Moz Skillz

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In the kitchen of our homestay house, I tried to pick up as much rapid-fire Portuguese as I could on Friday as our Mae talked to my lingua teacher about Alex and I. They chatted back and forth as if I wasn’t standing there listening, and I stood there listening, smiling, and concentrating hard. From what I could follow, the conversation was about her satisfaction with us as volunteers (trainees) in her home (Yay!), and at one point she began listing off things we can do. I could pick up on it, because it was many of the things that we hear and are told to do every day. She said that we are nice and can do everything we need to do. I am unsure about this one, but her list went something like this: ‘Yes, they know how to preparar a mesa (set the table), limpar pratos (wash dishes), cozhinar matabicho (cook breakfast), lavar roupas (wash clothes), and, my favorite, tomar bano (take a bath).’ I expect that the rest of our service will be a cakewalk now that we’ve learned to bathe ( šŸ˜‰ ) and I am glad that she is happy with our progress in these basic things that we know how to do but have had to adapt slightly for life here in Mozambique.

I washed clothes for the first time with mae this week and she insisted I take a picture of the clothes hanging up. She said they look so beautiful when they are all hanging up. Laundry consisted of two rounds of dunking and scrubbing clothes and two rounds of rinsing.

I washed clothes for the first time with mae this week and she insisted I take a picture of the clothes hanging up. She said they look so beautiful when they are all hanging up. Laundry consisted of two rounds of dunking and scrubbing clothes and two rounds of rinsing.

The one new skill I learned this week that was something I had never done before was to relar coco (shave coconut). Coconut seems fairly widely used here, especially in combination with peanut flour. We have had a delicious sauce twice since arriving that is coconut, peanut flour, onion, and water. It was great with chicken and fish over white rice, and learning how to get the coconut component to this sauce was in interesting task and one that I think impressed mae even more than our bathing skills.

Mae showing me how to shave fresh coconut. She sits on a little stool that has a sharp-toothed piece of metal on one end. Then you grind the half-coconut against the teeth and the shavings fall into a tub below.

Mae showing me how to shave fresh coconut. She sits on a little stool that has a sharp-toothed piece of metal on one end. Then you grind the half-coconut against the teeth and the shavings fall into a tub below.

Mae directed me here to sit with my legs outstretched, rather than bent, to use my right hand as the strength and my left to guide the shaving motion, and on how to  rotate the coconut to shave it out evenly. By the time I got to the second half I was receiving many a "Muito Bom Cecelia!" Very good, Cecelia :)

Mae directed me here to sit with my legs outstretched, rather than bent, to use my right hand as the strength and my left to guide the shaving motion, and on how to rotate the coconut to shave it out evenly. By the time I got to the second half I was receiving many a “Muito Bom Cecelia!” Very good, Cecelia šŸ™‚

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I got a good laugh out of mae when I showed her that this picture was "antes a forca de Cecelia..." (before the strength of Cecelia)...

I got a good laugh out of mae when I showed her this picture and said it was “antes a forca de Cecelia…” (before the strength of Cecelia)…

...and that this picture was "Depoois a forca de Cecelia." (after the strength of Cecelia)

…and that this picture was “Depois a forca de Cecelia.” (after the strength of Cecelia)

**Disclaimer: I cannot yet be held responsible for the spelling and grammar of Portuguese phrases in my blog posts. It will get better someday..hopefully soon. Yet another Moz skill to learn šŸ™‚

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