on travel, thoughts, and the art of short fiction

Soaking in Inhambane

In Mozambique on May 22, 2008 at 2:53 am

Last night’s Manchester victory, I felt like I was there.
My three roomates and I, along with Akisha, Lynne and Wendy went to a local bar, a brand new one that just popped up along the main road before the central market. The bar was really cute. It was owned by a local woman, a fashion designer who is apparently showing her collection at Fashion Week South Africa – but that’s not the point. Back to Manchester, the football game was on and the atmosphere was wild. Our eyes were glued to the large screen television.

The energy was so infectuous.

We were the only women in the establishment. We were the only non-Mozambicans in the establishment. We were up-front and center, elbow to elbow with the men from town, holding our breaths in anticipation.

It was a good game. I didn’t watch all of it because I’m a little ADD, especially when it comes to sports, but I had fun.

My roomates and I walked home. People are weary of picking up four hitchikers at once. During our hour long walk down that old familiar moonlit path we would hear screams and hollers as men all over Inhambane cheered or cursed. These screams seemed to come from the bush and from the dark savannah-like expanses around us. We couldn’t even see all of the places the voices hailed from, but they would cry out in unison every fifteen minutes or so. Every once in a while the voices would be accented by glass breaking and frantic shouting.
I love this place.

Today, Tamika and I strolled around town. We visited the local history museum. I have always passed by and have always been curious I just never found the right time. I’m glad I did, it turns out that Inhambane has the sweetest little history museum, simply titled: museu.

Inside, the history of Inhambane was chronicled through drawings, photographs and artifacts. It really was fascinating. I feel very connected to this place.

A whole section of the museum was dedicated to the practices of the local traditional healers. I really want to visit a traditional healer before I leave. I have no particular ailments. I’ve actually been in perfect health. I just want to talk to a traditional healer and learn about the traditions and methodology. A self-directed anthropolgical quest if you will. Why not?

I purchased a batik print at the market today. It was purple and brown and depicted elephants crossing the savannah. I bargained that sucker down to an astonishing 12 Mtc. It took a good twenty minutes and several exaggerated pivots to indicate that I would be moving on to a different vendor. I’ve become a haggler. I know too much now. I’ve learned the local prices and I won’t settle for anything else.

We visited APOPO today, a non-profit next door to ADPP that specializes in training rats to detect land mines. My friend Tamika put it best when she said “they are training rats to save people from people”. These rats are truly performing an invaluable service. They are also being trained to detect TB as well and to go on search and rescue missions. NO MORE RAT POISON! We need these creatures.


The rats were Giant Tanzanian Bush Rats and they averaged 20 pounds. New Yorkers, put this into perspective!
I thought they were cute though. I got to pet one. I’ve always been a rat tolerator. I’d actually like to have a rat for a pet, one day, like in the young adult novel “Star Girl” that I used to read with my students.
Movie night at my place anyone?

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