Sunday, November 22, 2009

Friday October 23

We left South Africa for Mozambique! It was a short ride for which we stayed longer at the airport than we stayed on the flight…LOL…

Well, we arrived in Mozambique and I finally got that “ I’m home” feeling! For a split second, it all felt like I was actually home (Liberia), especially the part when we got off the plane on the runway. We went through customs and baggage claims and finally made our exit out of the airport and there……..was Dr. Reid with his camera! Didn’t I feel like a celebrity??? Along with him was Michael(his assistant) and Dawid, an ethiopian who lives in Angola and speaks 5 different languages including Portuguese.

Our first day in Mozambique was really nice. We drove from the airport straight to a seafood restaurant and oh just to mention, I have eaten seafood since I first arrived in Mozambique…from seafood pizza to curry shrimp, curry crab, seafood platter, lobster, calamari….every day. So we started off with Costa de Sol and had a huge platter of seafood of every kind. It was amazing and so was the view. From where we sat, you could see the beach lined with coconut trees. After lunch we were given a 10 minute break to enjoy the beach while we waited for the car to get us. We were taken to our hotel, Indy Congress Hotel….what a beautiful place. There were all these villas and a pool and tennis court and a SPA! We quickly went to our rooms and refreshed up to meet former Mozambican President Joachim Chissano!

He turned out to be a very pleasant man with a soft voice and a great personality. What I did not see was the level of charisma you would see with most presidents/ former presidents…just to name a few that I have met. Bill Clinton, Ellen Johnson Sirleaf and those we listen to: Barack Obama and others. However, as was expected he gave a lot of insightful answers to our questions and although I didn’t have the time to ask him a question due to time constraints and he had to leave for his birthday celebration( oh we sang him a happy birthday song when he first entered and you could see the surprise on his face), most of my colleagues asked him questions that we all were curious about. He talked about Frelimo( the Liberation Front of Mozambique) and gave us a detailed history lesson of Frelimo’s rebellion against the Portuguese for the independence of Mozambique which was gained in 1975; most of what we had learn about but coming from a major player, it was quite interesting. He was also asked questions about the low voter’s turnout, health, multi-party system, Mozambique’s democracy, the many languages of Mozambique and Frelimo’s elimination of traditional authority-which happened to be my area of interest. Overall, it was a good and short interview and it was good meeting Pres. Chissano although there were no pictures taken. We then went back to the hotel and went for dinner; the most interesting we had during our stay. We discussed the day and our thoughts about the interview and our expectations of the trip. Some of the questions that we asked ourselves and each other were: Before the inception of MDM(Mozambique Democratic Movement), would you say the state was really multi-party or just dual-party( Frelimo and Renamo). If Mozambique is really democratic, why would a democratic movement emerge? How democratic is a state that has only one party in power for over 30 years? These were few of the many questions we were to find answers to during our stay in Mozambique based on the purpose of this project: To study democracy in Mozambique.

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