Life in Mozambique is a series of routines. I suppose that could be said of any life, but here, there is a definite pattern.
I remember when I was just beginning the process of “adulting” and I learned the valuable lesson on handling problems immediately. What is small and easily overcome becomes a frightening chore if left untended. This seems to be a lesson ingrained in Mozambicans.
In my quintal (the yard that I share with the host family - I have my own small house in back), the granddaughter of the house, who is about 14, wakes every morning about 5 and is out sweeping the yard and raking the dirt. This happens daily, without fail.
As I walk to my hospital every day, I see this same routine multiplied. There are ladies hand-washing the laundry, cooking over fires, and tending to babies. There are children as young as 5 walking alone to school. There are the young adults, dressed smartly in their uniforms, off to Escola Secundaria. There are men walking to work, and maes carrying their hoe as they head out to the Machamba (a vegetable garden).
The routine is unhurried. They have time, and they know what needs to be done.
I have been thinking about my routines, too. I wake, do my yoga, make my coffee and breakfast, dress for work, brush my teeth, then walk to the clinic. When I return, I must sweep my house to tame the layer of dust that has blown into my house. I may wash clothes, if necessary. I may have to go into town for the next few days worth of groceries.
What I have been learning, though, is the value of routine. If anything needs to be done, it must become part of my routine. If not, it will never get done.
At work today, I was sitting outside in the shade. One of my colleagues was sitting next to me (way too close by American standards), and we just sat in silence and watched the birds fluttering by and the palm trees swaying in the wind. One of my favorite scenes is the brilliant green of the trees against the bright blue of the clear sky. I remember admiring it back in Florida, and it gives me a small sense of peace to feel it here, too.
I am sitting here at my desk writing this post while my phone charges. After I am finished, I must make the 15-minute walk to the Chapa stop, so I can get groceries in town. I just ate lunch, though, and I’m feeling decidedly lazy. Maybe I’ll go later...maybe not. I prefer to go during the day because the later it gets, the fuller the chapas get.
I think there is a natural lethargy that seeps in here. Perhaps it is the heat. Perhaps it is the thought of the shopping trip that, in America, would be finished in under an hour, but here, it will take me easily 3. I find myself thinking...later...later…
Or maybe tomorrow...