“Soup, fish and 8PM” may sound strange, but an important part of our life and our ministry has always been, and will continue to be, learning about the culture in which we live and adapting to it. Adapting means that we stop doing things that make sense in America, or in our case Mozambique, and start doing things in a way that make sense in Portugal. This is where soup, fish and 8PM become an adjustment.
As many of you know when we arrived we immediately put the kids in church camps and day camps. They quickly learned that soup is served at the beginning of many meals here. When we picked up Asher (who doesn’t like soup) and Esperansa from camp, 6 days after our arrival in country, and stopped to have lunch Asher said, “Please no soup! They served soup with each lunch and dinner.” Since then the other kids have echoed this thought, chiming in, “Yes, they eat soup with lunch even at school.” Soup can be a big part of meals here.
Other adjustments for the family have to do with fish and 8PM. Dinner time is quite late here. Many restaurants don’t open for dinner prior to 7pm and it’s common to not eat earlier than 8PM. We are used to eating around 6 or 6:30PM in Mozambique (which actually was late for us but necessary because Josiah didn’t get back from school before then). We remember when we lived here in 2004/2005 that we were always the first to be at a restaurant and we always had to wait for them to open for dinner. Fish is also eaten a lot here. In Nampula, 2 hrs from the coast, we only occasionally ate fish and the kids did not really like it.
Now, living in this land of abundant fish/seafood and 8PM dinner time we are changing. Dan and I both like fish but neither of us really know how to cook it. We are learning to cook fish and are having it for dinner at least twice a week now. All of us have to learn how to pick around bones. Our dinner is now eaten around 8PM (sometimes later). The kids love the later bed time which results from a later dinner hour. The fish…..they are not so thrilled about….
As we are now living and ministering here on a permeant basis we are trying to identify with the culture; trying not to seem so foreign to our neighbors. We don’t know what other things we will change but we trust God will give us wisdom and help us as we evaluate things…..