01 August 2007

E Mulungo

After a long process of setting up meetings and having them canceled, making arrangements for going to the field, buying equipment and supplies, etc. I finally started my interviews and mapping.

Sergio Julane (geography) and Angelo Francisco (ecology/botany) (L to R in photo), 2 undergrads at Universidade Eduardo Mondlane, came out to Madladlane with me for a week of meeting with traditional leaders, community mapping, and interviews. Madladlane, is a small farming community, located along the banks of the Rio Futi, adjacent to the Reserva Especial de Maputo. We stayed at REM and walked across a footbridge everyday to meet and talk with community residents.

Community residents were surprised to see a branca (white woman) walking from home to home, field to field, and certainly from the reserve to the community. E mulungo is what the very smallest children shouted when they saw me, adults were far more circumspect. A mulungo is a foreigner, particularly a white person. I usually shouted it back, in a silly voice, causing all sorts of giggling from both children and adults. After all, I am now the official village idiot.

These little girls were giggling just a moment before the picture was taken. Their mom got 2 of the 3 sisters to change into their best dresses for the picture.

These are just a few of the images from my past week in the field.


Elephant feet or patas. They come from 2 older elephants that were harassing the community and had to be killed. The guards at the reserve had tried herding the animals back behind the fence several times, but the elephants kept escaping to eat crops and attack residents.

One of 2 main roads in Madladlane. The other is a hard dirt road that will probably be paved in the next few years.

Local primary school

A pretty barboleta (butterfly) that decided to hitchhike a ride on my arm. The IUCN is working with the local community to get ecotourists to visit to check out the high diversity of birds, butterflies, and plants.

Terminalia sericea, also known as Conono locally, is used for construction and charcoal production. It is a typical wooded savanna tree species.

Abandoned store in Salamanga, a nearby town.

Mamana Amelia was one of several women farmers I interviewed this past week. She got a kick out of me pronouncing local names for plants and learning a little isiZulu from her during our interview - probably because the new words involved clicking and hlth sounds. I also probably made some funny faces trying to twist my tongue around the new words.

Sr. Olesene, me, Sr. Daniel Mathe, Sergio Julane. Sr. Olesene is a reserve guard and farmer, and acted as our translator this past week. Sr. Mathe is a traditional leader in Madladlane and provided a great summary of the history of the community.


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