Saturday, August 28, 2010

Jenny is always texting on her phone to friends, colleagues and for work. Guess who else is texting.
Navigating Maputo
This week we had the 2 SALT and 1 YAMEN participant from Brazil arrive here in Maputo. Jenny did the orientation for them this week. We had fun taking them to the market, to the beach and around town on the weekend. In the market we passed by people selling everything from shoes, toenail clippers, hair extensions to baby toys. It was backed with people shouting out their wares, people sorting through clothes and people dodging one another. It was one of those times, however, that I realized that I have aculturated because I am totally comfortable there and I have no fear anymore. It is as if I were in a mall on a Saturday afternoon and totally relaxed. I wonder how the new people who were with me felt, however, being there first days here. We sent two of them on there way and Jenny organized a language teacher, conversation partner and host family for the SALT participant who is staying in Maputo to work with me in the CCM Programs Department.

Katie, the SALT participant in Maputo successfully navigated the chapas with one of her host sisters. She is staying outside of Maputo in a town called Matola which can take 1 1/2 hours in rush hour to get into the city. Since the host sister was not available to take her home we had to figure out a way to get her home. After various questions to colleagues and acquaintances we were successfully managed to find out where we needed to go to catch the bus but no-one was willing to help and no-one could tell us what the schedule of the buses was. This is not surprising. I was surprised there was a schedule at all. So in any case we decided it would be best to go down and wait at the bus stop.

Now Maputo is a lot larger then Beira and Chimoio which we are used to. A LOT LARGER!!! There are so many buses going all over the place and the bus stop downtown was packed with people going to the miriad of places where they live in the city. Beira had only a handful of chapa routes and Chimoio, only 2. Fortunately, after 4 years in Mozambique I am used to large crowds of people where I stand out and chaos and I no longer fear it. People called me 'White' and tried to sell us stuff as we passed and I smiled because I felt at home. We asked around and I finally was able to locate where the spot was. We watched as people crammed themselves into the back of the buses.

"How are we going to get you in?" I asked Katie.

"Oh, that was the way it was this morning, you just have to push and shove," she said.

After a while a nice woman asked us if we it was our first time here. She seemed trustworthy so I said yes, we are getting a bus for Katie. She directed us toward the train station about a half mile away. By this time it was getting dark so Katie and I walked to our car and drove there as fast as we could and drove down just in time to catch the bus which was about to leave. We were lucky, I would have ended up taking her out to her place in which I would have missed supper and probably arrived late in the evening. I was glad to leave because as the dark approached I knew that the place where I was would get more dangerous for a person like me if I hung around.