June 27, 2005

Contrasts within 10 meters

Posted my travelstories. Working on other stories now. Independence of the Mozambiquan television. Doing research on that. Besides: enjoying the good life in Maputo. Contrasts like all the cities I´ve been in Africa. It is getting dark now and still a lot of women are selling their goods in the streets. Collecting a small income to feed their families. When I have guests in Nairobi people tend to say: ´Look at this poverty, it is so bad´ My answer always is, that on a world scale only 25 percent of the people are living a so called Western life. The other 75 percent is struggling in poverty. The difference is that you notice the contrast in Africa within 20 meters, you can see people dying in the street and others enjoying a croissant with an espresso while they check their
June 25, 2005

Celebrations of 30 year independence in Mozambique

Big parties all over Maputo. Fashion, music, dancing the whole weekend. Just attended the speech of the president on the square in front of city hall. Did some sound recordings, will try to put them online. Finishing stories for my customers now. Preparing a trip to Swaziland for reports. I bumped into a scientist who did research, tested a whole townhip om HIV-Aids. I couldn’t believe my ears: 80 (yes, eighty) percent of the people was infected. Imagine this in your own town, village, block of houses, classroom… and imagine how this effects the way people interact with each other….
June 23, 2005

Other things…

‘You know, Arjen, my friend’, says Costa, international known local painter over a Laurentina (a local beer). The full moon being reflected in the ocean. Hardly any clouds. Dance beats being pumped in our ears. ‘You can make different stories here. What I can say: Trust is an important thing.The people who come here to do business and the locals should trust each other.’ I am nodding. We talk while we watch back packers dancing in a beach bar on Western music. The staff are the only locals wondering around. Diving seems to be the talk of the evening. Hours before people told me that they were admiring me. Why? Because I travel with the ‘horrible’ local Oliveira Bus. It was hard not to laugh. Compared to European airconditioned busses, with airspings, video, personal sound system and hostess serving free
June 22, 2005

Terra de Boa Gente

Doing research on tourism. The price of wood to construct a house doubled in two year since a lot of building activity is going on. Same happened with the price of rice, staple food here. Explored a stretch of beach yesterday. Felt like Vasco da Gama, who called this land Terra de Boa Gente, The land of the Friendly People. Walking on unspoiled land, palmtrees, bleu see, nobody. Suddenly between the palmtrees: a grass hut, a few pairs of eyes looking at me, people smiling, waving. Within years the whole strip of land will have lodges, people running around half naked and the smell of sun lotion and braaing tourists will take over the smell of the ocean, giving the growth of Mozambique’s GDP a boost. ‘We are happy the tourists are coming’, Domingos (‘Born on Sunday’) a 19-year old
June 21, 2005

Tourism dillema's

Still in the main tourist area. The coast is unspoiled, sand dunes, long beaches as far as the eye reaches. Somebody told me that during civil war all the plots I could see were bought by South Africans for almost nothing. Since four years, they have started developing the place. Prices of the land are going up, local people can’t buy their own land, and the unspoiled coast will change into a place with lodges, hotels and Scuba diving schools. The unpaved roads will be crowded with four wheel drives with mulungu’s (‘white men’) Even now tourists are already driving the unspoiled beaches with Quad Bikes. The average income here is most propabely less than 40 euro’s in a month. There is nothing wrong with doing business, it’s always interesting to see what is does to the local people. Should
June 17, 2005

Mozambique celebrates 30 years of Independence on 25 june

Doing stories about tourism in Mozambique. According to some people tourism has been growing 100 percent per year over the last four to five years. Most of the investment in Mozambique is from South African origin acoording to someone I spoke to, let’s say 90 percent of the investment in the Inhambane regio (where I am now). Thirty years ago, on 25 june, Mozambique got its independence, but sometimes you could think that a new dependence is taking over: the dependence on South African investors.
June 16, 2005

Enjoying the digital gap

I am not allowed to complain. I have the money to browse the web, although it takes hours to send some emails if you are outside the capital Maputo. Most Mozambiquans cannot even afford to go on the internet. One hour browsing is more than a daily income here.
June 13, 2005

Asia and Africa

Still in Maoputo. Had an interesting conversation with somebody who has been working in developmenet aid for years. She noticed the difference between Asia (Vietnam) and Africa. She said: ‘If we made a proposal in Asia, Vietnamese people were asking questions: why did we choose this solution and not this. In Africa, in my case, everything the (often white) consultant adviced, was accepted without questions.’ Does Africa really ask enough questions (why did this happen, how can we make things better, how can we avoid this… etc. ) At least something to think about…
June 12, 2005

Wedding in Maputo

This morning, I spent some time exploring this beautifull city. I would describe Maputo’s atmosphere as a mixture of Mediterean and European. Fading colours are being restored. You feel that people want to restore her old glory. I have never been to Cuba, but some people call it Cuban. For me she is a city I had to get used to. It is my fourth time now to be here and this time I start to see how laid back and exotic she really is with long Avendida’s bordered with green Jacaranda trees. Love takes time 😉 Yesterday I spent some time wandering around the streets, of course after some good espresso’s in the early morning. Not hard to find by the way: each 50 meters you can find a bar with a small terrace with most propabely the best
June 11, 2005

Big hand for the Ministry of Information

Ok, something positive. In some African countries it takes a 2-daytour through all the ministries to arrange a accreditation, in Mozambique it is quite easy: only one Ministry (of Information) and a very friendly guy who issued my accreditation within less than half an hour. For free. Life can be easy and comfortable and the word service has a meaning. When I told the civil servant I was thankfull, he said (just as if it was the most normal thing in the world) ‘Ok sir, I am doing nothing more than my job.’ For the rest Maputo is quite ok. They have good coffee. They serve it in the Espresso Bars that you can find everywhere. The people are very warm and friendly, service minded (at least that is the inpression that I have, I don’t speak Portuguese and most