Thursday, March 29, 2012

Mama Africa, sinto saudades

Mama Africa I miss you. Day by day passes by. I can't stop listening to Mozambican music. Think about my friends and the kids from the day care center. People used to say I was more black than white. The statement is not about colors, it's about mentality. I was more African than European. And I still carry that piece of African in me.  Sou orgulho de ser mocambicana. I am proud to be Mozambican. I might be more Austrian than Mozambican but I am proud to have a bit Mozambique in my heart. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sorry for not updating you for such a long time...APRIL

At the end of April I was about 2 weeks sick with intensive diarreah...since today I have no clue what the reason was. I guess it was not the Pizza I ate one day before. At a certain point when I had fever in combination with vomiting I went to the hospital to make a Malaria test. Fortunately it turned out to be negative.

Easter was not at all like normally. Everybody here went to church, due to my sickness I spent most of the day in bed. There was nothing like the tradition we have in Austria with a cake, presents and a good meal. There were no blossoming trees, nothing... I felt worse than the day before and most of the day I spent in bed or at the bathroom.

On Monday 25th I celebrated my 24th birthday in Mozambique. My family was cute and organized me a little party. I still felt weak and was only able to eat a bit from all. I couldn't resist to eat a little bit of my birthday cake, delicious!

During the whole week from 25th onwards I stayed at home. I couldn't imagine working in Massaca (well you never saw the toilets we use there) and my stomach wasn't prepared yet for the local food. Whenever I thought that I am better the next day it just got worse again, I felt horrible...

On May 1st is the worker's day here in Mozambique. On Monday the 2nd we celebrated this day in Massaca where all the workers from all the centers from Namaacha, Massaca and Impaputo met. It was a great day, we ate chicken with rice and fries, everyone received Coke or Fanta and there was even beer available!

Wednesday, 4th: Yes, I killed a chicken with a knife for the first time in my life!

Sunday, 8th: Mother's day but no one can tell me if it's today or if it was last week, it seems only Father's day has here a certain importance...

14. & 15.05. Bilene & Xai-Xai with friends, amazing times at the beach!!!

Friday, April 29, 2011

Dia das Mulheres Mocambicanas, Wedding & talking to my sister Delfina

06.04.2011: Dia das Mulheres Mocambicanas: a day to celebrate the women of Mozambique. At 4:30 PM I took a Chapa to Namaacha. In the evening Anne's mozambican brother served us delicious food and we chilled in front of the TV and watched Madagacar in Portuguese.

07.04: WEDDING DAY. As we expected the other girls at Anne's house at around 08:45 we woke up very early in order to prepare us for the wedding. You cannot imagine how ridiculous the whole thing was. We were 'hiking' until we reached the house of the bride. The path was not easy at all with all those stones and well, it's the true country-side of Mozambique. Nonetheless most people were really nice dressed. We had to climb up a car and stand at the back of a car. We hold onto other people's arms in order not to fell from the car. We drove to the register office of Namaacha. On the way everybody was singing songs in Changana, how beautiful! Whole Namaacha was fascinated as all the cars drove to the register's office and sang for the couple. There was a chor who sang for the couple and as we went out of the register's office everybody congratulated the couple. Anne and the other girls and guys danced for the couple. After the register's office we went to the church which honestly didn't appear as a church from the first sight.

Thanks god the church didn't took to long as I had to stand. There was even a translator who translated Changana to Portuguese. In the same manner we drove to the waterfalls (the attraction of Namaacha which I haven't seen up to this point). Gosh, it was freezing! On Thursday I left hot Maputo and reached the cooler Namaacha but on Friday it was incredibly cold! I felt sorry for the bride, as it had lots of clouds and everybody was freezing.

Back at the house everything had changed. There was a big tent and everything was prepared. Many old women only wore Capolana's which I personally found very inappropriate for a wedding... Old women were screaming in a manner that was kind of scary to me but may be very traditional. They were very proud. Cutting the cake was a big ceremony but the bride and the groom only drank Coke and Fanta. Piece by piece they fed their relatives. Throughout the whole wedding there were only softdrinks available. At night, after the priest left, beer was available. After I received my meal and I went home and changed clothes, I was about to freeze completely.

