The Inhamabne Cemetery, a chapa mutiny, and working with Mozambican time... Week 8 part ONE.


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Africa » Mozambique » Southern » Inhambane
July 9th 2015
Published: July 9th 2015
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Bistro PescadorBistro PescadorBistro Pescador

View of the cafe from the pier as I get off the ferry.
So, let’s start from the beginning – Sunday. I had to get out of CoH. I was kind of going crazy… ok, more than kind of. I got up, packed what I could that I wasn’t going to use that night, and faffed about on the internet for a bit before heading out for the wait-then-chapa-then-wait-then-boat routine to Inhambane. The weather was decent and I brought a book so I wasn’t moved by any of this. Actually, the first of two transport-related chuckles I had today was on the boat going to Inhmambane. The boat was basically full, it might have held an extra 6 people from the point when I got on (There was no big boat running, so I had to take the small one), so I sat in the middle of the bench in the middle of the boat. People filtered on to fill up most of the remaining seats. Then two guys went to get on and of course, the cobrador is shouting that there is room at the back… so they go back, but one comes back to the front and is about to sit in a free spot when the cobrador comes over and starts
Inhamabane AlleyInhamabane AlleyInhamabane Alley

An alleyway blocked off by a gate, but nice nonetheless.
arguing and then guy argues back and says he’s been to the back with his brother and there was no room, otherwise he would have sat back there. Then the cobrador says he’s going to call the police and the guy says “go ahead, call the police!” and then they shout some more and the people are clearly for the guy cause they start shouting at the cobrador as well, but of course – the boat isn’t going anywhere unless he says so, so the guy has to get up and go back to the back anyway and sit god-knows-where, on someone’s lap probably. I just rolled my eyes and read my book. It was a whatever kind of day.

We get over and I start walking down the road that lines the bay instead of heading straight for the bistro. I walked past lots of NGO offices and a hospital, past a school, and some other things… I walked until I found the cemetery that I had passed a few times in a car with others but never had the time (or the forethought) to go. It had large, white walls and a simple enough gate into a cemetery divided in half with a cedar-lined road through the middle leading to a giant white cross at the other end. I walked in and looked around and there were a few people here and there at gravesites. You could immediately notice that though it was not the fanciest of places, people had clearly been there on a regular basis to clean the graves and leave flowers and other things. The people that were there were not at new gravesites, these had been there a while… It was just nice to see that as compared to some other places, this was an active site – people weren’t just put here and forgotten. I hate that idea most about cemeteries, that they are a place to put something you don’t otherwise know what to do with, and then those things are forgotten. (Things being your dead relative) This place felt like a cross between Holt cemetery in New Orleans (a pauper’s cemetery that is mostly made of hand-made headstones with multiple people buried in one location) and any of a number of colonial cemeteries where there is not a mausoleum, but a kind of raised bed and marker (not just a headstone) a foot or two off the ground. Mostly though, it resembled Holt. I walked around, took some pictures, thought some thoughts, and made the perimeter as quietly as I could. On my way out I realized that the provincial prison is right next-door with its huge, barbed-wire-topped wall and the din of lots of men talking inside.

I walked on, until there wasn’t much of the city left and it turned into roadside stalls and such, then turned around and walked back along the other side. By that time the sun was out in full force and it was uncomfortably hot. I forgot a hat or umbrella, so I walked a little faster to get to the bistro sooner rather than later. The waitresses know me by now, so I just sat down and ordered a coffee, water, and chicken curry. While I waited I wrote in my journal and thought about why I was feeling the way I was. No epiphanies, other than whatever I had sussed out thus far, so mindless internet-ing filled the rest of the time since there was free wifi and I could use my phone. Food came – a huge
Inhambane CemeteryInhambane CemeteryInhambane Cemetery

