Sunday, June 13, 2010

Two weeks in...

It seems I have misnamed my blog. I don't say this to mean that I haven't been trying, but this blog may not always detail all my efforts. Rather, I want to simply convey some meager thoughts.

So my first thought is "I am tired". Its been about two weeks now, since I've been in Mozambique, yet it seems like its been soo much longer. I don't know if this a good thing or a bad thing. Either way though, I think this feeling is due to the fact that it has been a very busy two weeks! The past week, I was in a different city, Nacala-Porto; because the Caixa (microcredit cooperative) just started giving loans on Monday. I learned a lot of the ground work along with the other staff of Nacala, as much of the information and duties are new to them as well. During this time we worked 10-12 hours a day, and we (me and two of the other staff from Nampula) were staying in a hotel nearby. So part of this exhaustion is due to the work, and the other part is due to the 'people-thing'.

I should define 'people-thing' before I move on. First, it refers to the fact that there are people everywhere. In fact, there are so many people that one person, in one lifetime could not possibly come into contact with all of the people that exist on this planet. There are just to many of them. Second, it refers to the existential reality that an individual with a semi-friendly disposition can come into contact with a people if he so chooses. Third, upon contact with this people, one has much in common right from the outset; for he himself is a people as well!

You are probably asking yourself, why then is Jeremy tired!? Excellent question, reader! Herein lies the problem, this commonality does not have the rigor to sustain a conversation, let alone a friendship. It seems one needs to have more in common then being a people, right? In my mind I had always thought of it like this: liking the same things makes friends; laughing at the same things makes good friends; and caring about the same things makes great friends. Well, what if everything about you, the people, is different!? (Excuse my excess use of the word 'people' but I think its funny). What if, in fact, the only commonality is that you are a people.

I have found out this past week, that I have not gotten very far from this foundational commonality with most of my aquaintances. Actually, I have a funny story that is somewhat relevant. On our way to Nacala I had a conversation with a co-worker. We went by chapa, basically a van with 30 people in it! Anyway I asked my co-worker if it was necessary to be clean shaven for work. She told me, "Yes, it would be wise to be clean shaven" Then she looked at my arms and said, "You should probably do something about your arm hair, as well." Now, it is the running joke that I am half Muzungo (white) and half monkey. She is not the first to make this observation or crack a joke about my hairy arms, so it does not hurt my feelings. I find the only way to have fun when you are the blunt of the joke is to join in and make fun of yourself as well. Thus I faithfully refer to myself as the Muzungo-Monkey.

Actually, as I think about it, I feel like a Muzungo-Monkey. Nevertheless, I am in fact, a people and this is my foundation and it has only been two weeks. I just find that building the foundation is quite hard work, yet the results are quite unimpressive. It seems with just about all of my aquaintances, there is an 'odd misunderstanding' everyday that tells me I am very different. I say 'odd misunderstanding' because I can't tell if I am being misunderstood or if I am not understanding the others. I am at a loss on quite a lot of things sending me searching for answers. This searching, is very tiring, thus we are back to the origin of my first thought, 'I am tired'.

All the Best, your friend, Jer.