Cultural Mishaps Happen
I wonder if they even looked into the salas- took note of the condition in which the school is in. Here its all about show and presentation, the Chefes roll up in nice cars, suits, and body guards (i mean really who would try to kill the dondo minister of education?) Gleaming smiles they ask Tudo bem? I wanted to say.. Nao! Em realidade nos salas sao horivel. O chao tem couvas muinto fundo, tudos os dias eu quasi torco meu tornozelo, esta perigoso... But of course i kept my mouth shut and smiled. But i was quite pleased when a girl in 12th grade spoke up- to complain about the conditions of the salas. She received the robotoic response of next year we will start improving the school. I found out afterward this cerimony and dialouge has been going on the same way for years, with no changes!
So after they all said their unmoving words they turned towards the line of teachers, and dumb old me standign at the front of the line thought they were going to enter the sal do preofessors again. So I turned to allow them more space, as they were not men who only subsisted on xima, but in acutlaity they were coming to compliment all the teachers. It apperaed as if I was turning my back to one of the most respected members in my community, hencing thouroughly embarrassing myself and disgracing the school... . My director snapped at me, and when I turned back I only had to shake the big mans hand, so my actions went without explanation. My bad... I'm just an American trying to teach in Mozambique don't equate my ignorance with disrespect.
Because in this society demonstration of respect and presentation are weighted above everything here... it doesnt matter that I show up everyday, on time, with a well prepared lesson. I will continue to be referred to, atleast in a light joking manner by my collegues, as the white girl who snubbed her chefe.