Just like blighty

It’s 8 degrees, I’m wearing a woolly hat in the office and there are queues backed up at the petrol station…it’s just like being back in Blighty!

The only thing keeping my feet firmly on the Mozambican ground is the fact I drove to work today with 10 live chickens in the back of Red Wing.

It’s baltic here – I’m sleeping under 3 blankets – even the Mozambicans are shocked how chilly it is. I went to the market today and bought a woolly hat.

The 2nd hand clothes markets here amuse me. Most of the clothes come from Europe and arrive in huge bales wrapped in reams of plastic. The markets are an absolute treasure trove of  old school tour band t-shirts as well as clothes labels I’ve not seen since the days of C & A.  

I would love to micro-chip some of them to watch their journey from Asian factories to British high streets maybe via a charity shop or two before coming to Mozambique to be bought by a visiting Brit like myself, worn in Africa before being packed in my suitcase and brought back home to Britain…then after a while no doubt re-donated to charity to be packed up and shipped back to southern Africa!

We´ve got a serious fuel shortage going on here at the moment and it´s fast turning into a national crisis – there are some complex politics going on no doubt as the ports are having inexplicable problems importing fuel so our onsite fuel tank has been empty for weeks and now the petrol stations have started to dry up.

It wasn’t quite UK-fashion ‘panic buying’ – Mozambicans don’t really ‘do’ panic – but the queues were starting to build up today and we ended up driving a 2 hr round trip to fill up some oil drums just in case things got really bad. No fuel means no operations for us, if our vehicles can’t move we can’t work…

So I hear Britain is having a heatwave? Typical! Send some of the sunshine my way if you don’t mind!

p.s I´ve inherited a dog! Abandoned by a Mozambican colleague and left to become a street dog even with my icey-cold heart I couldn´t just ignore him. I´ve wanted to get a dog for a while and ok so this wee thing is not exactly the big rough and tough guard dog I had in mind and the first day I took him in red wing he got car sick (!) but he needs a home, I need a dog…!



Never discuss religion or politics

A good and a not so good story of the politics out here…

Yesterday while visiting a minefield we were settling down to a tasty lunch of dried fish and xhima (looks like steaming buttery mashed potato…the emphasis is on ‘looks like’ here!…tastes like wallpaper paste) when we heard a commotion of sirens, whistles and blaring music. A political party approaching I was solemnly informed. The local elections are approaching and the parties are out in force drumming up support.

It sounded like quite a party was approaching so we eagerly awaited their grand arrival…the sirens got more frenetic, the music louder and louder…

they were close, just round the corner in fact…

here they come…

The music stopped and we heard an unexpected ‘squeak, squeak, squeak’ as a rusty little bike wobbled round the bend with a young boy and a loudhailer atop! It was absolutely hilarious and SO Mozambican! Everyone just kind of shrugged, nodded a brief greeting to the boy before turning back and carrying on their lunch.

The not so good story is the state of the fuel situation here…it started off as a little bit of a joke ‘oh no we have a fuel shortage’ however it may be more serious than we first realised. There are now only 2 cities in the whole country with diesel. It would appear the ‘problems’ are political…the provinces with no fuel just happen to be the opposition party strongholds.

It’s a ridiculous situation – a Government party withholding resources for the people they are apparently meant to be representing and helping just to force more people to vote for them. It’s madness politics and is actually just incensing people.

As for us…no fuel = no demining…