Friday, July 19, 2013

Winter Weather

Winter-weather fancy sweater on a little boy
A peaked hood!
Yarn baby

It's cold in Mozambique.

It's not a Pennsylvania cold.  It's not a cold-snap in Chicago, windy San Francisco, ice-chunks in the ocean kind of cold.  It's not a zip-up-the-boots, scrape-off-the-windshield, start-up-the-car-and-shiver kind of cold.

It's different.  

It's the kind of cold that brings out the blankets and keeps you in bed.  The kind of cold that kills all of the mosquitos.  The kind of cold that seeps in through the cracks of a gusty house and inches along the bare cement.   It's a sneaky kind of cold.  A little cold.  All the time.  

It's not about the actual temperature (between 40 and 60 degrees Fahrenheit, for the record). It's more about the fact that cold weather is inescapable. Because there is no central heating, buildings are open and drafty, and people spend most of their time outside, the cold simply permeates.  

This is actually Dan's favorite season.  He finds it to be invigorating.  I, on the other hand, side with the Mozambicans.  On any given winter morning, I can be found wearing two sweaters, three pairs of pants, and a thick pair of gloves like everyone else.  I hate being cold.  

Here are some pictures of little Mozambicans (and big Mozambicans) feeling cold, just like me.  

Little boy with a bear-ears sweater
Mid-day hoodie hood-up
Lurdes wrapped in a capulana
(the pouting is directed towards her older sister, who tugged on her braid)
Little boys show off their stuffed bear and their (somewhat haphazard)
winter-weather outfits
Babies get super-bundled in the wintertime.  This one is just wearing a sweater,
diaper, socks, and a hat, but I've seen babies with up to five layers of clothing.
Wishing that he'd worn a sweater
Sometimes winter-wear is well put-together...
...and sometimes it's just multiple outfits, worn at the same time.
This little girl is bundled up in vibrant pink
This little boy (yes, he's a boy) is also wearing pink
This is what happens to winter coats in areas with dirt, but not snow
Another pink winter coat
Amilcar and Florinda have matching pink hats
This hat is made of yarn and beads
Shana goes to school in her thug-cap
In an adorable (but very old) corduroy coat 
Using a capulana to keep warm
This guy is well-protected against the 60-degree weather
Antoninho at his shop
Jorge at his shop
In a hoodie, coming home from school

In the midst of the winter season, school runs at half-attendance between 7 and 9AM.  In the words of the students, the weather is simply "too cold" to abide.  Those students who do arrive for their first few classes come bundled up with turtle-neck sweaters and winter hats.  They actually write assignments with ski-gloves on their fingers.

In terms of temperature, an African winter is nothing like an American winter.  There's no snow, for one thing, or ice or sleet or sludge.  But without central heating, cold is cold is cold.  And a 40-degree house is a cold house, indeed, no matter where you're from.  

1 comment:

  1. 40 degrees is pretty darn cold without any heating! And when you're used to the heat all the time. It got down to about 60 degress in Cambodia and we were freezing! I can't imagine 40 degrees though.