Tuesday, October 25, 2005

One love, one heart, let’s get together and feel alright.

Friday night was Reggae night here in Maputo and the Franco-Maputan Cultural Center put on a huge concert featuring the legendary rasta Jah Bee from Jamaica. And while I certainly cannot call myself a die hard fan of reggae, I definitely appreciate the sound and the message of the music. It puts a huge smile on my face when I see a seventy year old rasta man like Jah Bee preaching the word while getting down to some serious grooves. I have never in my life seen an old man move like that. A close second was seeing Ibrahim Ferrer of the Beuna Vista Social Club, but I digress.

The concert started at 8:30 and I knew that I was going to be late in meeting up with my friends so I told them to head on in without me and that I’d catch up with them later. When I finally arrived at the Center I noticed that there was about 300 dreadlocked Mozambicans holding up Jamaican flags and pictures of Bob Marley while banging on drums and singing reggae hymns. They were having their own little “session” out on the street, partly out of protest to the $5.00 ticket prices. “Reggae is the music for all of the people,” one of them told me, “not just those that can pay. They should let people in for free.” A lot of these guys were genuine rastafarians that had taken chapas in from the slums on the outskirts of town in the hope of seeing Jah Bee. I felt quite torn between which crowd I wanted to be a part of that evening but in the end I reluctantly decided to join my friends that were already inside. There have few moments during my time in Africa where I have felt more white than when I climbed those stairs alone and paid my 100 000 Metacais to get in.

The show was absolutely incredible and had everyone out of their seats moving along with the music. Unfortunately, the whole show stopped abruptly at a little after 10:30 but what happened next was amazing. As the whole crowd spilled out onto the street, Jah Bee and all the other rastas that performed came out and continued the jam with all of those that truly deserved to hear their words and music that evening. In an instant, lines of class segregation were erased and a single human music community remained. It is these moments that I thank God for providing me, reconfirming my faith in the potential of humankind and the beauty of a worldwide community of believers. One love. One heart. One mind. One body. It’s really that simple.

Saturday also brought a new adventure for me. I decided to go on a friend’s advice and check out the Hash House Harriers here in Maputo. The Harriers bill themselves a “drinking club with a running problem” and I must say that they are one of the weirdest and most entertaining “exercise cults” that I have ever come across. They have clubs in most major international cities and are made up of running enthusiasts from every country under the sun. You start off by being trekked out to some obscure location in the Maputo region to go jogging. This time around the group went out to Matola, a town about 10 minutes outside of Maputo, and ran through a small farming community on the outskirts of the city. The scenery was quite inspiring as the sun approached the horizon and cast long shadows across the traditional huts and the faces of their inhabitants. The children were quite entertained at our spectacle and energetically followed our train of exasperated runners. The women laughed and shook their heads at the crazy malungos as we sweat our way through their village.

Part of the fun of a Hash run is that you don’t know the route that you’re supposed to follow. It’s sort of a treasure hunt. The trail is marked by tiny bits of paper (of which I was assured were bio-degradable) and the group has to help each other using a specific set of calls to find the proper route. After the run, everyone heads back to the “Clubhouse” for post-exercise festivities. I have rarely in my life seen such an impressive display of beer consumption, and this involved everyone from 30 year old men to 65 year old women. Me being a new comer and all, I received “special” initiations involving the chugging of beer, the singing of songs, the ridicule from the rest of the Hash and the hearty slaps on the back for my good spirit. Normally, if I’m stumbling home after a run it’s on a count of a muscle strain but this was something else entirely!!

8 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:31 AM  
Anonymous Mom said...

Are you behaving yourself???

6:07 PM  
Blogger jpmozambique said...

Are you behaving yourself???

6:07 PM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

I lived with you for a year and never saw you run once. but I guess the bribe is liquer for you

10:09 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jared,
I thought I saw you run after some wine once...
Mar

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I've heard about those hash runners....we have a group here in Edmonton. So what's your nickname?

Tara

2:20 PM  
Blogger jpmozambique said...

No nickname yet Tara. I think I need to go a few more times before they pass on that "honour" to me. Any suggestions? I've never really had a nick name before!!

1:05 AM  
Anonymous Patrick said...

you could be scruffy

4:47 PM  

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