Archive for March, 2009

MOZ vs. NIG

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it was an amazing surprise to see for the first time, even if it was on tv and with a very lousy report, to MAMBAS, the Mozambican Soccer Team. they played extraordinaryly and eventhough the match was 0-0 i was very proud of them.
we’ll watch them again, maybe next time we’ll go to the stadium, being it is only ~5kms away from home!

as for the Portugal team, the match with Sweden was 0-0 too, but with thiese guys, SHAME ON YOU!!! ;)

…i still have to think how i’m looking to the Italy matches, they’re up on their team so i guess that in case MOZ and POR don’t make i’ll always have ITA… ok maybe also BEL but i sort of doubt it… lol

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adriana calcanhoto

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when i heard the price for adriana’s concert i said “no way jose”, i didn’t think it was fair that in a country like this concert prices should be this expensive… but at the last minute the tickets arrived at us rather than the other way around. i was tempted. after tha week we’ve had i thought maybe this would do me some good. of course we still have to pay this unbelievable amount, but while i was sitting in that “concert room” i was able to forget where i was and delight myself with her words and music. she performed like i never saw before, i had never seen her in concert but what i imagined was something completely bland as to what she actually offered us. she was up on stage with two of her great musician friends, Moreno Veloso (yes Caetano Veloso child) and Domenico Lancelotti and they were both amazing.

it was nice to hear her new album and so many of her older tracks that made me remember so many things. her voice was just enough to make me feel so much better and to regret the few moments i actually thought about not going to the concert. as if staying on the couch would do me any better! pff!

 

what i realised though is that attending concerts in different parts of the world is a different experience. it took about 1 hour to have the room quiet. the first performer, which i am so sorry for not remembering his name right now, was amazing too but the ridiculous audience wouldn’t shut up. laughing and chatting like there was noone on stage, i have never seen that before… i was appaled. the lovely man finished his performance and i really felt sorry for the whole environment… it was shameful.

they only quiet down when she finally arrived in her very simple clothes and stage design but with her spectacular voice. finally we could all enjoy the concert… until she stopped and said goodbye… 2 minutes later before the audience had time to clap for her encore, the idiot Ministers of Education and Culture, as if, were already up on stage with their line of girls holding on to big bouquets of flowers. it was so rude what they did. they stood there waiting for adriana to come back and simply stood in front of her while she got ready for her encore. they took pictures with the journalists up on stage and delayed her finish…

talk about unnecessary show-off.

fortunately those men dissapeared and we were able to listen to those last sounds from brasil.

news from maputo #002

it’s great of you to notice how long it has been since i last wrote something here on this blog that isn’t about babies or birthdays, i understand that these might not be the best posts to get to know me and how i’m doing here, but lately it’s been very difficult to sit and write something too personal. not that birthday posts aren’t meaningful, i write them because the people i celebrate in them mean so much to me and i miss them dearly (apologizing to those who i also love and have been left out of my blog… eventually you will), but be surprised if you will, it’s been such a busy month, i have been working so much and my head is filled with TO DO lists, something i’m known for, of things i have to take care of in the 7hours of work i get… of course noone stops me from working more, and i have been lately, but the pay check doesn’t change like it used to so i tend to keep it within the 7hours.

i’ll start with a few things to give you just a perspective of what we’ve been doing. so last time i wrote something about mozambique was to let you know how our weekend in Inhaca Island had gone, and after that only about going to the orphanage and to Bilene, but in between these events we had other things happening, did i tell you aldo got sick? well, yes he did, it was on a weekend when we were coming back from Ponta do Ouro, which by the way i didn’t write about… maybe paradise beaches have stopped wowing us… naaah it’s still gorgeous we just forgot the photo camera. anyway, when we came back aldo was already feeling very very blah! so Mr. Ernesto, that takes care of Sergio’s and Marta’s house down at the Ponta gave aldo a special remedy, a tea, what kind? …the disgusting one! made out of “BEIJO DA MULATA” flower root, i actually have no idea how to translate the flowers’ name in english but identically it would be “KISS FROM A GIRL WHO HAS MIXED RACED PARENTS more specifically white and black”, let me tell you that eventhough the flower is very cute the taste is just horrible, aldo made us all try it ’cause we made so much fun of the faces he made and we all felt sorry about laughing. i just had a mini vomit again!

