children’s day 01.06

for whoever knows me best knows that i am happiest close to children. there isn’t anything else that makes me happier, nothing else that makes me as fulfilled. i am a devoted babysitter and an aspiring aunt, mommy and best friend to every child alive. specially my friends’ children. so first and foremost i say “HAPPY CHILDREN’S DAY” to Giovanna, Francesca, Giacomo, Edoardo, Fabio, Letizia, Maddalena, Chiara, Madalena, Rosie, Lily, Diogo and Lobito/a who is still yet to arrive.

but today i speak mostly of the children i see here. the ones who gave us, Me, Aldo, Alberto, Rita C e Virgilio, Rita, Hugo, Yentl and Michela the best children’s day weekend.

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we left Maputo as soon as we could and drove forever it seemed, only to stop for the much needed cafeine, and arrived at the Chongoene town limit line only to find Sister Aparecida (brasilian, funny and gigantic!) waiting for us at the side of the road next to a giant truck and a dirt road… leading… to the Community #001 (i didn’t memorize the name).

our very long 2 day weekend was just starting.

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as we arrived the singing started and the spiritual talk also. between speaking of what a day like Children’s Day should mean to the children, mothers, grandmothers (there were no men present) we all sat down around Sister Aparecida and reflected on our own lives and what the future could bring. we laughed by all the jokes Sister made, we admired that community for resisting poverty, for allowing their children to go to school get a better education and become better human beings because they were given the chance to see the world with their minds.

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they all danced for us, prepared us a rather intriging meal, let it be know that i ate a piece of everything… which was definitely a chalenge! and sang for us… until the huge bottle of wine arrived!!! and then it was all about dancing with eachother and laughing their hearts out, even admitting to us “sorry but we’re drunk already!” it was hilarious!!!!! the older they were, the drunker they allowed theirselves to be!

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our stomachs were full, strangely full, that’s what beans and mandioca can do to you!!! and it was time to move to another place, another community and another lunch!

the Community #002 recieved us a bit more simply, in sense that only the children got up and formed a sort of choir position and started singing away. the women were nowhere to be seen and the men, well the men… there were no men, only two older, grandfathers sitting down on a couple of benches staring, and i mean staring at nothing, or us, we couldn’t really tell, and not moving. yes they were alive, just still. the visit to this community went even smothlier, they sang, the women arrived when someone went to let them know that Sister Aparecida was in town with visitors. the children got children’s day presents (the community #001 also!) and sang again, danced a lot, got us involved and then came lunch. again we ate beans and mandioca and wierd green things which i will not describe, but their happiness in serving us was unbelievable, i really felt sorry to refuse half of it, but the beans from the first lunch were still alive inside my stomach… to distract them of feeding us we told them to sit down and eat themselves, because we had to leave anyway… but not before giving them another huge bottle of wine! they were exstatic!!!! if you know the sound of an african tribe, then that’s exactly the noises they made, high pitched voices singing music to the Lord and to Sister Aparecida. it was the funniest thing to see these women get drunk in two minutes (kind of like me) while the men, the two old men… just watched… not moving… sometimes wondering if they were breathing.

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and off we went again, and this time to Sister Aparecida’s  house in Chongoene town. lovely place with a very nice church (if you want to see it, please try to find the post for our first weekend here, we visited her) and she invited us in for……. LUNCH. our third lunch was a portuguese lunch. yes, recognizable and wonderful. but we were soooo full! it’s amazing what four spoons of beans can do to you!!!! but i ate, like i hadn’t just 30mins before. i enjoyed eating things my mouth recognized, not only taste but texture. it was delicous! and the fruit juices? have you really ever had fresh orange juice? or passion fruit? …i don’t believe you, you haven’t until you’ve tasted these ones!!!!

we left Sister Aparecida there and made our way, 3 hour drive almost to Chokwe where we were going to spend the night at Alberto’s house. if we thought that saturday had been a strange full day, let me tell you, sunday was about to change our minds.

before going to sleep (which i so needed, i had spent my day driving and eating!) we had been invited to have… DINNER with three other portuguese who live in Chokwe… everyone ate, i just couldn’t deal with it. it was just too much. it was time for bed…

i’m sure i only slept about 1 hour, but the clock said otherwise. at 6a.m. we were already up and running and i couldn’t believe it. at 7:30a.m. we (me, aldo, alberto, rita c., rita, hugo, yentl and michela) were already standing in front of the orphanage building we love, all sleepy, all tired, full from the day before, with our eyes wanting to close and with 60 children laughing and hugging and playing with us while we were slowly waking up. but like always when i’m with them, it takes about five minutes to get with them on their games, there is no way you can just stand there. while they  had their  breakfast we ran to Bilene beach in time for our own breakfast and wait for the children to arrive. that’s right! we were going with 60 children to the beach!!!!!!

what posessed us to want to do this we still don’t know, if we enjoyed it? yes. it was the best sunday i have ever had in a very long time.

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there are literally no words to describe the emotion, the wonderfulness and the happiness we all felt to have had that idea, to have driven all the way there and made so many children happy and so many children see the ocean for the first time. ok, so Bilene is a lagoon mostly but to them it was the world’s biggest ocean ever imagined. we were a part of it. we made them have so much fun.

i always say that i love these children because of how happy they are (if all children in portugal could be this happy!), but that sunday they were over the moon, or the ocean!!! they jumped, ran, yelled, played, digged holes in the sand, sang, danced in the water, got wet, got full of sand, buried themselves in the sand, they ate lots of sand, they posed for our infinite pictures, they taught us changane, we taught them tricks, they ate like horses, they savoured the candy rita c. offered, they drank coke and fanta and sprite, they laughed, cried even… but the most amazed were us. we couldn’t believe it. there were really 60 children there, all enjoyed what seemed to be the best day of their lives.

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aldo and i actually thought seriously and simply comunicated between ourselves about which ones we wanted to take home with us. aldo even had a fan, Darci, she is albinian (?) and the funniest, smiliest and funkiest girl in there! he had a hard time leaving her. i’m more for the boys, and all of them spent a lot of time with me. but mostly me with them.

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unfortunately we all had to leave. us to Maputo, them to Chokwe, and the children back to the orphanage. if it had been a saturday we would’ve all have slept at the beach playing until the next day. but there was no chance of it happening. but we made a decision, get them real swimsuits in september when the warm weather comes back and go with them again more often. i’ll be there.

will you?

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2 Comments»

  albertocchaves wrote @

I’ll be there, I’m sure of that!!!! ;)

  Rita Chico wrote @

Me also!!! Count me in for sure!!!


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