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Travel Story: Author | Albertina | Rosalina | Valentina

Lives of Girls (Rosalina Malungana)
Travel Story


10 May 1995, Facazisse

R: We used to go there, to visit, always! Mmm. Before going to the Internato, I always went there, to the home of my mother's brother [Patapata]. Because he had lots of cattle there. And I went there to eat masi [milk]. [laughs] Do you know what I did, when I arrived there? Eee! Hmm. In the world, everything comes to an end, Heidi. . . . If I arrived there, from Caniçado. Eeh! I have to go to Mazimhlopes, to visit my uncle, right? We called him kokwana, but he's an uncle [Portuguese: tio], the brother of my mother. I took the truck that went [between Mazimhlopes and] Xinavane, to pick up migrant workers who were coming from South Africa. . . . I arrived there at my destination, and I got out. I went—even, sometimes, one or two other girls went with me, we went there as three friends, because of masi! To go and eat masi. . . . We went there, waiting in the road, the trucks came, we got in—long ago it wasn't much money, it was [twenty] escudos. I went from Caniçado to here, at the foot of Chokwe. I got out there. But there, there was a cow, a big one! I remember that it had some blankets, it had a black blanket, a white blanket, black blanket, white blanket, that cow. And that cow, they gave it to me. So that I could suck the milk! Hee! But one day, do you know what this daughter did? They gave it [to me] because, I went and fell with a boy who was there, holding onto me. All right, I'll tell the story.

She was coming from the woods. She went out in the morning, to go eat grass, to drink water, in the ponds—because in the past there was a lot of rain, you know. . . . . And later, one day, she came, that cow, they took her daughter out of the curral. Because there was a big curral, for the adults, for those cows and oxen. But there was also a curral with the little calves, the ones that are suckling. . . . And then, they open that [curral], for [the calves] to go suckle from the teats of their mothers. Mmm. Each one had his own mother [laughs]. Eh-heh! And later, when that cow arrived, my uncle, my mother's brother, [said] "Do you see her? This cow"—he was telling the boy, who looked after the cattle—"this cow, it's Buxeni's. If she arrives here, you have to give her milk, that thickened milk. First, she must suckle the milk from the cow, until she fills her belly. And later you will give her that thickened milk, masi." [laughs] And then, that boy, he sat this way, and I went in here [R laughs, indicates how she sat between his knees], with his knees, he secured me. And the cow—when you do this, the tail has to go there, as usual. She already knows, that because he's doing this, it's because he wants to take milk. And I'm here, opening my mouth, "Ahhh" [R demonstrates]. And he did this, "Rrrr-rrrr-rrrr-rrrr [R mimics pulling teat]."

My mouth was full of milk—fresh, and hot! [laughs] Ay!! I swallow, I swallow, I swallow. Until I filled my belly, "I'm full! I'm full!" [laughs] When I finish, that calf, poor thing, he wants to suckle, and I—[laughs] Heh! I get out [from under cow], and that poor calf, he comes to suckle. Meanwhile I was the one who went first! But later, there was a kind of pitcher—they sow them, in the countryside, and when they are grown, they open them, take out the fruit inside, it's called a xikutsu [calabash]. They pour milk inside there, they count two, three, four days, they open it here [at the bottom], the water goes out, that thickened milk stays inside. They mixed it with vuswa, for the children to eat. Mmm. I really liked to go the house of my mother's brother, because of that milk. . . . The one who gave me that cow, it's the father of my mother, ... What I remember is that, when I was a child of, I don't know, four or five years, I don't know if it's true, they said that the spirit of my mother's father came out, of the spirit medium. To say that "You, you Patapata, you have to take a cow, give it to Buxeni, to suckle. So she will grow up here in my home, with milk!" Eeh. And he was obliged to give me that cow. . . .


8 May 1995, Facazisse

R: Ah, there at my uncle's house, I ate many things! I even ate those ostrich eggs—I even ate that! Eh! I liked them, but they have a little smell. But I liked them. Because, since he was a hunter, that brother of my mother, he gathered them. They say that when she lays an egg, she does like this—they say this, I don't know if it's true—but they say that, when she lays an egg, she has those wings, she takes dust, sand, and then, she goes to fetch grass, that rotten grass, with her wings, she comes and puts it there, on top of the eggs, to warm it up. The time arrives, those eggs break open, and little ostriches come out alone. But she has to be near them, to open [the eggs]. . . . Sometimes, when she leaves, to go and eat, the husband is the one who stays there, embracing the children, to let his wife go and eat. When she's filled her craw, she comes back, the husband goes out and eats. That's how it is. Mmm. Well, when my aunts, his wives, when they go to the fields, I stayed there at home, to eat the vuswa from yesterday—so I wouldn't sit there hungry.

And they went to the fields. And [my uncle] grabs that egg, and he makes a hole [in the ground]. He puts the egg here, and he calls, "Buxeni! Come here! Come here!" I go. [He says] "Sit here" [R pats mat]. And he takes that spear, he does this, to pierce a hole in the egg [R demonstrates rubbing spear shaft between palms to drill hole in eggshell]. And then he takes a pot, the one called mbhota. 1 . . . And then he pours it here in the pot, he pours in salt, he puts it there on the fire, it cooks, it cooks, it cooks, it cooks. Well, it's ready. Then he takes a plate, he pours it from the pot to the plate, he goes to get vuswa from inside, he comes and puts it here, for me to eat. Eh! And then they return from the fields, eh! I already have a belly fully of vuswa and egg. Eeh. He really liked me, truly, the brother of my mother, that Patapata. . . . And, he had a bottle, this size, it was full of honey from the bees! Mmm. For me to eat. . . . With that honey, he poured in some masi, mixed them together, so I could eat [the honey] when it's sweet, not bitter. It was there, kept there for me. Mmm. The others ate [bitter honey], they didn't care, but I, it was too bitter, he put masi in, for me. Ah! The past, it's a good time, truly.


Travel Story: Author | Albertina | Rosalina | Valentina


Note 1: Mbhota: cast-iron, four-legged cooking pot.  Back.


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