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!

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

How i spend my weekends, arrival of Mathias & INHACA

Usually I spend Fridays together with friends in the "zona". This has actually been the case the last two Fridays within the last three weeks. You might think it could get boring but it doesn't. On Saturday, 19th I joined Samito and Dario on a trip to Marracuene which is still in the Maputo region but 30 km away from the city. There some friends of Dario have a house for the weekend. We spent the whole day and night there, eating, drinking and basically doing nothing, which felt awesome! I love the hospitality of Mozambicans. They share everything! I ate my first cake in Mozambique which was incredibly delicious. When we headed back to Maputo we stopped in Xipamanine, another zone within Maputo where we met with some friends of Samito and Dario.
Sunday, 20th I spent at the beach here at Costa do Sol, together with Adao. Just chilling and drinking some beers. Later on I got to know his girlfriend who cooked together with her girlfriends a delicious dinner for us.
The next weekend I went with Geny, Sandra, Carina and Adao to a Carnival party at the train station. By the way, the train station was awarded as the 4th most beautiful train station in the world, created by Gustaf Eiffel.  On Sunday Samito and I went to Lito’s house. Lito is my neighbor, he has an apartment in the city as he works in the city but usually he drives back to his house every day. It's a little bit outside of Maputo. His whole family was there and we basically ate and drank the whole afternoon. I was lucky enough to got to try Gazelle meat which I liked a lot.
On Tuesday, I picked up my friend Mathias from Austria who came to visit Mozambique due to the project in Namaacha which his company supports. I was so happy to see him! Unfortunately their bags didn’t arrive at the same time. A problem which happens quite often with South African, at least this is what I have been told. I didn’t have any problems with my flight. Thanks god their luggage arrived the next day. We drove to Namaacha where we met the family he’s staying with, visited the convent and all the Sisters of the Precious Blood. At the convent I also met Anne’s parents who have been travelling around with Anne since three weeks.
On Wednesday, 2nd I went to the center in Namaacha and played with all the kids until Papa Augusto took Anne and me to Swaziland as I had to get a new visa. Entering Swaziland was exciting. To be honest with you, it didn’t look much different to Mozambique but just the fact that it was another country was exciting. The official language is English but the people we met had hard times to speak English. At the post office we saw a picture of the king who’s also portrayed on their money. I already forgot how many wives he exactly has. Probably I don’t need to mention that the AIDS rate in Swaziland is extremely high.
On Friday, March 4th Mathias and Anne reached Maputo and we met at Novo Milano for a Pizza. After that we picked Samito up and went for the concert at the Franco-Mocambicano where Stewart played, a famous Marrabenta singer.

Stewart live
 Unfortunately we were quite late so we only saw him performing two songs. After that we went to Elvis bar and then to the Havana bar.
 It seems Friday is not the favorite day for people in Maputo to go out. Nevertheless we had so much fun. After only three hours of sleep we had to get up in order to catch the ferry to Inhaca, 200 Meticais for a ride which is 4 Euros. Inhaca is three hours away from Maputo. I used the time to sleep. As we came closer to Inhaca I was amazed by the beauty of the island. The island charges 200 Meticais for tourists and we didn’t question the price. Later I got to know that for citizens the price is only 100 Meticais. Anne’s parents were already there since Thursday.  Me and Mathias stayed at Cool Running’s place. What a cool location! This weekend was the most relaxing I had so far. The same day we went to Santa Maria which is a beach where almost nobody was. A car took us there which was very adventurous  by itself as the driver did quite a lot of speeding which sometimes doesn’t feel too good in the sand.  We did some snorkeling and discovered beautiful shells and all different kinds of fishes along the reef.  

Beautiful Inhaca

Sunday we came back after chilling at the beach. I introduced Mathias to my family. I called Adao to ask him what he was up to. I knew Adao’s brother, Meleco, had an engagement party the day before but as Mathias and I went upstairs there was still a party going on. This weekend Meleco introduced his future wife officially to his whole family which is a every important event. It was awesome! A friend of them taught Mathias some Portuguese and they brought him all the food they had for him to taste. I had some really nice conversations with their Mom.

Meleco and I at his engagement party
One cultural thing I still have to cope with is the behavior within families when they have a party or a ceremony. I already observed several times that women sit in another corner than men. Usually they serve the men food and cook while all the men sit together and enjoy the food and their drinks.  Whenever I’m invited I’m usually with my male friends there. This is why I sit together in the ‘male’ circle. After I while I usually sit together with the women and talk with them but this is not necessarily a thing that happens on the countryside I also recognize it within the city. This was also true at Meleko’s party. While the women were sitting inside, all the men set together outside.
Probably it’s just striking for me as we are not used to such a separation. In former times women were not allowed to take a nap in the same bed together with their husband throughout the day...

On Monday Mathias joined me to visit Massaca and he got to know my kids there...

Playing after lunch with the smaller ones

They loved him!

Enough for today, be good & until next time!
Love from Maputo,