Handing over presents is a big ceremony as well. Within a group the present is taken in front of the group where with a dance and a song it is handed over to the couple. The bride didn't smile at all as she received all those big presents. At least she smiled a bit when we gave her a pot. Later on I asked why she seemed so sad but no one could answer. It seems it had to do with her and not with the culture. At the end of the ceremony I saw that she almost had tears in her eyes...

Saturday, 08.04. We baked a cake for the housemaid Marieta... I guess it was the first time in her life that somebody did something like this for her

Cutting the cake together with Tia Marieta

Monday, 10.04. Aunt Delfina comes back to work. Completely dressed in black. Her dresscode for the next 6 months. With 31 years being a widow. As I looked into her eyes I was about to cry. We talked about her husband and she explained me her difficulties being alone in her house. At the same day her sister lost her job as her boss died and anoter relative lost her husband.

The more I experience stories like these, the more I believe in god or something higher that knows why those things happen to us.

Tuesday, 12.04. The most painful busride in my whole life! Whatever was the reason, beans, Xima or another Mozambican food I had extremely painful stomachache. I never thought that a busride could be that long...until I finally reached the city.

This week I made an english exam with my students. As it was the last week before the holidays and they had exams in schools too, I found it appropriate. I wanted to see what they learned so far together with me.

Also, I teach the kids in all ages to brush their teeths thoroughly. Some of them already have lots of caries and I just don't want them to pull out to many teeths as soon as they are adults. Unfortunately this is the only resolution they have on the countryside as soon as someone has lots of pain with one teeth.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Ein Land

in dem immer was los ist, in dem viel gelacht und gleichzeitig viel geweint wird. Frauen die ihr Gesicht an  Bushaltestellen verbergen und ich mich fragen muss wer wohl von ihren Lieben verstorben ist.
Frauen, die tragenden Stuetzen des Landes.
Maenner, aus Mangel aus Respekt oder Furcht vor Verantwortung entfliehen dem Familienleben, lassen Frauen und Kinder zurueck oder pflegen gleichzeitig 2 Familien, sind arbeitslos und/oder trinken... sterben oft viel zu frueh an AIDS und hinterlassen eine ebenfalls HIV positive Frau sowie Kinder.

Ein Land, in dem richtig alte Menschen selten sind.

In dem Kinder ihr Geburtsdatum nicht kennen und nie kennenlernen werden.

Ein Land in dem man sich Haushaelterinnen leisten kann die umgerechnet 40 Euro im Monat bekommen.

Ein Land in dem Maenner die bessere Rolle haben und im Haushalt nicht zu helfen haben.

Frauen mit Kindern, Maenner mit Bier.

Die grosse Angst vor Aids. Die traurigen Augen einer AIDS Kranken.

Einschlafen ohne Strohmatte auf Matschboden.

Mit 8 lernen grosse Wasserkanister auf dem Kopf zu befoerdern.

Das Wort Kind verliert an Bedeutung und verblasst beim Betreten eines solchen Hauses.

Muetter die in ihrem Elend nur noch trinken.

Vollwaise die nur noch ihre Grosseltern haben.

Zauberer die Menschen Krankheiten anhexen und ihnen im Spital niemand mehr helfen kann.

Der Tod der regelmaessig vorbeischaut, in dem Leute vor 30 wegsterben. Die Wege sind lang, es fehlt an Geld fuer Transport.

Vielen Menschen fehlt ein Bein- ein Resultat des Mediziners oder einer Miene?

Waschmaschine? 1 x gesehen.

Die Kunst von Hand zu waschen waehrend es rundherum schlammig ist.

Unendliche Liebe vs. Grobheit im Bezug zu Tieren und Kindern.

Fehlende Kanalisation & ueberflutete Strassen nach nur wenigen Stunden Regen

Chillige Stunden am Strand

Schamgefuehl unter Frauen? Gibt es nicht.

Bei einem Toten fragt man nicht nach dem Grund denn schliesslich koennte es AIDS gewesen sein.

Respekt. Vor aelteren Menschen. Das Haus der Mutter, ein Heiligtum.

Sonntags wird weitergetrunken, gemeinsam mit Freunden, schliesslich ist es der letzte Tag des Wochenendes.

