Today was pretty epic. We packed up all the kids and left home at 7am for a day in Malulo, the village where Cam’s language nurturer’s grandma lives. We were joined by Januário & Dayana (our language nurturers), their two kids, Alan and the awesome team from Parkerville! After an hour long journey up north, we arrived in a very muddy Malulo.
The plan was for everyone to head out to the farm to do some weeding and hoeing but after a bit of back and forth, it was decided that Dayana and I would stay back at the house to prepare lunch for everyone when they returned. I didn’t really think about it ’til after… but I didn’t really get a say in that decision. I think Januário pretty much just told me what I was going to do. Things are different here 🙂 and I think I’m totally okay with that.
So while the others were off walking (40 min trip each way), hoeing and having some bread and tea, Dayana and I got busy preparing lunch. We walked to the markets to get a few extra bits and pieces to go with the chima then spent a while cutting stuff up. Then I walked back to the markets to get some biscuits and mangoes cos the kids were driving us a bit batty (her two and my girls). Then we sat around waiting for a while before we decided we’d walk and find out where the rest of our mob had got to. After meeting them on the path, we walked back all together then finished preparing lunch.
It was a bit of a milestone day for me. It was the first time I actually felt like I was more of a help than a hindrance. I knew that the tomatoes needed to be cut up. I knew where to get the water and that the water bottles needed to be filled. I knew what to do with all the plates and spoons. I could tell other people where and when to sit and what things were and where to wash hands and how to eat. I could go in and out of the house to get things without being told to sit back down. And one of the highlights… I started to do the dishes… and nobody stopped me! It was awesome, that great feeling of being a little bit more in the know and on the inside. Still way on the outside and mostly not in the know… but a teency bit closer.
I think the other milestone was that the silences weren’t awkward, crap, I can’t think of anything else to say in Portuguese silences with a lot of time spent wondering what on earth is going on here? but more “Man, we’re both exhausted, the kids are happy, let’s just sit here peacefully while we can.” Loved it!
There is still so much to learn and I still make mistakes and bad decisions all the time… but there’s really great progress too! Here’s a few of my successes and failures from the day…
– Forgot to change my baby’s nappy… all day! She was in a the same nappy from like 7am til 5pm – FAIL
– Carried said baby on my back in the capulana, she fell asleep, no one yelled at me for being about to break her neck (although Grandma did do some arm readjusting for me) and she stayed asleep while I helped prepare lunch! – WIN
– Wore my much beloved spotty gumboots to the markets. My guard had cleaned them the day before, they were soggy inside and I got blisters. Pretty sure I looked like a tool too – FAIL
– Greeted and farewelled everyone properly, I think. This is a little bit hard and confusing and I get it wrong almost every time but today was good – WIN
– Forgot that my right foot has not seen the sun for almost three months, wore thongs most of the day, have a wicked thong shaped sunburn – FAIL
– Understood 95% of what people were talking about in Portuguese – WIN
– Understood 0.1% of what people were talking about in ChiYawo – FAIL
– Was helpful with cooking, cleaning, serving, clearing and buying – WIN
– Still can’t cook chima, too scared to stuff up everyone’s lunch – FAIL