Aparna in Mozambique

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

The Boss is Outta Town (Beira)

But that doesn't make me the boss. So, the person that I am working with, who is not necessarily my boss since I am not actually an employee(but who is certainly more senior than me) is gone. I've been trying to run the show to get our research on the markets of Beira and medicinal plants going and it has been going much much faster than I would have thought. On Monday we made all of the preliminary plans.

I am working on this project with 3 men who live in the bairro next to the college and with the man who is working for the project while finishing his master's. They all have a really good grasp of how to get the paperwork done and the actual details of who to talk to, what markets, and things that I would have been a little lost doing on my own. And I was pleasantly surprised to see how quickly things got rolling. Yesterday morning, we started off the day at 7AM meeting with the secretary of the bairro, who then told us to go and meet the Health Specialist for the city. We spent the morning, together, drafting the letters, finishing the proposal, etc. and were there by 2PM. WE met here and sadly, she told us we had to see the president of the Municipal Council first. Oh well, so we have to redraft the letter. We do it, get back on the road, and just as we are about to turn our letters in for processing, the dean of the college calls us back to ask that we please put his name at the bottom of the letter instead of the top. It was important. We had to go back and hopefully today we will have the letter in. And I hope that by the beginning of next week, we are staring at strange roots and plants in the Beira markets.

I've spent a lot of time riding the chapas in the past few days. I wish that I was politically creative, because I think that someone could write a book about how Mozambican politics could be reflected in the rules, regulations and transactions of chapa riding (something like How Soccer Explains the World although I haven't read this either). I pick up a lot more during my chapa rides in Beira because people mostly speak portuguese. This is because in the south, everyone in Maputo (almost) speaks Changaan. In Beira, people speak a mixture of Ndau, Sena, and others, so in the chapas, a lot of Portuguese. Which means, that I get to laugh at jokes, complain with the man sitting next to me about the chapa driver, and pick up little kids that don't fit into other spaces. Things of that nature. Ah, chapas, over 15 chapa rides so far this week will make you really get used to them. But, I digress. Better get back to my preparations for my meeting in an hour.....ate ja!


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