Looking down the cedar-lined central road. The prison is to the right.
portion of rice and some sauce with two bits of chicken. Whyyyy do people keep the wings of the chicken, and better yet, why do I always get them in my portion of the food? -_- meh. Food achieved, I still wasn’t ready to go so I ordered another coffee and cheesecake, preparing for the worst. The coffee was actually coffee and the cheesecake – was actually cheesecake! It was a teeny bit frozen in the middle still, but I didn’t care at all. It was lime, I thought of my aunt Cheryl and her affinity for lemon/lime stuff. (Usually it’s not my cup of tea, but the alternative was passion fruit and I wasn’t up for that)

All that accomplished, the boat back was uneventful other than I was forced to get on the small boat because the guy wouldn’t sell me a ticket for the large one after a brief conversation which I didn’t care to have. ATM for a brief moment of terror when my card didn’t work (I was trying to withdraw too much at one time, that’s all) and then on to the grocery store. Last minute camping supplies secured, off to the
Inhambane Cemetery 2Inhambane Cemetery 2Inhambane Cemetery 2

A few of the monuments.
chapa again… only when I get there I’m directed to one chapa to Chicuque (that has like 5 people already in it) and then another cobrador runs up and says his chapa is for Chicuque. At this point I lose my today-is-a-fantastic-no-worries-love-everyone-don’t-get-upset attitude and put my bag down, roll my eyes, and look at both of them and say “ok- which one is it? This one or that one? Which is the next to go to Chicuque, because I want that one…” and stand there looking at them til it is settled that the other will go first, only the people are still in the first one and if that fills up first they will go first – so I turned to all the people in the chapa and said “the other one is going first to Chicuque” and they all got out and went to the other one with me. OMG, I JUST SUCCESSFULLY STARTED A CHAPA MUTINY! Then when I got to the other chapa, he put me in the front seat. Ha. Small victories, small victories. 😉

I spent the rest of the night making food and revamping the playing card template so I could
Collapsed MausoleumCollapsed MausoleumCollapsed Mausoleum

You can see the coffins, including a child's, in the rubble.
print off one or two sets in the morning since Elfie and Rose were coming to the office anyway. Bed time wasn’t much later than maybe 10 as a result of prep for the morning since I planned on being up early to finish packing.

Monday came and I got up before 7 to pack my blankets, mosquito net, toiletries, and random other things that were out since I was using them the night before. That was all done by 7:30 so I cooked eggs and made sandwiches for myself and the students who were going since no one talks to me re:what the hell we are actually doing when we go places and I didn’t know if they had been budgeted for or not. At 08:00 I was ready, but went to the office to print off some of the cards. That done, I moved everything out onto the porch and waited… I went back into the office with Rose and pastora Olinda (the new pastora who replaced pastora Marcia since she moved to Beira) and sat there thinking this might hurry things. Nope. There was a problem with the money since Rose didn’t feel like coming in on Friday (since Elfie didn’t feel like coming in on Wed or Thurs and effectively got two days off) so the checks weren’t taken care of last week like Rose said it was going to be. This meant the beginning of a 7 step process, beginning with Manuel needing to finish mopping the floor so he could take a list of sums from Rose to the accountant at the Hospital who then wrote the checks and gave them back to Manuel to walk back to CoH for Rose to verify. Rose can’t sign the checks though, so we have to wait for Arlindo to look at them and sign them, but he isn’t here because he randomly went somewhere as well and we have to wait until he gets back. When he gets back he sees me on the porch and asks how things are going, which I mumbled something about Mozambican time and efficiency and he blamed things on “those girls…” -_- Review of the sums, but there are problems because the sums don’t equate to what the purpose of the check is for and some of the checks aren’t signed… Rose then clarifies that she isn’t going with us, and then tells pastor Olinda like 7 things she has to remember to do for financial matters (this is her first trip and Arlindo and Rose both aren’t going). -_- It’s now after 10:20 and I’ve sent three apology texts to the students because they have been waiting since 9:00. But wait! More conversation… then we finally leave… to go to the bank and cash the checks and then get petrol and pick up Elfie – only when we get to the bank and pick up the students, circle to Elfie’s to get here and go back to the bank, the pastor says the lines are too long and it would take too long, so back to Elfie’s to get cash to cover the trip for the day, then to get petrol, then FINALLY off to MF. Still no snacks though and pastor Olinda has asked what we are doing for food like 5 times (understandably), so when we get the Morrumbene and stop to pay the petrol bill for the medical team at the gas station Elfie goes to get snacks… 25 minutes later we can finally leave with 6 bottles of water and juice, 6 packets
Inhamabane Cemetery DetailInhamabane Cemetery DetailInhamabane Cemetery Detail

