29 May 2008

More good people

I spoke to my father in-law on Sunday. I was the one who had to inform him that he would soon be my ex-father in-law (pretty shitty situation). He told me that he felt bad about the situation and would always consider me part of his family. That was a good thing to hear. Mike is a terrific person, a little gruff and rough around the edges, but I find that some of the best people are. Enough of that though. It's not what I wanted to blog about today.

Mike and I got talking about my blog and he mentioned that I should consider creating a website for the people of Madjadjane and Gala. To show where they are, what their life is like, that sort of thing. I think it's a great idea. It would also be a great opportunity to advertise the two ecotourism lodges that they run in those communities.

First graders receive perfect attendance certificates at Sor Juana Ines de la Cruz Primary School in Colonia San Antonio.

The reason this came up is that Mike mentioned he is webmaster for a group called Niños de la Calle. It is a charitable group that helps children living in Colonia San Antonio in Nuevo Progresso, Mexico. The website he created for the group also shows what life is like for children in this community.

Mike works at San Antonio Academy in San Antonio, Texas. Children at the school gather together school supplies, clothes, toys, money, etc. to send to their counterparts across the border. Niños de la Calle also accepts funds and supplies from outsiders to help support children in the colonia community. One of their big projects is sending children in this impoverished community to school. It costs $75 to send one child to school for a year - uniform and school fees. I know from my own experience in Mozambique that families in places like Madjadjane, Gala, and Colonia San Antonio will make huge sacrifices to send their children to school. And the children want to go - unlike many kids in the US where school is free.

28 May 2008

Adventures in divorce

My husband and I are divorcing after almost 10 years of marriage and 14 years together.

This my excuse for not posting in the last week. I hope that things get better.

15 May 2008

Photo Essay on Madjadjane and Gala

I opened my email this morning and saw that my photo essay about landscape and livelihood was published online late yesterday afternoon. This is a link to the pdf.

Some of the photos will look familiar to blog readers, but the essay provides an outline to how Mazingiri Ronga live in the Maputaland landscape.

14 May 2008

Mozambican Music

I'm in a bit of a mood today and thought I would post some music/video from Mozambique. Enjoy!

Wazimbo - Nwahulwana (Night Bird)

Wazimbo plays Marrabenta, and this is a classic example of that type of music. During colonial times the music was often played on homemade instruments, sung in Ronga or Changaan, and spoke of social issues or love. Needless to say, the Portuguese government didn't always appreciate the sentiments expressed. Nwahulwana, or night bird, is a metaphor for a woman who flits from bar to bar after dark.

Azagaia - A Marcha

Azagaia is the Portuguese spelling for assegai - a type of light spear tipped with iron and used by traditional warriors in southern Africa. Much of Azagaia's music deals with political issues, unlike a lot of the rap/hip hop heard on US radio stations (Or maybe it's just that I live in Georgia and they only play Dirty Souf on the airwaves). This song is about political corruption, revolution, and how it affects the lives of the people.

Azagaia - Povo no Poder (People in Power)

Azagaia was called before Maputo's prosecutors to explain the lyrics in "Povo no Poder," which was written in response to the violence of the 5 February riots (lyrics on the click through). People in Maputo struck to protest a 50% rise in public transport fares. Police fired into the crowd killing at least 3 and injuring 30. Amnesty International cited this incident in a report on Mozambique this April denouncing police abuse.

Massukos - Niassa

Massukos sings of the hardships of living in their home province of Niassa and in Mozambique. They also use their music to spread messages like "more condoms, less partners." The lead singer, Feliciano dos Santos won the 2008 Goldman Environmental Prize on behalf of his NGO which seeks to improve water quality, sanitation, and waste management and raise awareness of HIV in rural villages. I think it is really cool that one of this year's prizes went to a Mozambican musician.

I didn't set out to post such political music. It must be the anthropologist in me that seeks out social/cultural commentary in art. It just helps that it is good music.

13 May 2008

The Monster

I'm back stateside. Today is day 10. My friends and acquaintances keep asking about culture shock - or The Monster, as my friend Jessica calls it. I can't say that I've really felt The Monster's presence. I've had a couple of glimpses - homes don't have fences with razor wire on top, cops don't carry AK-47s, I can eat tofu - but nothing that has made me feel odd or uncomfortable.

I miss Mozambique and my friends back in Madjadjane, Gala, Maputo, and Limpopo NP. I miss my friends in South Africa too. I miss the warm temperatures, the friendliness of people, the smells, the noise, the non-plastic feel of life... I have trouble sleeping through the night. Maybe The Monster's name is Saudade. Por que tenho saudade para Moçambique.

In the coming months, I'll be working on my dissertation and finishing up graduate school. I still have plenty of photos and stories from Mozambique that I will post from time to time, however, for practical purposes this blog will become more of an anthropologist's adventures in her own culture and environment wherever that may be. I hope that you will continue reading.