Can I go with you?
The first words that I learned in the local language were, “Where are you going? Can I go with you?” I wanted to learn where people went and what they did, but primarily I wanted to understand where and how they got their food when there was not a drop of rain for agriculture.
In the first phase of my research, I would wake up in the morning and prepare my backpack with water, a bit of food, my notebook and my camera, and I sat next to the path that lead out of town to wait. As soon as someone came by, I would greet them and employ my newly acquired words. "Can I go with you?” mostly resulted in a laugh and, “sure come along.”
Sometimes I went with my backpack just a few minutes down the path and would come back shortly after. Sometimes the excursions were longer. But as soon as the trick resulted in a very long, multiple day trip, I quickly learned to ask, “are you returning today?”
One of my excursions took me unexpectedly to the fishermen's camp where I learned about how fresh fish was dried, salted and packed away to be sold in markets in Maputo.