One of the most annoying minor inconveniences of life in Mozambique I have experienced is how easy it is to get really dirty, and how difficult it is to get clean. My feet, shoes, and floor are constantly embarrassingly dirty. While my mãe tells me it is because my skin is so white, I think the dirt here actually makes your dirtier than the dirt at home. It is a dark red clay that stains everything it touches, including your skin. Every day I come home from classes with dust lines from my Birk straps.
After a week of on and off rain, that left me muddy as opposed to dusty, I really needed to clean my shoes today. I have come to loathe this task because it is difficult, time consuming, and gets me so dirty that I always have to take a bath when done. The worst part about cleaning your shoes is that when you are done, the shoes that you were wearing while cleaning your other shoes are now caked in mud, but since your mãe won’t let you walk around barefoot, you’ve got to put on a newly washed pair of shoes to wash your cheap flip flops while trying (and failing) to not get the recently cleaned pair dirty again. And then after you have to wash your feet but since you have to walk in the yard to get back into your house after washing your feet they get dirty again too!
This cycle of dirty feet is one that I fear is 100% unavoidable and something I do not look forward to. However I will say that after scrubbing my chacos every week they basically look new again!