place but thought I’d check with some guys walking up the street just for fun. So in my best Portuguese, I asked them… “Eu quero visitar a casa de Peixão. Você conheca onde está a casa de Peixão?” Loosely translated – I wanna visit Peixão’s house, do you know where it is? One of the guys just gave me the blank look that everyone else had. The other took me across the road and showed me that I could buy tomatoes, mandioca but not beans. (Beans in Portuguese = feijão) I tried to explain that… “Não, eu não quero comprar feijão, eu quero vistitar Peixão! (No, I don’t wanna buy beans, I wanna visit Peixão) but I didn’t get very far. In my defense, I’m pretty sure those dudes were plastered. I’m sure my Portuguese isn’t that bad. 🙂
Just when I’d about given up all hope, I turned to see Peixão standing at his gate. I’ve never been more happy to see him and overcoming an overwhelming desire to give him a hug (highly inappropriate) I smiled gratefully and thanked him profusely. I’m wondering whether he might have been hanging out just behind his fence listening to me and laughing the whole time. It was pretty funny.
So in the end I had a lovely visit and was encouraged to see that his daughter had started eating again. I could understand about 70% of what they were saying (Stoked!). But was quickly brought back down to earth when I proceeded to call her arm branco instead of braço. Peixão just looked at me like I was a complete moron (in a nice way) and corrected me. At the time I couldn’t even remember what branco meant – which is ridiculous seeing as I hear that word yelled at me at least five times a day… it means white!
Great times 🙂