Gespraeche mit Jugendlichen ueber Zukunft, die Rolle der Ehefrau und des Ehemannes, ueber Verantwortungsbewusstsein und ueber Arbeitsvorstellungen.

Fast jedem meiner Freunde fehlt ein Zahn im Gebiss.

Ein Land in dem aus der Armut heraus eine fuer uns unvorstellbare Gier ausbricht.

Ein Land in dem Teilen kein Fremdwort ist, in dem man alles gibt was man hat und dafuer nichts zurueck erwartet.

Ein Land das einem lehrt wie getanzt wird.

Ein Land... das so viele wunderschoene Seiten hat, dass einem oft der Atem stehen bleibt. Aber auch ein Land, dass mich lehrt das zu schaetzen was ich habe. Das mich dankbar macht, dass ich wo anders auf die Welt gekommen bin. Ein Land, so vielseitig wie ein Mosaikbild, dieses Mosambik.
Paz e amor para todos, Friede und Liebe fuer alle, Peace and love for everybody...

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Follow-up 05.04.2011

Saturday afternoon I ended up on my best party here so far. Nina, my neighbor took me with her. We picked up Ruth and Nino and drove to Machava, a district of Maputo. First I only expected a barbecue with friends but it turned out to be the birthday of a guy called Gildo who turned 31. The place was awesome with a small house where we had lots of food and a pool. We didn’t have an idea that the place has a pool so we weren’t prepared. I love how Mozambicans party. We arrived at around 4:00 were the first ones already started to dance. No lie, it had 40 degrees and we were dancing and drinking. All of a sudden a guy grabbed me and threw me with my dress in the pool. Best thing that could happened to me. Damn we had so much fun! After me and my friends all ended up in the pool we just danced in the pool. What night! I enjoyed it a lot.
Me and Gildo who turned 31

Gorgeous friends- Enina, Ruth, Gildo and Nino

Enina, Ruth and I

Sunday I went with Nina and her cousin and her friend to the beach.  There I also got to know another friend of them, as well as Jeffrey who’s from South Africa but lives in Mozambique since 9 years. He lives in Inhaca. I definitely need to visit him next time I’m there. I couldn’t describe a better Sunday. Chilling with friends at the beach, eating chicken, coconuts and drinking some beers. Until this Sunday I never went  swimming at Costa do Sol. Honestly, it’s a bit dirty but who cares? I was happy to go for a swim.
Coca Cola here and there and everywhere

Jeffrey and I at Costa do Sol

Yesterday it was the first time it felt really cold here in Mozambique. Gosh! I went to work with a jeans, shoes and a sweater. I never went to work with such an outfit. If this is the Mozambican weather I definitely NOT look forward to it. The Mozambicans said they were happy that it’s getting a bit colder and yesterday lots still only had a T-Shirt on. The wind here definitely feels much colder and it feels like autumn or spring in Austria.

Today I saw the first time how they kill chicken here in the center. Honestly, I was almost about to puke. The kids treated the chicken very bad before killing them. I was so angry. How could you beat up chickens before you kill them? I talked a serious word with them and told them that it’s important to have respect for animals. They killed them with a knife and very slowly. I had the impression we kill them in a faster way at home.

Next time I am going to report about the wedding in Namaacha!

Love, Melanie

Follow-up 01.04.2011

Life here is quite normal. Day by day I still discover new parts oft he culture or get to know new stories. Sometimes it’s too much for me and I don’t know how to get over this information overload. I got to know our new guard, Manuel, who used to live 5r years in Germany where he studied. There he got to know Jacqueline with whom he has a daughter who is now 19 years old. They even lived together and wanted to marry. Unfortunately her father didn’t allow it. After 5 years he had to go back to Mozambique, since that 20 years passed by without seeing Jacqueline and their daughter. As he was expected to go back he couldn’t finish his studies.

Some when in 2006 he lost the contact to the mother of his daughter. Since then he keeps on writing letters to the company she used to work for the mother of Jaqueline. They used to live together and wanted to marry but her father didn’t allow it. So, one night while I was sitting in front of my flat he told me that very often he asks himself why he was born in Mozambique. That night I only thought about our guard, Manuel. I will never forget the way he looked at me while he explained that basically half of his life he spent here waiting for a better time. His biggest wish is to see his daughter.

