Thursday, October 16, 2014

Mountain Cooking

Over the past few months I've continued to take some kids from Zobue hiking in the mountains on Saturday afternoons.  Most of the time it's just a quick walk and then we get cookies afterwards, but last week the kids asked if we could bring rice and cook on the mountain.  "You want to cook food on the mountain?" I asked.  "YES!" they said.  Ok, why not? I thought.  So that is how I last Saturday I found myself on the rocks behind my house, helping ten-year old girls cook rice and macaroni while the boys ran around collecting firewood.

We built the fires using three rocks to rest the pot on and poking sticks through the gaps between the rocks.  Everything is extremely dry this time of year and it was windy up there so the fires burned well.  In no time we were boiling water and cooking away!

As we waited for the food to cook, the kids had a great time jumping, dancing, and doing acrobatics for the camera. 

Finally, it was time to eat.  The kids crowded around the food with plastic bags and pot lids (we didn't bring any plates or silverware) and the oldest girl portioned out the food using a small tupperware container.  In true Mozambican fashion there was a lot of yelling and arguing over who got what, but eventually everyone seemed to be happy.  Also true to Mozambican culture, the boys went off to eat in a separate area while the girls grouped around the pots and scooped out food with their hands.  Coming from a culture where eating meals together very important, this separation of gender is still strange to me.  In Mozambique families rarely eat together, most often members of the family will eat at very different times throughout the day.   Conversation at mealtimes is also rare.  I miss a culture that values family meal time and conversation.

Here, the girls are guarding the rest of their food from the boys who want to take more.

The boys eating in their area.
 After eating, the kids quickly found some pieces of plastic and scraps of cardboard to use as sleds to slide down the rocks.  Someone had even built a landing pit made of dry leaves so the kids could do flips and trick landings at the end of the slide.

This Saturday cooking time with the kids was fun, but it also made the gender roles in Mozambique extremely clear to me.  The girls did all the cooking and cleaning up while the boys played around until the food was done and then made a fuss when the food wasn't perfect.  These kids don't know any different and are probably fine with their situations, but it makes me feel lucky that I am from a culture with gender roles that aren't so rigid.    

Saturday, October 4, 2014

National Science Fair

Two weeks after the Provincial Science Fair in Tete I travelled to the National Science Fair in Maputo.  Students from each province competed in the fair, including the two students who won the Tete Provincial Fair.  Overall, the National Fair was an impressive event.  It was two full days in length and included presentations by the students, demonstrations by professors, cultural dance performances, and theater performances. Here are some photos of the event.

Tarcisio, one of the students from Tete, and another competitor waiting for the event to start.

This student built a water distillation apparatus.

This student built a security system that would tell a guard which door or window the intruder entered in the case of a robbery.

This student built a scale for weighing vegetables or grains.
This student built an air-conditioner.

One of the dance groups

One of the winners receiving her trophy.

The winners received laptops and medals.
My two students from Tete and me.