The journey will go on tomorrow. On the way to Nairobi to work on a guidebook (sorry, it will be in Dutch) about Mozambique, Malawi and Zambia. Enjoy your day. The coming days I will be posting some pictures if the connection allows me…
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‘This country was so terrible’, a guy, 30, said to me. ‘In the 90’ies, 1990 people where hiding on the beach while the shooting was going on in town. People who were moving with a dhow where shot. The dhow went to the bottom of the sea. Now, we want this place to be beautiful. We want you to see how beautiful this place is. When we had the war, nobody could come. Now you can come and enjoy with us.’ I am standing in a local bar in Vilankulos on the coast in Mozambique, enjoying a cold 2M beer (one of the local brands) and watching people, young and old, dance, swing, moving and grooving, smiling, chatting… The word took me back to a conversation in once had with my taxi driver in Bukavu, Congo DRC. The guy, in
Can anybody explain me why in a country where the majority of the people live below the poverty line, I still have to pay two euro for an hour on the internet whereas in my home-country Netherlands, people have limitless broadband internet access for 15 euro a month? It makes these countries stay behind more than necessary. Imagine what it could do education, trade etc. if everybody would have access to the internet here. That evening, I had a beer with the manager of the French cultural centre in Maputo at the opening of an arts exhibition… ‘A litle bit bit of Kadinski,a glaas of wine?’, a friend texted me ironically from Kenya. But there wasn’t. Talking about arts in Mozambique, the word isolation came across: ‘There is a lot of potential here, but they keep running around in circles.
Reading The World is Flat by Thomas L. Friedman about convergence and the availability to connect to anyone in this world through cheap internet access, I realised once again that Africa is the continent where wealth and progress have an other definition. Apart from the fact that the book is extremely inspiring (please read it!), Friedman does not take a lot of time to talk about Africa. He is only saying that this is the continent where only the number of Health Clinics seems to grow. Why mister Friedman, the world does not end in Europe, US or India. Keep youn posted about his, there might me an surprising end in the book.
It’s easy to catch the atmosphere of positive growth, reconstruction in Maputo. Walking through the lush streets, you find people talking, chatting with each other. It seems that everybody is sick of the war, of insecurity and they want to show everybody. Compared to last year, roads and buildings have been reconstructed and shopping malls are being created. Buildings got a fresh paint. The atmosphere of growth is in the air. Although the country is still very corrupt according to the locals I was talking to. It can never be as corrupt as Kenya, I always think, when people anywhere in Africa start talking about corruption. But the last days, some things made me change my mind. I will come back to that later. And also: the Chinese are coming. China was one of the first countries to be visited
The next day I was travelling from Johannesburg to Maputo overland. A 500 kilometer journey that took me almost 15 hours when I travelled by train and mini bus last year, but the the comfortable long distance bus would bring me there in only seven and a half hours. On the way I met a Mozambican guy who just fired from hospital after two years. ‘I’ve recovered from leukaemia, and I am happy to go home.’ The last two years, he had spent in a private hospital in Johannesburg. His family was not even aware of his arrival. He showed me a picture of one of his friends in Maputo. ‘Do you know who this is?’, he asked me. Of course I did now know. ‘This is the son of the president’, he said. He also stays in South Africa.
On my seven hour bus ride back, through the beautifull landscape of green hills, that seem to change colour with the hour, I realised that in my mother country Netherlands we can’t enjoy the luxury of wondering through nature for days. Ok, wondering for hours is possible on my favorite Dutch spots: Schier and Terschelling. Netherlands might be among one of the wealthiest countries in the world, but in terms of space you could call us a development country. Arrived at the Parkstation in Johannesburg, I wondered what I should think about the white couple, early twenties, that I met in the Johannesburg Bus station. I had met them the day I left. The guy came to me with a very long story that ended with the request if I could give him money because they had to leave that
It has been a while that I was able do some postings, but here we are. After my first days in Johannesburg, I spent two days in Kimberley, a kind of a sleeping city build on the wealth of diamond mining, long time ago. Writing this while I am in a little village on the Mozambiquan coast, Kimberley seems so long ago and far away. Nowadays not a lot is happening in Kimberley. They don?t even have a rush hour. In the supermarket, people are sleepwalking on background music buying charcoal and boerewors for their braaij and the main tourist attraction is a giant hole in the earth where, according to Lonely Planet, people moved 28 tonnes of earth to win 3 tonnes of diamonds. Apart from visiting a farm where a San(Bushmen)-community is being trained as a security guard,