Saturday, June 7, 2008

Making a great friend in Inhambane

First about Inhambane, it’s the capital of the province on a peninsula and on the landward side of the bay is another city called Maxixe. You take a water taxi between the two cities it’s quite enjoyable. My German friend Adi from my Frisbee team in Florida told me to get in touch with his friend Philip once I’m here since Philip works in Mozambique. Upon meeting Philip in December, I saw he was genuine friendly and very obliging, he tried to give my friends and I a ride from Inhambane to Tofo beach even though he’d only just met me but too bad his wife had the car. Talking with him more I learned that he’s working on facilitating the implementation of Mozambique’s land law, which makes him a great career contact since that’s the sort of work I want to do. When my site was flooded in January he called to make sure I was alright and monitored the news about the floods for my benefit like he was looking out for me, he seemed more concerned about keeping me informed than Peace Corps did.
My most recent trip to Maxixe and Inhambane made me feel like he’s one of the best friends I have here, hard to explain why. Most of the expats I’ve met are incredibly interesting people, but they have hard eyes and personalities that for example steel up under my searching eye like a fortress raising a drawbridge over a moat. Expats are guarded people, I’ve decided, perhaps I will change my mind. Case in point, you are likely to be in some way anti-social if you choose to leave your own society. During my stay in Inhambane, I was supposed to stay at Philip’s house with his family—his parents were visiting from Germany and his kids were just too cute, I could tell his oldest son doesn’t have enough time with other kids because he took me by the hand and took me straight to the playroom section of the house but not like a brat, just like someone who immediately accepted me as a friend without first putting me through any kind of scrutiny or wanting me to be other than myself, a lot like his father took me as a friend. Anyway that was great because I’m only just now figuring out how to interact with kids and they are such a delight to be around when they’re not crying or pooping a.k.a. when they are toddlers.
When Philip and I went out to get pizza, by chance we crossed some other expats, one of whom I’d met before when his band came to my school and did a 20 minute anti-AIDS songs performance. Soon enough I was in a car with perfect strangers headed to a house party in swanky Tofo beach. Never ceases to amaze me how disinterested and unfriendly hippies can be, maaan. Seemed like no matter which circle of conversation I tried to nudge into people were too caught up to notice me or welcome me in, such a cool crowd like Hollywood or something. Some guys at the party were musicians and DAMN were they good! But otherwise kind of a bust and I wished I’d skipped the party.

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