Monday, February 02, 2009

Maputo, Mozambique

Cordelia's Journeys is back in business. Yup, I'm on the go again and I promise to try to write a bit more about what I'm seeing versus just posting photos.

So I'm here in Maputo, the capitol of Mozambique. For those of you who aren't as up on your African geography, Mozambique is on the east coast of Africa bordering on South Africa. Its a former Portuguese colony that gained independence in 1975. That was followed by a civil war that lasted till 1992, but at this point it is relatively stable, pretty poor but on the slow road to development. NGOs are hard at work helping it grow and Maputo is where most of those aid folks live. Its an beautiful breezy city on with water on either side.

For me that meant a ferry trip out to Catembe yesterday on the other side of the bay for a long walk on the beach and a great view of the city and a TERRIBLE sunburn! (Hey, that's the down side of warm breezes and bright sun. After the last weeks in NY, I was vitamin D deprived but now I'm all set!)

The reason I'm here is because I have a few meetings with potential partners for Princeton in Africa. I started the morning with Save the Children and ended at a beach side bar learning about Opportunity International, a microlending organization.

But one can spend only so long in meetings and then in between I've had time to explore the city. Today I walked around the city for 4 hours. It was GREAT. I love feeling my own way in a city and figuring out its energy. Maputo has great energy. There is a mix of modern and old. The Portuguese have a liberal live life style and they leave that mark on their colonies. I was expecting more conservatively dressed people and instead I see spaghetti straps. Also there is a tradition of music and we spent an evening at the French Cultural Center where they have a big amphitheater. By the time we actually got there most of the music was over, but the reason we went is because we could hear the music echoing in the street and we had to go in after listening from the sidewalk. Lastly a wonderful thing about Maputo is that there are tons of outdoor cafes. It just a lively social scene.

Gotta sign off for now, but there will be more to come with 4 counties in 5 weeks...

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