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Turmoils in Mozambique

March 2016

Track to Morrungulo Beach

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Coming from Malawi we entered Mozambique from the north-west. At the beginning we did not understand why there were so many Vodacom shops (Telecommunication Company). We quickly realised after encountering dozens of houses painted dark red with the Vodacom logo in every single village we passed that it was only advertising. Sometimes complete streets are lined with red houses and every house bears the Vodacom label. The actual name of the restaurant, butcher bakery, etc. is written significantly smaller next to it.

One gets the feeling that the whole country exists only of Vodacom.
Further south we found some houses painted in nearly the same red with Coca Cola advertisement.
Take a hard guess, which SIM-cards we bought for both our iPads….of course Vodacom!

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Lucky once more…

From our web research we were aware about reoccurring riots in Northern Mozambique.
„Travel advise 02.2016: In the recent past rioting once more occurred in central and northern parts of the country where the opposition party RENAMO has its support. All travelers are requested to stay alert.“

On the 14.02.2016 we travelled the route from Mwanze-Tete-Chimoio-Inchope-Muxungue to Save.
We saw some armoured personnel carriers on parking spots and along the road. In the middle of the jungle on a straight road we passed two stationary police cars. The passengers were standing next to the vehicles and were chatting with each other. It seemed strange to us that 200 metres before and after these vehicles armoured guard posts were positioned.  The police let us pass without further ado, which calmed us as we assumed that they would have surely stopped us should danger lurk ahead.
The tarred road followed a more or less straight route through the Jungle. We were following a truck for some time already. From his high position the truck driver had a better view of the potholes in the road and we could follow his tracks and avoid large holes.  Suddenly the truck accelerated to 110 km/h and kept this high speed – given the poor road condition – for 60 km until reaching the next military post. We just followed.
It is hard to explain afterward, but somehow we sensed that the truck driver did not speed up like that without a reason.
After passing the large military-secured bridge the truck driver continued at a decent speed of 80 – 90 km/h to the next parking area. There he indicated to us to take over. With thumbs up, a friendly wave and hooting we said our farewell.

When we read the following report on the Namibia Forum some days later we realized that we intuitively did the right thing by following the truck at high speed on our way to Save. 16.02.2016: News from Mozambique: …after several robberies of civil vehicles along the EN1 at Muxungue at the end of last week the embassy advises not to travel between Save and Caia.
Isolated armed conflicts occurred between the armed forces of the opposition party RENAMO and the country’s security forces in the province of Manica, Sofala, Tete and Zambesia. People travelling in these provinces are advised to stay informed by listening to the news, especially to the local media……

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Beggar being a little gourmet

We are standing at the beach at Praia do Bilene. At three in the afternoon a beggar passes us claiming that he is hungry. Brigitte passes him the left overs of our Barilla pasta from our dinner last night. He thanks us and shuffles on.

Short time later he is back to ask for some oil for the pasta!