Ricardo’s first impression of Mozambique
When I arrived in Maputo the first feeling was of surprise. I felt as if I were in any other European airport, the only difference was the speed of movements and the dark and gleaming skins.
This European feeling soon disappeared when we got in Hilário’s car and began to drive around Maputo. The traffic chaos, the colours, the scent of fuel, and the street vendors quickly carried me to other African memories. "This is Africa." I said taking a deep breath and finally absorbing the African essence. The trip to Chokwe-City was very pleasant and was useful to understand the agricultural potential of this huge country, and how living could be so much easier for so many people. There is a lot to do. Chokwe-City – well there is not much to say – a city lost in the middle of Africa; poverty, street kids, colours, dust, fruit (and everything else) markets, people and heat even though here this is considered the cold season... Ahaha! Rather curious are the signs of pseudo-richness in town: two gyms, a gas station and a small shop, similar to so many Portuguese shops.
Now, the people, I’ll start with the one I spent more time with. Hilário seems to be an outsider, almost a Westerner, he talks fluidly about pretty much every subject. He’s friendly, sensitive and thoughtful. Hilário is an excellent PR. I want to, and I will have the opportunity of knowing him better.
Always welcome, curious and helpful; the contacts with the Sisters, with the people at the Caritas residency, the technicians and the sponsored children have been extremely interesting. During the next few weeks I will have time to break the initial ice of politically correctness and really get to know these persons.
Although at superficial level, like most African countries where I have been, I feel there is an excessive submission to the white “man” and I wish to change that, starting by their relationship with me. I believe African culture is one of the richest in the world and it is important for Africans to be aware of that and be proud of themselves and of the colour of their skin.
I’ll be vigilant, and I have 6 weeks to perform “white” magic with my example. :)
Ricardo is volunteering for 6 weeks in Chokwe with our sister-charity UPG Portugal
Ana finally arrives to Mozambique!
Q: What is your first impression of Mozambique?
Ana: It is my first time in Africa and I’m astonished with everything because it is so different from my day to day reality.
We arrived in the beginning of winter... temperatures vary between max. 30º and min. 20º. People are cold and wear scarfs and wool hats!
Mulungos (white people in changana – local dialect) are a minority so the curious and surprised looks of everyone are quite obvious! The look of children in indescribably delightful J
Colours, scents, fruits, vegetables and the Mulandes (African people in changana) are magnificent to look at and to admire!
Thus, my first impression is of wonder for a country rich in resources and which still has not managed to create sustainable development conditions.
Q: What do you think about the people with whom you’ve interacted?
Ana: The Sisters from SLM and SVP Schools, both sponsored by ALG, and all the “ anos” (the young boys or “little brothers” helpung) welcomed us very well and strengthened the positive energy and joy existing when facing the constant day-to-day challenges! This is so good and inspiring!
People’s reaction is, in general, reserved but when we interact or smile they quickly reply... making communication easier even though we don’t speak the local dialect changana.
Q: When they travel Portuguese people like to eat. How is the food in Mozambique?
Ana: The street market is amazing... it has everything, and when I mean everything I mean everything! In this market some people sell what they collected from their farming plots... vegetables look great. Because I’m a vegetarian it has been easy to eat here and I have been eating delicious food :)
Q: What are your feelings/emotions at the moment?
Ana: To tell you the truth the feelings and emotions are profuse and sometimes confusing and contradictory. I think Africa will reinforce the idea that Living is to feel the moment, the now.
Khanimambo!!! (Thank you in changana)
Ana is volunteering for 6 weeks in Chokwe with our sister-charity UPG Portugal