Centre for Sustainable Development Initiatives

Working Towards Sustainable Livelihoods in Africa


Mozambican trials - Maputo

Posted by csdi on October 15, 2010 at 8:14 AM

I arrived in Mozambique on Sunday 10 October, with Kenya Airways flightKQ740 from Nairobi. The first thing that arrested my thoughts about Moz is howhot Maputo was. The hot wind was billowing from the sea, and matters were notmade any easy by the fact that we had to walk on the apron straight to theterminal building, in the wake of hot fumes emitted by a South African Airwaysjet about to take off for somewhere.

The moment Istepped forward to stand by the Immigration cubicle, I was sure things would betough. The stern-looking woman didn't seem as if she ever considered smiling asa human virtue. She looked at me as if I was the greatest villain on earth, andperemptorily pointed to the notice pinned on the cubicle: US$ 82 for a Mozvisa! Holy smoke, I never knew some countries could be so expensive, until mycolleague from Nairobi informed me it is even dearer in West Africa!

Negotiating withthe stout taxi driver was a lesson in human perseverance. “How much to town?”The gruff response” “meter.” It took a while to notice that he was referring tothe fact that his taxi is metered. It turned to be a badly maintained taxi withcreaking sounds as it rumbled on the potholed road out of the Aeroporto.

You onlyneed to see the avenues (avenida) of Maputoto see the vestiges of Portuguese influence. The avenues are wide andtree-lined. But there is sadly evidence to show that for much of its modern historyMoz has known unrelenting war.

I went tobook my weary self at the grandly named Hotel Avenida, and voila! My secondshock was the US$205 the hotel was charging a room for the night! Quick calculationsshowed that this was about 4 times the per diem offered by AGRA! Knowing noother cheaper alternative I reluctantly settled for this piece of bliss. Later I was to learn that Moz was the land of the best prawns and lobsters in this sideof the hemisphere.





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