Tragedy of Mozambique

Perhaps you have heard about the recent growing concern about unrest in central Mozambique.  Last week, we heard in the national media that after 21 years of peace, Renamo and Frelimo (the opposition and ruling party respectively) are again at loggerheads and are beginning to involve civilians, tourists and vehicles in transit in their political clashes.  Does this mean that there is going to be a recurrence of civil war? Hopefully not.  Over the past few days it has been reported that two transport vehicles using the corridor road in the north of the country have been held up at gun point with Frelimo soldiers battling to hold onto their life, and worryingly an overland truck heading through the country into Zimbabwe has also been caught up in terrorist activities.  Numerous British owned companies have repatriated their ex-pat workers, and the US has warned its citizens against travel.

Cause for concern?

We ourselves have suspended our operations in Inharrime province, as we are also concerned for the safety of tourists and our own staff. Although the unrest appears to be isolated to the North of the country, with occasional demonstrations in Maputo, the capital, we would rather be safe than sorry.  We’re holding thumbs that this political unrest is a temporary matter, and will be resolved swiftly, perhaps with international mediation.  This should mean that Mozambique will yet again become the peaceful country of palm trees and sunshine that we all know it to be.

What about Ponta D’Ouro?

As Ponta D’Ouro is situated in the South of the country – really, only a 10 minute drive into Mozambique from South Africa, we have no concern about our volunteers here.  All projects are continuing as usual, as there has been no reports at all of any problems in this part of the country.  Don’t forget, that Ponta D’Ouro is highly reliant on South African tourism for income and revenue, and is also isolated from Maputo by the harbour.  This means that it is highly unlikely that any political unrest will be felt in this small village.  This has always been the case in the past.  We will, however, reassess the situation in the new year, but until then it is all systems go in Ponta!

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Beach weekends.

Waking up this morning, I looked out the window and saw sunshine. Real summer sunshine. For the first time since winter.

We have had highly unseasonal weather over the past few weeks. Being over half way through September, you would expect, given the tropical climate of our area that we would be nearly into our summer sunshine, 40 degree heat and wake up every morning to beautiful clear skies. Not the case. We have had torrential rain, unseasonal floods, high winds and rivers with burst banks. Although this morning, the wind was still there, the sun was out, and it has been warm enough all day to resort to usual summer attire of bikini and t shirt.

We’re now off to the beach. Because of the wind, there will be no waves, but there will be warm water, sunshine and clear skies.

What a way to spend a weekend.

Career Breaks

Who thinks of taking a career break?

Bean and I have been thinking recently about the kind of people who work in “City” jobs. I did my first degree at the University of Durham in the UK, whilst I was there, large, corporate companies appeared to use it as a recruitment ground: I lose count of the amount of invitations to “Champagne and Canapes with PriceWaterHouseCoopers” or “Dinner and Dancing at Deloitte’s Pleasure” invitations I received in my college pigeon hole. It sounds slightly archaic, but that’s how it was.

Now, it appears that an organisation called Escape the City founded by two of my contemporaries from Durham is assisting my old class-mates who were lured in by the promises of smoked salmon blinis and a glass of free bubbly (understandable on a student budget.. especially after the prices charged by the Doxbridge 3) to “escape” from this corporate rat race, and heart-attack-at-35 inducing lifestyles that people seem to fall into, apparently, erroneously.

Getting back to the point. At risk of sounding rather smug *grins* I was never seduced by the promises of gold plated office chairs. I was, however, entirely lured into the travelling trap, resultant lack of cash, and fell into my current lifestyle (which, actually, I believe is infinitely preferably to an office job in London, cash aside). As I have mentioned in previous blog posts, we are planning on expanding the opportunities MozVolunteers offer. In addition to the usual student/young person gap year-focused project participation, we are opening up to the idea of family volunteering holidays, ethical house parties (coming up… watch this space!) and of course the afore mentioned *career break*.

We are in need of skilled professionals, to come and help us with more than the basics. The career break “package” would of course include the contact with communities, management of specific aspects of our organisation, such as website management, teaching opportunities for specialists, health promotion opportunities for health specialists, management, all within the beautiful setting of our organisation, St Lucia Estuary (hippos and all) Monzi (living in an over-enthused farmhouse for the duration of your stay is a price you may have to pay..!) and the Indian Ocean. This is an opportunity for these highly professional individuals who wish to experience life out of the office to come and explore their passions, learn, teach, live, be outdoors, farm, eat fresh fruit straight off the tree (sometimes even lands straight on your bed if you’re lucky), camp out under the stars, eat by a fire, braai, love fresh, local food, search and explore and relax. All whilst sharing these skills with us. We need them.

We can’t promise blinis (braai and poitje?), French champagne (JC Le Roux do? South Africa does have some phenominal reds though…visit ) smoked salmon (aha. Smoked snoek. Much better AND fresh from the boat), gold plated office chair (umm antique wooden leather affair) or limo transport (a ride on the back of a battered toyota bakkie will have to suffice). What we can promise is good food, great friendships, beautiful places, warm, clear water of the Indian Ocean and wonderful wine, helping, learning, teaching and experiencing.

Come on, have I persuaded you yet? Take a career break and join MozVolunteers email alex@movzolunteers.com and really come and experience what you’re missing.