Friday, February 4, 2011

Being a Mulungu in a Mulandi's world

In this region here there are two dialects spoken, Ronga and Changana. I personally know more people who speak Changana. I didn't have the chance yet to learn much as I am still learning Portuguese. Also, Changana is very hard to understand and to pronounce. Two words were very important, since the first day I'm here. 

Mulungu - white person
Mulandi- black person 

In Namaacha there were also some people who yelled Mulungu when they saw me but it was seldom. In Massaca where I work since two weeks it's completely different. It seems like I'm the first white person they ever saw. The whole thing gets worse if they point with their finger on you and yell: ''Mulungu, Mulunguuu''. But, to be honest with you.. you get used to it. Your character develops more as you need more courage to walk in a self-conscious way. No matter whom you pass, everybody looks at you. Men especially check you out wherever you are. There is a big difference though, between the city and the countryside. Here in Maputo, people look quite normal at you. Obviously, you look like a tourist and they sell you everything for a higher price than they would sell it to a about the principle that the price is only higher due to the fact that I'm white. 

But here in the city it's easier, as men only look at you because they think whites are attractive. On the countryside everybody stares at you or calls you Mulungu. 

Right now I need 2 hrs one way to reach my workplace. I drive with a small bus where about 14 people or more (depending on the bus size) fit in. Usually there are way more than 20 people in the bus. They push everybody in there and even if you think there is no more space they will get more inside. I already stopped counting the people. At 6:00 AM I leave the house and walk a little bit until I take my first Chapa to Avenida Guerra Popular. From there I take another Chapa to the Baixa. From there the Chapa to Boane leaves. One short Chapa ride costs 5 Meticais which is 0.11 Euro cents.  15 Meticais (0.34 Cents) is the price for the ride from Maputo Baixa to Boane. Unfortunately I don't know how many km that are but it's about 40 min. 

Obviously, if you stop at every Barraje (bus stop) it needs much more time. From Boane I have to walk until the bridge. The bridge was about to crash down and as we have raining season and quite a lot of water too, they fortunately decided to fix the bridge. It's about a 20 min walk until the bridge. From there on I take another Chapa to reach Massaca and the center I work. 

Sometimes this whole travelling is quite exhaustive. Sometimes I just love it. In the Chapa you meet new people, get some new phone numbers and sometimes find new friends. People here aren't ashamed of anything. It's just normal to hand your baby over to somebody else who has a seat. 

Sometimes I come home from work, tired from studying with the children, playing soccer at lunch time when it has around 39degrees Celsius. And then, if you walk through a village like Massaca and Boane where I don't know anybody but everybody makes fun of me, I feel like shit. 

After such a day, I come home and my only wish is to be black. I know, that these people from the villages are just excited to see a white person. But for me it sometimes doesn't feel good. 

This is why I love to live in Maputo because here I'm quite more accepted. 

This week I have been twice to the beach by nighttime. I love Maputo for its diversity. Me and Anne went with some friends there, drank some beer and walked at the beach and watched the skyline from Maputo. 

In my zone I already know quite a lot of people. In my neighborhood there are many young people, and you always meet someone new. Here it's quite easy to get to know people. I cannot imagine something like that happening in Austria. 

I need to upload pictures soon, right now my time is up!
Have a nice day,

greetz from Maputo (32 degrees)


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