Wednesday, October 05, 2005

This past weekend, Catherine and I had the pleasure of hosting Ryan Utter, one of our fellow MEDA interns, while he was passing through Maputo. Ryan is also researching HIV/AIDS and microfinance but he will be living in Angola for the next five months. Unfortunatly, Ryan has had about a million and one headaches and complications in getting to Angola and won't be able to start his project until the middle of October. He figured that checking out the beaches of Mozambique was a better way to spend these next two weeks than being stuck and frustrated in Montreal (I certainly don't blame him!!). We had a great time getting to know each other in a more casual environment as the first time we met was during our MEDA orientation in Waterloo. In just four days we were able to explore the markets, barracas, restaurants and nightlife in Maputo, and even share some of the work we've accomplished thus far. Ryan has a great spirit for travelling and we had a blast meeting locals and struggling through our broken portuguese. Right now Ryan should be hopefully on a dhow safari, wolfing down prawns and checking out Mozambique's beautiful coral reef islands!! Good luck bud!!

On Saturday we met two other CIDA interns working in Maputo. It was quite a chance encounter really. I was wearing my blue CIDA "global citizen" shirt, which I honestly haven't worn the whole time I've been in this country, and they approached me at a cafe and asked Ryan and I if we were from Canada. Their names are Courtney and Guillon and they are both working for the Marine Institute of Newfoundland with sustainable fisheries. They are both a ton of fun and we all went out that night to check out this jazz club at the old train station we had heard so many good things about. The train station is spectacular but is no longer being used (another relic of the glory days of Lourenco Marques, Maputo's former name during the colonial period). The club had a cool ambiance but was exclusively white. Apparently many of the portuguese in town still do not like to mingle socially with the locals. We were a little disapointed as we were hoping for something with a little more of an African flavour.

Then on Tuesday I experienced segregation on the opposite extreme. Believe it or not, yesterday was yet another national holiday here in Mozambique, commemorating the peace agreement signed between FRELIMO and RENAMO back in 1992. I found it odd that last week we were celebrating the beginning of the armed struggle against the Portuguese and this week we were celebrating the end of the country's violent period of history. I find it incredibly counterproductive to praise the efforts of war within the same month of praising the efforts of peace. When a country has so much blood staining its roots, should not more effort be made to glorify those that resisted violence and choose the path of peace?

Anyway, since Tuesday was a holiday, I took off to Costa do Sol with Courtney and Guillon. Costa do Sol is the closest beach "paradise" in the Maputo area and is a #1 destination for locals looking to get away from the city, soak up some sun and frolic in the Indian Ocean. Unfortunately, nearly half of Maputo's 1.5 million head to Costa do Sol on weekends and holidays, completely destroying any notion of tranquility. The entire shorefront was packed with rowdy Mozambicans blasting hip hop and Afro-reggae while the street venders were shoulder to shoulder selling whole BBQ chickens, french fries and copious amounts of beer. The whole time we were down there I think I saw only three other white people. It was fantastic though and we were quite the spectacle sitting on our blanket in the middle of the chaos soaking in the atmosphere. This was truly a picture of the REAL Mozambique!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Jared,

Really enjoying the updates. I have found the number of national holidays very interesting...maybe Canada should add a holiday or 2...maybe a day dedicated to Pearson or 1812 or something interesting.

I have also enjoyed the musical update and photo - is what you are hearing worked its way into your music yet? or have you had much time to even think about it?

PS - first official night of the NHL 2005-2006 Season - Habs beat the Bruins, going to be a good season!

11:42 p.m.  
Blogger Big Roddy said...

Had a really good jam with John and Seamus on Monday and had a lot of fun digging out tunes, but were sorely missing your silky vocals and rythim guitar! We're all missin' you on the music front and can't wait to play some of the stuff we're working on.
I also have a CD of some of the best of the Sessions! I'll have to get some money and send 'er off to you lad.
Sounds like you're havin' a good time out there. Take a bunch of pictures and enjoy yourself amigo. Waiting for your next post...

11:50 p.m.  
Blogger jpmozambique said...

This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

1:27 a.m.  
Blogger jpmozambique said...

Totally agree with you mar. Canada does need a another holiday or two. Weren't we supposed to have Prime Minister's Day in place by now? Or what about a day to celebrate Canadian multiculturalism? Or maybe a day to celebrate hockey in the dead of winter? Anyone else got any ideas?

Rod, that's great about the band. I'd love a copy of those sessions. Keep the jam alive bro!!

1:34 a.m.  

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