it would’ve been better though to have drunk 1litter of it and be done with it, but aldo started getting weaker and weaker and losing his appetite, spending more time with the toilet than with me, decided that the horizontal position in bed alone was where he was best nad all the worry of malaria started kicking in. i found out how bad i am of taking care of others and decided that it would pass, but monday afternoon everyone looked so shocked at me for not taking him to the doctor that i ran home and took him for a blood test… a few hours and one meeting later i was back at home with him and results telling both of us, more me than him, that it WASN’T malaria. this however only relaxed me a little bit as the fever kept resisting, the appetite so gone aldo had to be forced to eat two spoons of white rice, the toilet was still his best friend and i had no idea how to take care of him…

thankfully, i think, our belgian friend Benjamin, i’ll explain later, was here for a few weeks and does some kind of yoga/therapy/massage/something that soothes you and can actually have an effect on how your body is functioning, so he did his little magic on aldo and apparently it helped to the point that he slept that night without getting up 10times and slept all through until morning. i was relieved. in total he was home for a whole week, slowly eating more, stopping with the white rice and moving onto pizzas by the next saturday, margherita, but still a pizza!

belgians. yes again after 3 months we recieved the belgian dancers in our place again. benjamin was the only one that had been here the last time also in one of our guest rooms, oh so many, the rest of the group made of belgians, mozambicans and south africans i didn’t know anyone. they were here like before for almost 3weeks and at the end they presented a great dance performance, gotta say i was so much more intrigued last time, and maybe that made be expect more this time, but i really like the way they use the body movements. this time though they have come up with a logo, actually not to be too proud but ALDO MADE THE LOGO!!! lol and yes i think it’s very nice and also he designed the flyers for their performance at the CENTRO CULTURAL FRANCO-MOÇAMBICANO here in Maputo, a very intelectual/cool place to perform and to meet people. if you want to see their logo and flyers ;) and of course learn more about them you can always register on facebook: CONFUSÃO EXCHANGE PLATFORM (right now that’s all i have as info for you… i’ll try to find more) and they always do performances here in Maputo and then in Joburg before returning to Brussels.

i would’ve been a much happier person if he, benjamin, would’ve by now delivered my birthday presents in Antwerp… waiting, waiting, waiting…

so… since then we have done a great deal of work! aldo has been developing ’til exhaustion the plans, sections and facades of the new orphanage… i will do more in the near future i promise honey… and we are about to ask some construction companies to give us a price for it so that UM PEQUENO GESTO ONG can start asking for subsidies. it is exciting to think that we can really become part of this wonderful thing, it’s beautiful to see how aldo is dedicated to it. it has been and i know it will always be a pleasure to see this orphanage slowly taking up our lives.

but unfortunately, for both of us who believed we’d be selling coconuts on the beach wearing nothing but sandals and capulanas by now, have both been swamped by work, at our offices. i have myself a project finishing this week… or maybe next week, depends on how much more in panic people will get but it’s a public garden which my office had already done a few months back, i’m now in charge of the BAR, ironically! aldo and i designed the interior, the bar itself, so now i am following the making of it, and getting ready to open it in 10days… give or take… which will definitely be take! it is exciting but now that everyone is on their most stressy behaviour i have to sometimes deal with a few attitudes.

aldo is also handeling a few chaotic projects, yes we have noticed a big difference between working above the hemisphere and below it, as the portughese say “not 8 nor 80” in the sense that we arrived from belgium where everything SEEMED so organized it would fall apart if something was off, to a place where you practically need to live with the contractor to be able to make sure he does what you told him to do already 5times… and still you’re not sure, ’cause the man is bound to leave to go toilet. anyway, differences like this is what makes all of it so challenging but i admit my patience has already adapted to it, on the opposite. i really hate the way people who are working for you expect you to do the work for them. they sit down and stop literally if you don’t look and check. it almost feels like you’re talking to walls. of course there are people like this and fortunately there are others who work really well, who seem very professinal and who are available for you to suggest, critise and with whom you feel relaxed enough to BE critisized… but then the monster appears… there will always be someone who will simply not listen, who will hear white instead of black, who will say “it will be done” (expression which has become a pet peave of mine ’cause it means nothing around here) and then VOILