Preny in Moçambique

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Good bye Mozambique

June 4th, 2010 · Comments Off · Austria, Life, Moçambique

After several months time is now over. In a few hours I am leavin’ on a jet plane. It was a great time! Thanks to all the great guys I met here. I will miss you!!!

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City Tour – Part II

May 19th, 2010 · Comments Off · Beira, Moçambique

As reported a couple of weeks ago we could not finish our city tour, guided by Farisei. Time is running faster every day now, therefore we managed to visit the last spots: the cathedral, city centre and the train station. For starters: no police was involved this time.

Farisei once again did a great job telling us the stories behind the buildings and squares. If you are interested in more details – shortly I will be back in Europe and will tell you every thing I remembered. As for now I should start getting my stuff together. And prepare myself for the ‘despedida’ – farewell…

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May 19th, 2010 · Comments Off · Moçambique, Travelling

My time is running out and there are still many things that I would like to do. Taking a boat to Barada is one of them and I managed doing it. Together with Jona, who travelled from Gaborone to Beira, we took the boat from Esmabama to their mission. Esmabama has 4 missions in Sofala, of which Barada is the only one situated at the sea. And getting there by boat only takes 2 hours instead of 4 hours by car.

We departed at Praia Nova and enjoyed the view to Beira, whose 60’es style sky scrapers were still visible at the beach of Barada. We landed in paradise:  a nice, flat and lonesome beach with thousands of coconut palms in the inland. Rogerio, an Italian guy who works as engineer for Esmabama, showed us around and we could have a look at the oil press and other interesting stuff.

It got even more interesting when we met Enrique and Allan. Enrique works too for Esmabama and Allan joined him to advise him in agricultural matters as they are planning to make the plantation more productive. It was really interesting listening to the guys and learning at least a bit about soil, coconut timber and seeds (I should have studied something more useful than communication sciences…).

After getting bitten by legions of mosquitoes and falling into a deep sleep (finally – the last weeks are not the most restorative ones) we returned with Allan by car who showed us his company including his machinery, crafts stock and tree nursery.

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Labour Day

May 19th, 2010 · Comments Off · Beira, Moçambique

Mozambique is supposed to be a socialistic country – it was in former times. Nowadays it is a ‘normal’ democracy who ‘fights’ poverty (by buying 200.000 USD-cars for its ministers). Corruption? Oh yes, definitely! Anyhow, Labour Day is an important day for the people.

Last year I was travelling around Mozambique and missed the spectacle. But this year I got an impression of how they can celebrate. Almost all the enterprises and institutions were present and sent their employers to the march. Outfitted with shirts from the company they walked and sang and shouted and acted etc. Some of them did performances in front of the podium. Unfortunately UCM’s rectorate refused to equip its workers with shirts so they were not present at all. Well, the church and the communism have their own history.

The highlight of the whole event was of course the “Internationale” (I did not know that this is the proper translation…), played by a military band in a very special style.

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May 17th, 2010 · Comments Off · Life

I think sleeping is the most common leisure activities of Mozambicans. But, they do not only sleep in their free time. There are watchmen sleeping during the day on their chairs (while thieves take mirrors from cars in front of them). In the night the same watchmen sleep on cardboards if available and only wake up after the garage was opened, the car put into the garage and then locked again.

Next to Praça de Independencia there is a hammock seller who sleeps in one of the hammocks as long as it’s in the shade. The rest of the time he sleeps on the grass. My counterpart stays in the office during lunch time while all the others leave UCM. She too likes to fall asleep in her chair with the papers she is working on in her hands.

Drunk lie in the streets, regardless of time of day – more frequently on weekends of course. The children of market-sellers sleep underneath the sales stalls, sometimes the sellers take a nap there as well. In the Chapas people sleep too. So why can’t I sleep too anytime, anywhere?

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The guy with the AK47

May 10th, 2010 · Comments Off · Moçambique

Friday afternoon. Work is done, weather is good, and some roof was waiting for Birgit and me. Our friend Andrea from DED told us to get up the governments building where she works in the fourth floor. Situated in almost in the centre of the city centre we expected to have a great view over the city.

Wind was blowing hard and I did not feel very comfortable with my fear of heights and no wall or railing surrounding the platform. The roof we climbed up a couple of weeks ago turned out to be more interesting because of more contrast and action.

Until a man asked Birgit if we got a permission to being up there. She acted to not knowing anything about it and the guy went away, saying he will get someone. We thought that he just wanted some bribe money or to be important. Then eventually a guy, armed with his AK47 approached us and asked us for the permission – which we still did not have. He got a bit nervous and I got it too. I asked if he could help us out; kind of helping us vice versa. But he took his phone and dialled to get to talk to his superior: “I have here two whites on the roof of the governments building. They did shoot photos. But I ‘neutralized’ them.” Wow, we got neutralized. Felt interesting though!

We got back down and he asked me what we did, if we knew that it was prohibited getting there and if we knew where the governor’s office is. I told him that we are very, very, very sorry and we have no clue where his office is. And that I work for UCM – works most of the times; well his superior was already on his way.

Then a guy with two stars on his shoulder and a civilian arrived and got briefed by the young man who caught us. Again we explained that we had no idea of doing something forbidden and that we are very (…) sorry for it. They noted our details including our civil status on a post-it pad and I told them that I am not married: “Why aren’t you married at your age?” “I have a girlfriend who is waiting for me back in Austria.” “And in Mozambique?” “As I said before, my girlfriend is in Austria.” “Don’t you like Mozambican women?” “Well, I never thought of it because I HAVE A GIRLFRIEND.”

In the end they were really kind and friendly and told us to ask the next time for permission. And if I change my mind and want to get a Mozambican girl I just have to call them. Or get back onto the roof without permission…?

And: I wonder who loses his shoe up there…

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União distrital dos camponeses (UDAC)

May 10th, 2010 · Comments Off · Moçambique

During our “In country training” we got to know the majority of the projects of our HORIZONT-colleagues. But those who arrived later I only knew from their stories and fairytales. So I wondered who Volkmar’s project looks like and asked him and our programme officer if I can join them on their visit.

Said so and we went off to Dondo where Volki renovated a building in order to get an office for UDAC. It was interesting indeed what he is planning to do. Later we continued to one of the associations of UDAC (Milho 8) where they showed us around. I very much enjoyed this day, away from my desk.

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Gimme something to do

May 10th, 2010 · Comments Off · Beira, Moçambique

Almost the only person at UCM who provides me with tasks and therefore my saviour – Gerald – asked me to shoot pictures from his presentation of study-material and sms-Helpdesk-Service for the students.

And here is a selection of it:

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Dependence on fibreglass

May 9th, 2010 · Comments Off · Moçambique

On Sunday, April 25 I encountered problems with my internet connection. Not that new because I had some problems since I moved in. Sometimes it was better, sometimes worse. But on that Sunday the problem got a new dimension. Not only at my home there is no internet. Every institution, private houses etc. which do not have a huge parabolic antenna from Vilanculos northwards face the same problems.

Furthermore both mobile providers broke down. Vodacom recovered apparently a bit quicker than mCel but both do not run smoothly by this time (April 27, afternoon). You can live easily without communication as people here showed me more than once (hello work!) for some time. But the problem affected the banks too. In Beira there were reports from the “Diário” newspaper that all ATM’s were out of order because of lack of connection to their servers. At the banks themselves it was a problem too to get money. Imagine – the third largest city of the country hast problems in providing its inhabitants with money. And I assume that the same happened in any other city north of Vilanculos.

Why Vilanculos? Because there were news that a fibreglass cables were cut (or stolen, or whatever) near Vilanculos. State-run broadcaster TVM did not mention any problem of that kind in the news, the second broadcaster is down due to the problems. While I am writing this lines nothing seems to be get better in the near future. Calling the provider of the cables TDM the answer was the problem will be resolved until April 26 in the evening. So I should be connected with the outer world by now already. Lets see, when this post will be published.

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Moving pictures

April 21st, 2010 · Comments Off · miscellaneous

In case you did not notice – there is a new link in the menu which lead you to some short movies from my stay here in Mozambique.

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