Friday, December 18, 2009

Finishing up in Mozambique


We finished our time in Mozambique (and finished our 38 page analysis paper) a few weeks ago and have not had the time (or internet access) to post so we will go ahead and post it now that we are in India.

After analyzing the assessment results from the three years that CFL worked with Mungassa, we have taken note of the following changes:

The first set of percentages indicate when CFL first entered Mungassa in March of 2006 (and the FPP had not yet started), and the second percentage indicate the latest assessment, which was performed in December of 2008.

Greatest improvements:

Latrines: 28% to 90%

Pest problem free: 28% to 82%

Tarimba (dish holder): 42% to 90%

Kitchen (separate from the home): 13% to 63%

Treating drinking water: 32% to 93%

Sleeping under mosquito nets: 13% to 71%

Deaths: 68 people to 3

People tested for HIV: 2 to 141 or 0% to 17%

History of Mozambique and Wikipedia

Mozambique’s first inhabitants were the San hunters, who were joined by Bantu farmers and iron workers around the 1st to 4th century AD. Around the 9th century Arab migration to Mozambique started, so when Vasco da Gama reached the coast of Mozambique in 1498, Arab trading settlements were found in many places along the coast. It is interesting to note that the name of the Arab Sultan during the time of the first Portuguese colonization was Musa bin Ba’ik, after whom eventually the entire country was named.

From about 1500, Mozambique became a regular post on the way to the east and the colony flourished for the next 200 years. By the late 17th century, Portugal started to devote itself more to the lucrative trade with India and the colonization of Brazil. As a consequence, Mozambique’s coastal settlements slowly fell into ruin. The local population, however, continued to cultivate the land for the European leaseholders, a system which was kept well into the 19th century. It was also during this time that slave trade with Arabia and the Ottoman Empire was in full swing.

In 1891 the Portuguese shifted the administration of much of the country to a large private company called the “Companhia de Moçambique”. The “Mozambique Company” established railroads into neighboring countries such as South Africa, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Congo, and Malaŵi, which made international trade soar. The period between the 1920s and the independence of Mozambique in 1975 was marked by a gradual growth of several economic and social developments in the Portugal administered territory. This growth included a great expansion of commerce, industrial development, agriculture, education, transportation, and health care infrastructure.

After World War II many European nations granted independence to their colonies, but Portugal decided to keep Mozambique as an overseas province of the mother country. Following this decree, Portuguese emigration soared.

The drive to independence, however, rose after that decree and in 1962 several anti-colonial groups formed the “Front of the Liberation of Mozambique” (FRELIMO), which initiated an armed campaign against Portuguese colonial rule in 1964.

After 10 years of combat with the colonial presence, the people of Mozambique gained independence and FRELIMO took full control of the country. As a consequence, all Portuguese settlers left the country and Mozambique officially established its independence on 25 June 1975.

This rapid exodus left Mozambique’s economy in total disarray and caused the eruption of the Mozambican Civil War (1977-1992), which destroyed the remaining wealth and left the former Portuguese overseas province in a state of absolute disrepair.

With this lack of resources FRELIMO responded by moving into alignment with the Soviet Union and its allies. FRELIMO quickly received substantial aid from Cuba and the Soviet bloc nations.

In response to FRELIMO’s alliance with the Soviet Union, the Mozambican National Resistance (RENAMO) was formed. RENAMO was an anti-communist group sponsored by the Rhodesian (now Zimbabwe) Intelligence Service, South Africa, and the United States. RENAMO launched a series of attacks on transport routes, schools and health clinics, which actions caused a dissention into civil war.

It was not until 1990 that RENAMO and FRELIMO were able to talk. This happened because apartheid was falling apart in South Africa and support from the United States had also dried up. In November of 1990 a new constitution was adopted.
FRELIMO won the elections and by mid-1995, over 1.7 million refugees who had sought asylum in neighboring countries, returned to Mozambique. In addition to this, four million internally displaced persons (many in the community of Mungassa) returned to their homes.
In early 2000, a cyclone caused widespread flooding in the country. It killed hundreds and caused widespread destruction of an already weak infrastructure. There were widespread suspicions that the powerful leaders of FRELIMO diverted the foreign aid that was pouring into the country due to the devastation. The reason for this suspicion was because the charges were never fully explained and the main journalist that was doing the investigations was murdered. The slow recovery of Mozambique from the aftermath of their civil war was being led by investors from South Africa, East Asia, and a number of Portuguese nationals along with some Italian organizations.
More elections were held in 2004 and FRRELIMO won again with their candidate, Armando Guebuza. The economy has seen an upswing in the past two years (8% GDP increase in 2008 and a projected 5% GDP increase in 2009) and there is hope that the economy is on the way to a better future. At the end of October 2009 elections were held again and the FRELIMO party won again.

This was just a little historical info for anyone interested. Now here are some fun pictures of the last days in Manga, Mozambique.

IMG_3399 The staff (Field Officers) of CFL and us!

It had been raining a lot and our regular route got some huge puddles on the way. Not that we are water shy, but there are some puddles you just don’t want to be stepping in. This is one of them. This cute little guy offered us a “ride”. If you think I am about to brake his bike, just think of Tal sitting on that bike. Unfortunately we don’t have a shot of that, but I have it etched into my mind forever. Half way through the puddle the bike stuck in a little rut and the guy barely got Tal across. Tal was sweating bullets just thinking of all the diseases he could catch….



So on the next day we thought we would take another route to avoid those puddles. I (Anita) had the glorious idea of taking a short cut via the railroad tracks (everyone is doing it!). About 2 minutes into it we realized that this idea was not as glorious as we thought, because the tracks are pretty much the public bathroom. I think we have never been that grossed out…until then at least. We have found some pretty nasty things in India now too.


With that we bid good bye to Mozambique and are on to S. Africa. See next blog.


  1. it is great to read about your travels. i can just see tal there on the edge of that puddle worried about how he in going to get across without getting any diseases. i know how hard it is to find internet and to get it all posted so thanks for spending the time and the effort.

  2. This is fascinating information! There's always a wicked faction in there taking sliding money off their direction when it is meant to do good. Darn! The water and railroad pictures just made me laugh so hard! I guess if you haven't come down with something by now, you're okay! Love this blog entry!

  3. PS. Forgot to mention how amazing those statistics are on the good that Care for Life is doing there. That is truly amazing. Just wish every village in Africa could have this help!

  4. This sounded like an amazing opportunity. i would love to post some of it on Travel Squire..