PCV’s in country are having great “trocas” between REDES groups,wherein one group will travel to another site and exchange experiences and ideas with another group. This is the story of Moz 17er Mac Segars and the troca that he just experienced with his REDES group, and if you watch carefully you can even catch some video of this troca…
REDES has become a very well-known presence in Machanga. Saturday and Sunday
nights are the only two in which my neighbor’s pulsing bass of Akon, Rick Ross, and Justin Bieber songs are drowned by an energetic orchestra emitted from the girl’s dormitory. Young women, lots of them — 42 to be exact — proudly mimicking the sly moves of Richard Simmons, though perhaps with even more flamboyant pizazz than Richy himself. Aerobics, broken by intervals of dance and train chains: these are the weekend nights of Machanga.
Though the energy of such events is enough to keep me happy, the girls were hungry for a challenge. So we tore apart a capulana, made team headbands, and had the REDES girls of nearby Mangunde do the same. Fifteen of my REDES girls and I travelled to Mangunde, and between the two schools, we presented a song, a dance, and a play, all composed with script and lyrics about HIV/AIDS awareness. We ate some luscious xima n fixins and danced until we fell asleep. With no prior warning, Mike (Mangunde’s REDES leader) and I were even asked (ie, forced) to display our own adeptness to Mozambican dance! Though our girls were reserved upon arrival, they were all exchanging numbers and mother-watching-her-youngest-son-leave-for-college waves as our truck pulled away the following day. The energy flowed in Mangunde until the event’s end, and almost certainly well after.
Thus far, my local efforts in REDES have been primarily focused toward inching my way through the gender barrier to developing trusting relationships with my girls. In the coming semester and year, I hope to recognize a handful of student team leaders, responsible for educating younger students and the community about HIV/AIDS and women’s empowerment.
Awesome, awesome work PCV’s and REDES members. I like Mike’s (the second dancer) valiant attempt at traditional dance whilst I still appreciate Mac’s (the first dancer) freewheeling spirit and enthusiasm. If you have a REDES story or have photos or videos to contribute please email: Agarland@elon.edu and don’t forget you can still follow us on Twitter:theREDESproject