I keep on thinking, each of us has to write his own story. Only sometimes, it seems a certain road is given to us and we face hard times escaping, or to put it differently, to search for another road or a shortcut.

Kentucky Fried Chicken is the last place I consider to visit soon again. After my first visit I had to puke during work and ended up with a hospital check, while I hadn’t any problems the second time. Last weekend, after me and Anne went to the hairdresser (what a successful visit) we wanted to eat a delicious wrap. Well, I already bereuen on Sunday morning after I woke up. I couldn’t eat a single bit for breakfast. I was sick for about 3 days because of KFC! Could you imagine that? Well, I was told the specific KFC we were in has some major problems with quality and it seems the area there is quite dangerous too (I had no clue…)

No, no more KFC for Melanie…
Oh and I didn’t tell you guys yet that I received an invitation for a marriage! Without any effort, I reached my ultimate goal to see a Mozambican wedding. Thanks to Anne I got the invitation. She’s going to dance for the couple, what an honor! I believe she’s already dancing since 2 weeks to perform well.

The wedding takes place in Namaacha and lasts 3 days, including a church visit in Maputo.

Work is sometimes quite hard, especially with 34 until almost 40 degrees, kids that sometimes have a lack of respect, being tired and the expectation from the kids to give everything.

The last few shocking experiences at work include that a aunt from our center has beaten a child. I saw her holding her shoe in her hand while the child already cried. I was so pissed and told all the others that I don’t like such a Verhalten. We should act differently, especially in such a center.

Another problem is that all of the aunts keep talking in the dialect Changana. They may talk in Portuguese with the kids but when they serve food they only talk Changana to each other. Well, no wonder that the kids act in the same way.

Well, at least this problem is solved as we had a meeting on Friday where I stated this issue. The responsible sister I work with, talked to the kids and the aunts and it seems that this had a great impact. Their behavior already changed.

Isabel is the mother of Cristina, Eduardo and Stelia. The first time I met her after a Chapa ride. She was on her way home and she told me how much she appreciates my work and how I play with her kids. I was very happy and very satisfied. By that time she didn’t have any work. Last week I saw her in a small shop selling groceries, just around the corner of the center. As we passed by, Tia Julia told me that she is HIV positive, as well as her youngest daughter, Stelia. On Friday, after the internal meeting, the sister had a meeting with some of the HIV positive people of the village. She handed out some food for them. Isabel was there too. I greeted her in Changana and hold her hand. She gave me two kisses on my cheek. I watched the others. Most of them are parents of our kids, presumably. By looking at some of them, I recognized that this was the first time in Mozambique that I saw that many adults infected. Some are already in a quite bad condition and it makes m sad to see their young kids, knowing that time flies by and that there’s not much time left for their parents and them. I had to sit down, while the sister had a meeting with those people and the kids were playing soccer.

Also, on Thursday night the husband of my favorite aunt, Delfina died after suffering 2 or 3 weeks due to an illness, that nobody knows. They argue it was witchcraft but I don’t really believe in it. I think it’s AIDS, but no one knows. In general, people might know it is AIDS in the final stage but nobody would dare to tell.

This is why on Friday we were all quite said. Unfortunately I didn’t make it to the funeral on Saturday. Since the death of Samito’s cousin, the girlfriend of Izequiel passed away, as well as a family member of Leonor and now the husband of Delfina. Typically Mozambican the whole families thinks he died because of some witchcraft and that originally another family member wanted to kill him.

There is still a lot of witchcraft going on. There are some that offer everything, from being healthy to getting rich, until resolving sex problems. Even the signs who offer this with telephone numbers are kinda scary to me.

So, sometimes life ain’t that easy, thanks god there are up and downs.

Stay in touch and remember to enjoy every moment of life, we never know when we’ll haverour last moment together.

Peace, love & lots of magical moments.
Kisses from Maputo!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Mingas Concert, Death & Birth and being sick while it has 37°C

On Thursday, 10th I joined Mathias to the airport in the afternoon. I loved to have him here! It just felt as if a part of Austria would visit me here in Mozambique and it was good to spend time with him as I missed him and I really enjoyed it a lot!

