March 13, 2013

Mato Messica

Last Monday, I was talking to some of my students about the music group that I want to start  (I wrote a little bit about it on my last blog).  I was having my students help me try to find a Mozambican counterpart.  One of my students, Henriques, told me that he thought he found a good person to help me out with the group.  He is Henriques' neighbor, and apparently knows a lot about music and has a lot of instruments at his house.  I told Henriques that he should give him my phone number and tell him a little bit more about the group to see if he was interested. 

On Tuesday, Henriques came up to me at school and told me that his neighbor wanted to meet me.  I excitedly agreed, and we decided that Friday morning was a good time for the meeting.  Henriques told me he would come to my house to get me, since I didn't know where he lived and it's really hard to direct people here because there are no street names and no landmarks.

Two of my students hopping across the river.  They didn't
want to take both shoes off, so they took off one and hopped
from rock to rock.  So funny.
Fast forward to Friday morning.  Henriques told me he would be over at 7 am.  I got up around 6:30, got ready to go, and waited for Henriques to show up.  At about 7:45, Henriques showed up.  He told me it was a little bit of a walk to get to his I pictured about 30-45 minutes.  Not so much the case.  I left my house quite unprepared for the journey ahead of me.  I didn't bring my water bottle.  I wore flip flops.  I brought my cell phone.  I also brought my camera (because I was told by my students that there were some beautiful sights along the way).  So we set out from my house.  And walked away from town.  And kept walking.  And crossed some train tracks.  And kept walking.  And crossed a mini-river that was about 15 feet wide blocking the path.  And kept walking.  And kept walking.  And walked through some vicious biting ants (my flip-flopped feet were not happy...).  And kept freaking walking.  About an hour and a half/two hours after leaving my house, we arrived at Henriques' neighbor's house.

My students in front of Rio Messica.

Traditional Mozambican instrument, mbiri.
Upon arriving, Henriques immediately set out for the machamba (field) to let his neighbor know that we were ready to talk about some Mozambican music.  Upon arriving, Tobias (Henriques' neighbor) went straight to the house and brought us out some of his prized mbiri's (a traditional Mozambican instrument).  He played us a few songs, and I was absolutely blown away at how well he could play the instrument.  We continued to talk to us for about an hour/hour and a half about music, the group I want to start, and anything else we thought of.  It was an extremely enjoyable music, and I am going to learn SO MUCH about Mozambican culture and music from Tobias.  I could not be more excited to work with him, so I really hope he can come to the training later this month, and it all works out.  The only problem is that he lives freaking laaaa. So, that might be an issue, but I'll deal with that problem when I get the group started. I can't even believe some of my students make that walk 3-4 times a day...ridiculous.  I also can't believe how spread out Messica is.  It's absolutely insane.

Playing with the mbiri. My student, Felizardo is on the left.  Henriques is on the
far right, and Tobias is between  Henriques and I.

We took a different route on the trek home (one where we avoided the ants), but it still took us about an hour and a half to two hours to get back to my house.  My students were late for their afternoon classes (whoops), and I got home dripping with sweat, dehydrated, and absolutely exhausted.  About an hour later, Sarah and I were on our way to Casa Msika which wasn't a very long trip for us (about 7km) to meet up with a bunch of the other volunteers in the Central provinces of Mozambique.  We spent the weekend relaxing by the pool, speaking English, taking showers, and enjoying each other's company.  I also ate a hamburger and it was AMAZING.  Oh, the little things you take for granted in America.

On the walk home.

My students on the train tracks.  They wanted to
walk back on the train tracks as a short cut...I
negared (denied) that right quick.