At the moment I am in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique – a Portuguese-speaking country on the south-eastern coast of Africa. The weather here is quite a bit warmer than it was in Malawi and Zambia and I am quite enjoying the scene here. The city is coastal, and has quite a vibrant atmosphere. Mix in the Portuguese, and the humid weather, and it all feels quite reminiscent of Brazil. In just a week I’ve gotten a good feel that I could spend some time living here.
My reason for being here was to provide support to the Southern Africa Regional Workshop on Household Water Treatment and Safe Storage. The workshop was organized and hosted by the World Health Organization and UNICEF and designed to aid government staff from Malawi, Mozambique, and Zambia in developing and implementing strategies to support the scaling up of the practice of household water treatment in their countries.
It was quite productive, consisting of three days of presentations, discussions, and working sessions. At the end of it, the key output was the development of draft national action plans for each of the three countries.
When I haven’t been working, my time has been spent watching the EuroCup from local bars/restaurants, trying local food (piri-piri chicken is delicious and there are AMAZING pizzas at Mundo’s on Avenida Julius Nyerere). The Portugal-Czech Rep game was really exciting, as pretty much the entire city is cheering for Portugal – the former colonialist power and a country with whom they still have strong ties. Today, I made a field trip out to see some water projects with Dutch water expert Sir Henk Holtslag (the first knight I have ever met). More on that in another post. Then had a couple of drinks and some friend calamari at the Costa do Sol – Maputo’s main beach on the Atlantic Ocean. It is buffeted by various islands and is very shallow at low tide so its very pleasant and perfect for wading. We strolled along in the afternoon sun marvelling at how the little crabs methodically build their nests by removing sand a few grains at a time.
Aside from that, an interesting opportunity has come up in Malawi. More details on that when they are available. :) So, although I had planned to spend a bit more time enjoying the city and then heading out to the beautiful beaches on Mozambique’s 2000km-long white sand coast, I will now be flying from Maputo to Johannesburg (South Africa) tomorrow, and back to Lilongwe (Malawi) on Monday. I may stay there for as long as 3 or 4 weeks before heading on to Nairobi (Kenya). But right now my plans are changing every few days so who knows what will happen! :)