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Tour du monde en autostop - Jeremy Marie


 Travel Diary : A lusitanese influence in Mozambique

By keeping on travelling to the south on the african continent, I have finished my visit of former brtitish colonised countries (which were Kenya, Uganda, Tanzania and Malawi) to discover a country which have been influenced by the portuguese colonisation: Mozambique.
Very quickly, I could feel some indication of a more latin culture. From the crossing of the border (where the policeman wanted me to pay 3 times the normal price of the visa before to totally forgot to ask me to pay something), I realize that I can understand a langage that I have never practiced in my life: I wanted to talk about portuguese. However, this is not the only langage talked in Mozambique because this country, like the other african countries, has known how to keep some part of his original culture.
Let me to tell you Mozambique, a country of mixing, intensity, which has been close to the chaos very recently...

Out of a critical situation

Let's start by giving you the current situation. This one is pretty dark. Mozambique was, not so far from now, without doubt the poorest country in the world, simply like that. The situation isn't much better nowadays but a better dynamism is there at least. Anyway; it is true that when you are in the deepest, it is difficult to go deeper..;
Mozambique has been colonised by Portugal and has obtained his independence only in 1975 after a civil war of more than 10 years. The portuguese who were running a big part of the business left the country straight away.
Today, it is possible to see all the abandoned building that the portuguese were using before the independence, like the factories or the different malls.
Those one have never been used so far.

An abandoned factory from the portuguese colonisation time


A mall which also have never been used again 

Unfortunatly, the peace didn't come after the independence. Indeed, the question of who were supposed to rule the country was asked. A second civil war followed and was opposing the 2 main political party: FRELIMO and RENAMO.
After having almost completely destroyed the country, FRELIMO was finally in power. It is still possible to see which zone are of FRELIMO majority because the party took the time (and the money) to put flag at his own glory in those areas.

The areas of FRELIMOI majority are easy to spot because of the flags at his own glory

Those two wars let also many landmines on the territory of Mozambique. As in Cambodgia after the conflict with the Reds Khmers, it was necessary to make a prevention campaign to try to avoid too much victims .

Some NGO are doing prevention campaign against the landmines

As if it wasn't enough, Mozambique has then been victim of a huge water floosh and once again; destroyed completely a part of the country. Maybe you can remember this famous television report of a pregnant woman who had climbed a tree to escape the water and she had given born to his child from the tree.

This is in this bad economic situation that I entered Mozambique. Having said that, we can start to focus on the population of this country of South-East of Africa, on his
way of life and his influences.

A portuguese influence

In 1498, Vasco de Gama was the first european man to step in Mozambique. In more than five centuries, the portuguese influence has been developping in an important way in this country situated along the Indian Ocean.
One of the most important place for the portuguese influence was Mozambique Island (Isla da Mocambique) which is now belonging to the Unesco Heritage.
We can discover there a typical portuguese architecture which is like completely alien in this part of Africa.

A square in the center of Mozambique Island

 A church which has been very well white conserved

On top of the buildings, the portuguese culture is easy to spot in many facts of the quotidian in Mozambique. Music, for example, is more lively, more happy. By the way, the bresilian music is an important influence for the mozambican singers.

Something else, in the cities, the population seems to go to live in the center. Let's remember that in the british colonies, the center was only for commercial purpose et was inhabited only for the offices hours. In France, that can seem normal that the center is possibly inhabitable but this is not the case in every country.

A building in the center of the capital Maputo

A little fact which has surprised me because that was one year that I haven't seen one: I want to talk about the bidet.
This bathroom object, which has been for a long time for me the object of an interrogation about his purpose (and I have to say that except to wash my socks,I have never found a better function for it), I could indeed find again with great pleasure the bidet in the mozambican bathrooms.

A North/South separation

Nowadays, we are talking a lot about government delocalisation by moving the capitales to often develop the activity in another district of the country. This is the case in Turkey with the capitale which is Ankara and no Istanbul, or in Brasil with his capital Brasilia and no Rio de Janeiro.
In Mozambique, we do the contrary and that lead surely to some problems. Indeed, the capitale Maputo is in the exrem south of the country. The thing is that the country is around 3000 kilometers lengh from North to South.

As I arrived from the North, I could be the witness of a big difference of development which was more important as I was going further south... and that I was getting closer to the capitale. In fact, we could think that the country has been cut in two with a big part of the activity focused on the southern part.
The separation seems to be in the city of Caia where we are currently building a bridge on the Zambeze river.

In Caia; we are building a bridge to try to connect North to South

 In another way, that can be useful for the last crazy ones who still get the energy to cross the river by swimming...
...some crocodiles seems indeed to haunt the place! 

Of course, once again, this is the population who is victim of the big differences of development. I have already said that in the last newsletters but the difference between rich and poor in Africa is simply huge.
Where the rich are living with standards close to the european standards; the poor will have to survive with a daily budget close to 1 dollar.
In a township close to Chimoio, I could visit a family who was trying to build their house at a cost etimated at 300 euros... the quality of course was terrible with a brick costing 3 cents of euro...

The bricks waiting for the moment of the construction in a Township

A township can give you the idea of what to expect of a country, you are dealing rightly with the population and you can admire the courage that they need to live in such conditions while you are discovering all the current problems in Africa: Aids, low life expectancy, poverty, low education...

Leading the tire with a stick is the national game for the children of the ghettos

A coastal country

With the number of kilometers of coastline in Mozambique (I don't know how many but there is a lot ☺), we can say that the country has an important coasting life. The seaside environment of the Indian Ocean has a flora with many coconut trees along the coast.
In this fact, in addition of the fishing of course, the mozambicans have a cuisine including the coconut. Many dishes will make you taste the famous fruct, most of the time in sauce.
The coconut, in sauce in this dish or rice and spinash

The popukqtion is adaptating to the environment by also using the trees to build their houses. That was very interesting for me to discover that some locals are using the vegetation like the palm of the coconut tree, to make heir own home.

Some houses built with the closest trees next to Inhambane in Mozambique

I hope that the symbiose with the environment will last long because there is a huge problem of prevention and education about the care of this one. How many times in Africa have I been the witness of people throwing their bottle, can of trashes in the street without even wondering about the consequences.
Especially in the big cities, the result is often scarying

In Maputo, the trash, this is the ground...

Hitch-Hiking in Mozambique

First of all, the mozambicans are once again very kind. I think that on this point, Africa had showed me his best sight. I will remember from the mozambicans and generally the africans a message of sociability, frienship and kindness.
On which concern hitch-hiking in Mozambique, I had to face the same problem as in Malawi. There is a problem with transports and many people choose to hitch-hike. The drivers of private vehicles, to face the high price of the petrol, are often asking for some money. I had to explain my situation before getting inside the vehicles.

I didn't wait so much; it was mostly depending of the trafic, which was getting easiest in the south part of the country.

I wanted by the way to say something. Hitch-hiking, this is also a lot of walking. Indeed, before to stop a vehicle, this is necessary to find the good road and to find a good spot for the car to stop without annoyance.

For some details, here is the state of y shoes that I was using from Ethiopia

 A little bit closer

And as I like to abuse a little bit; here are the socks

Having said that, I am going to enter in my last country of Africa, which will be South Africa. I think it will be a ig difference but... that will be in the next newsletter!

I let you with a picture of Maputo that I like very much. Those are student who had left their class; but to go on the roof, which has surely more fresh air!

See you soon in South Africa



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