It has been a good three days now that I have been hobbling like Quasi Modo. I have completely given up on high heels and stairs, as well as decent clutch control.
All I can put the pulled left thigh muscle down to is the crazy asss dancing of Saturday night, atop some mountain in George. I can’t be sure if it was the IMPRESSIVE dancing with my semi-professional gay Afrikaans friend. The fall during attempting “Impi” dancing in HIGH heels (which does explain ONE bruise on my body). One German refusing to let me stop spinning, dipping, flinging, leaping et al. until a bad song came on. And that DJ was damn well better than half decent. Or the guy who I’d known years before from varsity days who had decided we had unfinished business and he would try to seal the deal with at least an hour of romantic spinning on the dance floor. (Deal remains unclosed. Thank you.).
Or perhaps it was the surfer & air-guitar dance moves I was pulling with some chick with whom I was getting far too close with at some stage. (And Phlippy thinks HE knows about name throwing! Trust me. Nothing like bi-curiosity to get your name known WELL around town. And George is one small town!).
As you are about to realise, I am still on Mozambican mode. This already has been far too much effort to construct decent sentences & thoughts. I have a patch of sunlight to find, become half naked and lie down in. All while muttering something in a harsh accent with many “gggggggg”’s, about beer or dhows.
So, in an attempt to transport myself back, here is some Mozam info for you lot, for the next time you are in a pub quiz:
*There are 19.8 million smiley happy chilled cashew-nut-eating Mozambicans running about this globe.
*46,5% of these people can read;
*16% of these people are HIV positive at present, or so official figures say;
*This means that it is ranked as having the 10th highest HIV prevalence globally, and latest data shows a dramatically worsening epidemic;
*The Mozam government does not appreciate the Americans marching in & offering any old organisation vast amounts of cash for setting up ABSTINENCE-ONLY projects, but apparently they did finally relent;
*Landmass of 801 590 km squared – which means nothing to me, I just know it is one LONG & HOT country;
*Mozam does not have the longest coast line in Africa. (Neither does SA. It is Somalia);
*Mozam is on the economic & developmental way up. Watch this space!
*However, 54,1% of these guys still live below the poverty line;
*BUT this compares with 69,4% ten years ago!!
*The currency is Metical, and recently they cut off many zeros. But not to fear. You can still exchange (if not use) your old metical till the end of 2007 anywhere in the country. After this, you can only exchange this old cash at the National Bank.
*You can get away with using Rands and Dollars in various places, but you’ll probably get your change back in Metical;
*English is not the best language to be speaking when you arrive. Rather learn Portuguese. Apparently you can use your vast Italian knowledge & they will understand you. French does not help – the pronunciation is so different! Or try Zulu as their language of Shona is also of Ndebele origin.
*The president is Armando Guebuza, who is head of the Frelimo Party;
*Renamo is their main opposition;
*Maputo is the capital, and is GREAT fun;
*They are currently fixing up its port as well as the road straight to Jo’burg. This means that Durbs will have good competition for being the main South East Coast harbour;
*There do remain many hurdles for Foreign Investment, including the high cost of doing business;
*This might have something to do with the country holding onto an outdated Portuguese legal & tax system;
*Tourism is leaping & bounding forward, and they are also hoping 2010 is going to have spill over benefits for them;
*What I did just read, and distressed me is that a SA property development company (ACC-Ross Holdings) is keen to develop the largest resort yet in Vilanculous: 550 beachside residences, time-share condos, a golf course & casino.
THEY’RE GONNA TAKE AWAY MY RUSTIC IDYLLIC HAVEN!!
- this is always a crux: Good for bringing in foreign money, but with this comes an increase in wants & needs of the generally poor population. Casinos are NEVER good in the long term, and there is now the threat of the possible destruction of a region that is not perfect but is functioning just fine even if on a poorer level
*There are other big projects: a $700m titanium mine in the north, a $2bn coal mine with a Brazil company, Sasol plans to double gas production from its Inhambane fields, possible oil productions with a US company, and a hydroelectric plant on the Zambezi River.
*HOWEVER these projects are not necessarily creating broader employment, and government says that Mozam reaps scant social benefits despite the billions invested.
(Much info taken from magazine, THE AFRICAN JOURNAL Edition No. 5, of January 2007).
Mozam is growing, but reflects a perfect example of economic growth having possible disastrous social and environmental consequences, while also reminding me of when my cousin said to me that “conservation is a luxury”.