1) Mosquitos (an irritant, but an expected one at least)
2) Jumping spiders (not aesthetically pleasing but the variety I have encountered thus far are harmless)
3) Tropical House Geckos (their gawkish, unblinking faces are rather friendly, and they readily dispatch invader number 1 for lunch, and so have earned a right of occupancy despite the small packages they leave on my windowsill
4) A giant hornet, replete with large red stinging implement
5) And most recently, a rat (a dirty, smelly surprise sitting under my desk which was evicted immediately using a broom handle – I don’t intend to contract Weil’s disease any time soon)
None of the above ever set up residence at my Eastbourne home back in the UK. And so I have found myself living in community in a manner quite unexpected. In my first week here, I remember feeling resentment as the geckos gazed at my clumsy attempts at mosquito net entry (I failed to realise that geckos have no eye-lids and so couldn’t look away, and I’m quite sure they wanted to). However, I now feel relaxed in my home environment, despite the menagerie that has made my home their home.
This slow process of adaptation extends to other areas of my life here in Mozambique. Take church services for example. Instead of standing rigidly like a propped-up mannequin during times of vibrant praise and worship I can now manage a self-conscious shuffle with out-of-sequence clapping. This is another small but important step in adjusting to the culture and environment around me. I have seen cultural adaptation described as an evolutionary process during which an individual changes his personal habits and customs to fit in to a particular culture. It will take some time to overcome the ‘shock’ inflicted by the differences around me. Yet, as I smile at my gawky gecko buddies I feel I can congratulate myself on at least making the first tiny steps on the evolutionary ladder of cultural adaptation.