Suddenly the year is over. Most of my students are gone, on summer vacation. The teachers and students in 7th and 10th grades are busy taking national exams, the teachers busy controling and correcting them. I was sad to say goodbye to my students, of course. We had little parties with my theater groups so that helped bring some closure to what otherwise feels surreal and anti-climatic.
Also surreal: I’m posting this from the computer lab in Estaquinha, where we just got Internet! It’s slow and has had some glitches so far, but is a great thing for the school. I’m hoping that it will facilitate keeping in touch with students and other teachers next year.
It has been a busy trimester. I organized a little trip to a “historical site” several kilometers outside of Estaquinha–a series of caves. I had been wanting to visit since I heard of their existence last year, and the visit of some foreigners involved with the mission in Beira gave a good incentive to put something together. First we had to go talk to the local chief, or regulo. We went with two of his sons, one a teacher and the other a builder for the mission and other teachers and nurses tagged along. We all filed down a path between some boulders and then had to bend down to pass through a tunnel before it opened into a wide open cavern. The coolest part was that there were holes through the ground above us that trees were growing through, so everything was cast in natural light. Look on Facebook for photos.
I took a lot of field trips with my students. The Ndau theater group joined with a similar group at another mission to go all the way down to the mission at Machanga, in southern Sofala. We all presented different plays which was a lot of fun. A lot of the plays my students come up with seem rooted in fable or folklore, with stock, almost commedia-like characters and broad, usually racy, sort of screwball comedy. In the play we performed in Machanga, a betrayed husband hatched a plan to trap his wife’s lover. Convincing his wife and daughter he preparing ahead of time for the event of his death, he bought a coffin and stored it under his bed. The next time his wife brought her lover over, the husband surprised them and the lover hid inside the coffin. The husband left town with the key to the coffin and the lover ended up suffocating to death. Macabre but hilarious.