On Friday, 11th, I went to a concert at the Franco Mocambicano. It seems this is getting a Friday tradition with my friend Adao. Mingas was playing. Although Adao booked tickets in advance the lady at the front desk already sold them by the time we arrived. With the help of a little corruption (it's sad I know, but what else can you do to enter a concert?) and some connections he has, we were able to see her. The show was nice! After the concert we went to the bar on the other side of the road, Gil Vicente, where another band played live.

On Saturday the day started quite normally. My best friend celebrated her 25th birthday in Germany and I sent her a text message as my Internet connection is quite bad so I am not even able to call somebody. After taking a nap in the afternoon, I went to the other block in my district and visited my friend Samito. They were sitting outside of his appartment, drinking some beer. After a while the others left and only Samito, Nelson and I stayed. At around 6:00 pm Samito received a call from his cousin who told him that her brother just died.

We couldn't realized what he was saying. I have to admit, I cannot handle anything that has to deal with death. Since I've been here one of the sentences I heard the most is: "He/she is already dead." The big difference was, that this day I was involved. We drank more beer and didn't talk. I had to imagine, one of my cousins whom noone is over thirty would have died. I couldn't hold my tears back. After a while, we knew we had to go. Nelson and Samito changed their clothes and we drove to the district of Magoaine which is quite outside of Maputo. Another district where there are basically no roads and only sand. As we reached the house, his cousin was already waiting for us. I was happy I could use some words I know in Changana. For example Boa noite in Portuguese (Good evening) is "Lipelile" in Changana. His family appreciated that I greeted in Changana.

All of the men were sitting on chairs in front of the house, while the women were sitting on strawmats in the sand. Something which I already got used to. Samito, Nelson and I entered the house. It is one of those small houses that you see everywhere. It only had an entrance door, the other rooms (two) were "closed" through Kapolanas (huge scarf that is used for all different kinds, I'll soon upload a picture!).
The mother of the deceased cousin was lying on a strawmat that was covered with some blankets. I shaked her hand, not knowing what to said. I could only say I'm sorry. I sat on one of the other strawmats, together with the other women. We listened to the words of the daugther of the house who explained us in every detail the very last two hours of Samito's cousin.

I was only able to cry with them. I cannot remember for how long we sat there. From times to times the mother tried to sleep while then she screamed desperately for her son. I had no idea how I could help her. There was no way of helping anyway. We only sat there and didn't talk. I guess two hours passed or more, I cannot remember anymore. We had to go back to the city and we said goodbye to everybody. We gave the mother a kiss on her cheeck and hold her hand for the last time.

As we drove away we had a problem with the car. Another time we stucked in the sand. Me and Nelson jumped out of the car and pushed the car as much as we could until Samito was able to drive away. After we bought a beer we drove back to our district. Arriving there, we met some friends who told us that Nelson's wife called and she was on the way to the hospital as she expected to give birth to her baby.

I couldn't believe the words I heard from my friends. We just came back from a family who was in deep sorrow and now we heard that Nelson is about to be a father! Life sometimes is crazy...My best friend celebrates her 25th birthday in Munich, while I am sitting together with an African family on the floor, crying for a cousin I have never met in my whole life and only some hours later, a new baby is born.

Besides this very sad experience, I cannot report much more. Last week I basically stayed at home as I had a little cold which now got worse. Saturday I stayed with some friends in our "zona", we dranked a little bit and later in the night we went to the club "Macaneta". I was quite confused when my friends told me: "Let's go to Macaneta." - there's also a beach which has the same name. It was my first time in the club and I liked it a lot! Need to go there more often.

On Sunday I spent my day together with Anne in Catembe. This time there was way more trash on the beach than last time, what a pitty! Later in the evening we met with some friends in the bar next door for a drink before we finally went to sleep.

Today I stayed at home as my cold got worse and you have no idea how exhaustive it is to work with children while it has 37°C and you're sick. I need to buy some more medication later on and just hope it gets better so I can go to work tomorrow.

All the best & lots of love from Maputo! Be good!