An iron gate and other plots.
of cookies, and 6 snack cupcake things. Why it takes this long to do things and/or why they can’t be pre-planned and executed, I don’t know. Even pastor Olinda says net time things need to be done ahead of time.

The dirt road from Maliah to Mukambe feha was better this time, at least. They went and “repaved” it with more dirt and smoothed it out. Of course this incited Ricardo to drive even faster down the road and my head hit the roof more than once as he bounded through a pothole/huge dip in the road. We arrived an hour and 20 minutes late. Out. Greetings. Down to work. Failures and difficulties – which they are never short of. Most of it was infrastructural – lack of medications or distance/money to get to the hospital. Some of it was communication – lack of understanding what test results meant what. For example, a man with a sore on his leg was thought to maybe had diabetes and had his blood tested with handheld devices. He had the result slips, but the labels looked like this: WBC, HCT, HgB, MCV… he had no idea what that means – not
Inhambane Cemetery MaintenanceInhambane Cemetery MaintenanceInhambane Cemetery Maintenance

The dead plants and such from the grounds are burnt here. (Not a cremation site)
that they said anything about his blood sugar anyway. He had another piece of paper with some other abbreviation on it for blood glucose and a number in mmol/L, none of which make sense to him and no one had answered his question as to if he has this disease or not and what to do. I took his results and walked with him to the nurses at the consultation desk and sat with him to clarify everything. Less than 2 minutes. Done.

Then we moved into my part of the meeting and I presented the books we had been working on, followed by the students sitting with the men and women in separate groups to figure out the graphics of the stories (same thing we have been doing with Nhamaxaxa). I was really pleased to hear both students say how much they liked working with the community and how they would do it again.

Pastor Olinda and Elfie then went to give out the monthly stipend, but they had nothing but 1000 meticais notes again, to which I told Elfie she really needed to make an effort to have smaller notes, because no one out
Inhambane pierInhambane pierInhambane pier

The pier from the road on the Inhambane side.
here has change for that kind of money. Planning, forethought, so simple… Their plan is to give every two people 1000 meticais and they have to find some way to break the note and each get 500 meticais each.

Ok, last order of business – where and when will we meet tomorrow. I say we should meet here since this is where they have decided is a central location. They ask where will I be – I point to the obstetrics hut and say I brought all my stuff. They tell me nooo – they prepared a place for me to stay with a bath and food and a bed and such. My first reaction was “Oh no! I don’t want to be a burden on anyone!” and then my second thought immediately after that was “Oh no! I don’t want to offend anyone!” So in a split second I said ok, thanked everyone profusely, and then we got back in the car with one of the female activists and went to a house down the road.



Remember that campaign, IT GETS BETTER? …. On to part two.


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Mukambe feha StartMukambe feha Start
Mukambe feha Start

So it begins! my camping supplies... my bag has all my office supplies in it too, along with food and a mosquito net and other such goodies.
RoadtripRoadtrip
Roadtrip

We are finally under way to Morrumbene. This is Alberto and the back of Elfie's head.
Roadtrip 2Roadtrip 2
Roadtrip 2

Me trying to get a good picture of Valdomiro (Bila) on a bumpy road.
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Workgroup 1

The men sit with Valdomiro to work on one of the stories.
Workgroup 2Workgroup 2
Workgroup 2

This group is sitting with Alberto and doing much the same thing as the men's group, but with a different story.
Figuring things outFiguring things out
Figuring things out

Trying to piece the story together without giving it all away.


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