Wednesday, May 03, 2006

We Jammin’

One of the greatest things about living in a different country is meeting new and exciting friends. I have had the opportunity to meet many of the ex-pat community here in Maputo and have appreciated the connections I have made with many young people from Europe, Asia and the Americas. Despite my weak Portuguese I have still been able to make some nice Mozambican friends as well who have shown me much about the rich culture of this land. However, my greatest African friend that I have made here so far is a Zimbabwean named Mondli, or “my window” as he is called by his friends. Mondli is an artist from Harare who has lived in Maputo for the last three years making a living by selling his paintings on the street. It is not an easy life but Mondli is able to provide enough for his wife and child and lives in a descent house in one of the “nicer” ghettos on the outskirts of Maputo. Mondli and I have formed a strong friendship based on our mutual love of God, Africa and the Songs of Freedom.

This past Monday was very special as it was Mondli’s 30th Birthday Party. He wanted to celebrate the event in style and invited all of his Zimbabwean and Mozambican friends out to usher him into his next decade in life. He also invited all of us brancos to come down and party with him “in the ghetto.” Every time I visit Mondli at his home I come away blessed. The change of environment and the time spent with this happy African family fills me with a simple happiness and a fresh outlook on life. I was eagerly looking forward to this time to break the bread, share the wine and dance the night away with his family and friends.

A big convoy of us from the city met up with Mondli and his gang on Monday afternoon at the Maputo Fish Market and proceeded to navigate our vehicles through the extremely narrow streets of his neighbourhood to where the booming music indicated that the party was already well underway. Mondli’s wife Maria and her friends had prepared a huge feast of traditional Zimbabwean and Mozambican food and Mondli’s friends prepared some speeches to toast their friend on his special day. Above is Mondli (in that sharp checkered blazer!!) and his wife after we had finished singing Happy Birthday to him in four differant languages!! We all felt quite honoured to be a part of the festivities and many of the locals were overjoyed to be partying with us strange newcomers.

White people in this part of Maputo are an extreme rarity. Mondli’s son Emanuel, who is almost two years, had never seen a white person in the house before my first visit. He still stares at me with his huge curious eyes whenever I am around. My good friend Tina also had a pleasent surprise as this adorable little girl gave her a big hug as soon as we walked in the door and rarely left her side for the duration of the evening

One of the greatest events of the evening was the jam that we had in the back yard. Many of Mondli’s friends are strong Rastafarians, or at least are huge fans of reggae music. Mondli ordered me to learn as much Bob Marley as possible for the party and we poured through my entire repertoire before launching into some sweet improvised African jams. What I love most about African music is its simplicity, both in lyrics and in sound. Simple messages straight from the heart and straight to the point, played over the same three chords, makes for very emotionally stirring music. And I love how everybody here dances freely, from the four year old child to the 80 year old grandmother. This is the Spirit moving in our midst and it is this Spirit that continues to fascinate me and make me fall further in love with this land and its people. That you my friend for a beautiful evening and the beginning of something truly remarkable!

"Won't you help to sing
these songs of freedom?
'Cause all I ever have
is redemption songs."

Jah Live



Blogger Sean said...

Cut your hair

1:54 p.m.  
Anonymous Mom said...

It sounds like you had a wonderful evening with your Maputan friends. Great pics!!! Whose guitar???

As for the hair Sean......don't get me started.

10:21 p.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

As for me, I love your hair. Wish Justin would grow his longer again.

Vernelle (Justin's Mom)

8:07 a.m.  
Blogger jpmozambique said...

ha ha ha, maybe I will just shock all of you and come home with dreds when this is all over!!

Didn't you just see the musical "Hair" in Toronto mom? coincidence...i doubt it!!

9:55 a.m.  
Blogger Sean said...

Dude, if you come home with dreds, I no longer will be able to call you friend. (I'll still golf, drink, smoke, joke and argue with you though - I just won't call you "friend" - "buddy" or "pal" will still stand)

6:05 p.m.  
Anonymous Patrick said...

Damn Jared. It was you and you had finally lost your mind in that first picture.

If you get dreds I will point and laugh at you

5:34 p.m.  
Blogger Crystal said...

Sounds like an awesome party. And if I could add my 2 cents to the hair debate (which seems to be the popular debate at the moment) I think it looks good. But then again, I've only seen it in pictures!

11:34 p.m.  
Anonymous Neville said...

Keep the hair long, grow it longer, Put it in dreds, don't give in, I'll still like ya

3:35 p.m.  
Anonymous Daraci said...

I've seen seen you in the flesh with that hairstyle and I think it looks good. (Just my 2 cents) I hope that you publish this journal one day. It's always so interesting. Take care of yourself.

6:00 p.m.  
Anonymous Darci said...

hahah it's been a long day. Therefore I cannot spell my own name. Anyway.... Just had to laugh at myself as I often do

6:02 p.m.  

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