smile. sorriso. tabasamu. sourire. 笑顔. sonrisa. lächeln. улыбка. ღიმილი. 微笑. χαμόγελο. glimlag. ժպիտը. smil. hymy. ngiti. усмивка. gülümseme. nụ cười. मुस्कान. úsměv. buzëqeshje. ស្នាមញញឹម។.
Courtesy of google translate (my best friend in Mozambique)
It’s common to see boys running around Maputo selling fruit from these carts. One of the popular gathering points is outside my apartment building where 3 or 4 of them hang out every evening.
I recently did a photo shoot for my friend and her daughter, Ayana – a one-year old ball of cuteness. She loves chocolate cake (as of her first birthday) and likes to sing and make noise with a maraca. She claps and points and plays with her tongue. She’s starting to think about walking. Luckily she has lots of tias (aunts) and tios (uncles) to chase after her.
I’m not going to lie. I have what I call “I hate Maputo” days. They normally coincide with something being stolen off my car (turning signals, spare tire, windshield wipers). Every morning I go out to my car and wonder what has been stolen during the night. Its infuriating. Before you ask … yes, I have security guards. They are normally sleeping but they’ve also caught the thieves a few times so I guess I should be grateful.
But who doesn’t hate their city from time to time. Most days I love Maputo. It has become home. I have a group of wonderful friends. We meet for lunch or dinner (always finishing with a dessert). We go to live concerts. We host brunch or dinner parties. We do weekend trips to the beach, wildlife safaris in South Africa, or Swaziland. We talk about things happening at home. We celebrate birthdays. We check on each other with a short phone call or text message. My family is 5,000 miles away but they are my family here.
Maputo has horrible drivers even though everyone is required to take a 3-month driving class (unless the license is bought with a bribe). Driving in Maputo has taught me patience. There is no road rage. You get cut off and you do the cutting off. You use your flashers and horn to communicate. Everyone is going somewhere. Eventually we will all get there. Some of us might make a new road in the process. Taxis and chapas (public transportation buses) are looking for customers. You can count on them to slam on their brakes to stop and pick someone up. Just expect it and it won’t make you mad when they do it.
Maputo is on the water. I have a lovely view from my apartment. But the water isn’t very clean and it stinks sometimes. People throw trash everywhere. I’ve never been in the water but I enjoy the view and the breeze it provides in my apartment.
Every week a newsletter is published with things to do in Maputo. There’s always a concert, DJ, movie, festival, dance performance, art exhibit, craft fair, or something going on. Always.
Mozambique is rich with resources (most recently oil) and has a booming economy. There are many companies investing here. And due to the failing economy in Europe, there are many Portuguese moving (more like flooding) here for work opportunities. You can walk by certain restaurants in Maputo and the patrons are 100% Portuguese. I’ve never lived in an African country that was not colonized by the British until now. Maputo has a more European feel. Let me tell you … the food, bread, and pastry desserts are the best thing the Portuguese left Mozambique.
Every weekend in Maputo there are weddings. Sometimes couples who have been married for many years will have another wedding because its so much fun. There is a building just down the street from my house called “The Wedding House”. Its a tradition to be married there and then you go take photos on the beach. Mozambicans love love.
One thing I always say is that in Africa, the capital city is never a representation of the country. And that is true for Maputo. But its home (for now). I will post more photos of city life. Here is one of the skyline.