In twelve days I leave for Mozambique to work as a volunteer for Citizens Network for Foreign Affairs Farmer-to-Farmer Program. I’m excited to see the country after so many years of peace. In 1994 I was an election monitor for Mozambique’s first multi-party elections and was based in Pemba, Cabo Delgado. In 1990, I worked on an urban agro-forestry project in Matola Rio just outside of the capital Maputo. At this time I also traveled to Quelimane and saw some of Zambezia province.
This time I’ll be based in Sofala and Manica provinces, places I’ve never been. When I first learned I had been chosen for this assignment I was hoping to track down old friends and colleagues in Maputo and was disappointed that I would not even spend a day there. However, when I learned that the current average life expectancy is 42 I decided it was just as well that I wouldn’t be able to look for old friends.
Earlier this week I bought a Lonely Planet travel guide to Mozambique. To me it seems strange, but wonderful that a travel guide even exists! If I can find some free time I’m hoping to see Gorongosa National Park. In 1990 it was completely impossible to travel there as RENAMO had its headquarters in the area. In Chimoio, where I’ll be spending the majority of my assignment, I’ll be able to see Cabeca do Velho, a large rock formation that looks like an old man. I had forgotten that in 1994 I brought friends t-shirts featuring a picture of The Old Man of the Mountain in New Hampshire and everyone mentioned a similar formation in Chimoio. Unfortunately I will never again see the Old Man in New Hampshire as he fell down in 2003, but I am looking forward to meeting Cabeca do Velho.