Friday, March 25, 2011
Dear First Mennonite Church of San Francisco,
There is a lone cricket rattling against the inside of the paper lantern we use as a lamp shade on my dinner table. Apparently at some point this evening, he had jumped and landed a little disoriented suddenly surrounded in warm light. I’m sitting alone at the same table under the same light writing you. I am already grateful for your friendship but today I was humbled by it. Maybe this letter seems a little late or out of place so I’ll explain a few things first.
I don’t like making long lists of things I hate here in Moz because it’s ignorant and shallow, but I do have a top three of things I strongly dislike. In no particular order they are: racism, poverty, and the Mozambican post. The postal system offends my ideals of efficient business and unsettles me to my core. They’ve lost so many of my letters, I’ve lost count. Jennifer told me I had a package coming, so I checked the box every week since December. Each time, I asked the front desk if any package had come for me and they would usually feign to push around the piles of unsorted mail behind then look up and say there was none. They said the problem was in America or the address was wrong, because there is no package here.
Today after some explanation, the woman at the desk thought to look for the package in the back room. Much to her surprise, there it was. Based on the dust that had collected on top, it had probably been there since a week after if left California.
I’m not sure if someone specifically knew I love Peanut M&Ms better than any other candy but there they were. I shared them with my coworkers and they were gone immediately. I also don’t know who it was that bought the underwear to put in the box, but that person has unknowingly joined the elite list of people who have ever bought me underwear – my mom and my grandma. Don’t be embarrassed though, because I actually needed new undies and I don't know where to buy new ones. I especially liked the cards because everyone’s personality poured through them. I took a picture of them to capture this, even though I know it wouldn’t convey. To be honest, I feel undeserving of the thought that went into putting it together. It’s indeed disorienting to be surrounded by this much light.
Some of you curiously wrote that you weren’t sure I would remember you. How could I ever forget? I look forward to August and Sunday mornings with the strange little church that meets in the green synagogue in the Mission. I am humbled to know you all as friends. Thank you.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Today is World Water Day, which began in 1992 after a United Nations conference held in Rio de Janeiro. World Water Day is meant to promote awareness of various issues including sanitation, water scarcity, and environmental quality. This year to celebrate, my plan is to go around our communities passing out bars of soap to help improve hand washing. I'm really stretching the meaning of the word 'plan' though, because what I really did was buy a bunch of soap.
Yesterday was the Dia de Cidade de Tete, or the City of Tete Day, which is a provincial holiday. Every year, there is a canoe race and a 50cc motorcycle race, which is like completing a mountain bike race on a tandem bicycle - you incur all the danger of the real thing, but you look silly doing it. Here's a picture of some racers on their cinquentinhas (little 50s) and then a photo of the route running through downtown.