Friday, November 6, 2009

A day in the life of A and T

Our typical day is as follows: 

6:30am Wake

Get ready for the day, eat breakfast, prepare a sack lunch, etc.

8:15am – Walk about 35 minutes to Mungassa  – the community we are working with

8:50-Noon – Interviews, surveys, get to know each family in the community.  We are going to finish visiting all 10 zones (235 families) some time next week.

Noon- 12:30pm - We eat our prepared sandwiches with bananas in the village pavilion that was made for the use of Care For Life.

12:30 to 3 or 4pm – Interviews, Surveys, and Focus Groups.

Evening – Compile notes, survey results, and videos/pictures from the day.  Dinner is usually at about 7pm.

Here are some pictures to give you an idea of where we walk and what we see during a typical day:


In the mornings, we walk out of the white door and head to Mungassa.  Out of respect for the locals,  Anita has started wearing the traditional clothes of the women here.  The skirt she has on is called a “capulana” and 98% of the women wear them here in the Beira area. This is now Anita writing - we get stopped every now and then by women commenting on how happy they are to see me wearing a capulana. The other day somebody mentioned to me that it was okay for me to wear the capulana because I work here every day and therefore, I am almost a Mozambican! I was glad to hear I am not just a white girl trying to look African…


We then walk right next to a paved street (as seen above on the right hand side of the picture).  The two young women pictured above are headed to school in their uniforms.


We walk past our favorite bakery on the left…Both breakfast and lunch come from this bakery. Unfortunately the only thing they have is white bread… we are really longing for some fiber.


We walk past our church on the right (only 5 minutes from our house)…


We then go off onto a dirt road where there are many little shops like the ones pictured above. Here you see the clothes hung up, but every so often they are just put on the dirt floor affixed by some rocks. Not the way I used to shop at Prada and Donna Karan!!


This area, where the shops are located, is usually very crowded with people. We stand out just a tad, not only because we are white and pretty much the only white people in site, but they have never seen a tall basketball player like Talmadge. We get stares and “hellos” all the way from home to the community.


These pictures were shot from the hip… This is Anita – picture this…we were walking down this dirt road today and Talmadge very inconspicuously held his camera at the hip and kept shooting. When I asked him a question he said, sorry I can’t answer right now, I am taking pictures… Maybe I am the only one that thought that to be very funny. You let me know in your comments.


Then we get to a smaller dirt road that usually has big puddles. We are a bit worried about the rainy season that is about to start. This puddle is only after one night of rain. We cannot imagine what it looks like after days of rain. Certain areas supposedly are completely covered and unable to be passed once the rainy season starts.


This is the biggest puddle of them all… It should really be called a small pond.  We have to jump from wood stump to wood stump to cross on the right hand side.  At times, this proves difficult for Anita and her capulana! And the last thing we want to have happen is to step into that water where all kinds of worms and diseases await us. A funny story about this place today was when the guy who lives right next to this small pond thought (and was very serious about it) that it would be a great business idea to charge people to cross…hmm…


We then walk through a small community and today we saw this man fetching water from the community well.


We stopped at a small vegetable/fruit stand and before we knew it, we were surrounded by children looking at us. This is not an unusual occurrence as children often flock around us and giggle. Some of them simply call us “Mozunga” – which means “white people” in their native tongue Sena. I guess that is the easiest way to identify us – the white people.

We are not only watched by children, pretty much all adults know our exact whereabouts. The other day we ran into a lady we know from the community and she said, “I saw you yesterday wearing the capulana as well, but it was a different one than the one you are wearing today”. So nothing we do goes unnoticed.


We walk on…


We cross this paved road…


And enter the community Mungassa.  These women stopped today to say hello.  We see women carrying loads like these on their heads all the time.  It is very impressive how they can balance so much weight without dropping their load.  We noticed as well that we rarely see men using this technique (which deserves another blog entry about men vs. women in this society).  It’s very backwards and very hard to see. Especially as a woman – I cannot imagine life the way these women have to live it…being considered second class.


Behind one member of the Mungassa community, David, you see the pavilion or “machessa” that the community built at the beginning of their three year agreement to work with Care For Life.  They use this machessa for community meetings and it is also the place that Anita and I take our break to eat lunch every day.  You will also notice a well (to the right) that was built by our church independent of the work of Care For Life.


Here is a closer view of the well mentioned above.


Part of the work that Care For Life is doing, is instructing the community members to build a latrine at their home. Up until the arrival of Care For Life, the community was not accustomed to using a latrine. They instead would relieve themselves pretty much anywhere. This was a major health hazard (aside from the unbearable stench everywhere) and made living in these communities very hard. The introduction of latrines has improved their health immensely. They started out building temporary latrines and are now working on these improved latrines, built with cement blocks that will last much longer (up to 10 years). Above you see the base of an improved latrine. Part of our work is to look at the development of these latrines that are expected to be finished to this point by next week.

IMG_1665 Estrela Castigo (Zona F)

This family was preparing potatoes for storage during the rainy season (which starts at the end of November).


Many are starting to prepare land for their rice crops, which will grow during the rainy season.


There were some guys playing cards with NBA players on them (which is much better than the white bikini babes that are on most playing cards in these villages).  I found some of the cards incorrect which was really funny to me.  One card had a picture of Tony Parker and below the picture it said, Vince Carter.  I love that kind of stuff! At least they got Karl Malone right.


Then we head back to the Care For Life office (which is also our home).

There are many more pictures from today and from other days that we have taken, but this will hopefully give you an idea of a typical day here in Mozambique.


  1. It is amazing to me how much the women carry on their heads, and they carry it as if it is nothing. Love hearing your stories.

  2. How fun to see all this! What an experience you're having! Great to see the outside of your "home" and the daily activities of the good people of your villages. The church and the well also so interesting! We're in Bermuda where it's really cold and blustery. Africa looks better! Just wait until the rainy season huh?

  3. Only Talmage could take pictures from his hip that look like anything. If I took pictures from my hip I would only get peoples knees. I guess it takes height. I love the tennis shoes with the traditional clothing Anita--very styling. I also love that the church "fits in" rather than being a traditional LDS meeting house which soudl just overwhelm this small village.

  4. Just to clarify here - I have not lost all of my fashion sense yet, but if I wore sandals or flip flops into these villages, I would be an easy target for worms to make their way into my skin through my feet...I think that should explain any fashion faux pas from now on :)

  5. Worms finding their way in through your feet-Yikes! But I absolutely loved hearing the details of your daily life and seeing them illustrated by the great hip-shot photos. Thank you for sharing.

  6. Hey! Great to see the day to day. Anita, Tal saying i can't answer that i'm taking pictures from my hip is very funny. loved that story. It was so fun to skype with you guys and meet Juao the other day!

    love, NYC Eyres

  7. Anita and Tal.....We love the pictures of the must really be enjoying them! Isiah(the husband) says "the place that you stroll through everyday is beautifully simplistic." He also states, "there is no greater expression which can be seen through the eyes of the children you experience each day." We miss you guys and keep you in our prayer. Anita, everytime I go to the temple I put yours and Tal's name on the prayer roll. We will continue to follow your blog!