Today in our language study we were working on future tenses of verbs and so one of the exercises was to talk about predictions of the future. This led to a discussion about superstitions: what we do that seems simple but in fact will have negative consequences or bring bad luck.
In the discussion we learned a couple of the superstitions that people have here in Mozambique. For example, they have certain things that they do not do at night:
lend salt to a neighbor
clean the house
take out the garbage
Apparently whistling at night is supposed to attract evil spirits, but we are unclear what the downsides are on the other ones. I found myself laughing (on the inside) about how silly it is for people to take any of these seriously.
Then our language professor asked what common superstitions are held in the United States, and what practices or objects people use to change their fortune.
We talked about spilling salt, throwing it over your shoulder, the avoidance of stepping on cracks in the sidewalk, breaking mirrors, walking under ladder, and carrying around rabbit’s feet.
I told him that I thought all of these superstitions were pretty silly and that I didn’t make a point of following any of them. But he was quite serious when he told me that there are some you need to follow because you don’t know why people in the past came up with them. They may be important.
I told him that most people follow superstitions out of fear. He agreed. I explained that if I were to go for a walk with a friend who was very large, and carrying a gun, I probably wouldn’t have a lot of fear of someone attacking me. Again, he agreed.
Then I explained how as a follower of Jesus, that is how I live my life. I have a friend who is really big with me at all times. I don’t have a lot to fear.
I think I actually communicated in decent Portuguese and that he got what I was trying to say. Apparently language learning time is also time for evangelism.
So far we have been really blessed in our relationship with our professor and we hope it continues. (knock on wood…)