Yes. We have grass. I am sure it will be as shocking to as many Americans as it is to the other Peace Corps Mozambique Volunteers. Zambézia, the province where I live, is a lush wonderland this is full of glorious mountains, tea fields, and green landscape. The beauty does come with the small price of having to cut your grass, and during the rainy season the grass gets knee high in a matter of a week or two. Without lawnmowers and usually no grazing animals, Mozambicans have a tool of their own.
Like most other Mozambican tools, there is an abundance of manpower that goes into cutting the grass. You mix in a little manpower, sweat, finesse, and time and you will be done in no time.
2. Have a volunteer and a tool
3. Hold the faca back and swing at the ground at a twenty-degree downward angle.
4. Follow through the grass with the faca. Discard the grass behind you as you finish your follow-through.
5. Bring the faca back to its original position and repeat steps 3 and 4 until all of the grass is cut.
You should now have a fairly manicured looking space. Give yourself a big pat on the back and go inside and get yourself a cool glass of water. Actually it will probably be difficult to be cold since you probably don’t have a fridge.
After cutting grass for a little bit, I actually found it rather amusing. The swoosh of the blade through the grass was relaxing. However, my experience was completely voluntary and did not last very long. This task would be significantly tiring and backbreaking if done consistently for a long duration of time.
During my experience, the man featured in the picture and another person on my compound were laughing hysterically. After they caught their breath they reassured me that it wasn’t because I was doing it horrifically wrong, but they had never seen a white person do anything like cut the grass before. It looks like we will all get to chalk this one up as a new experience.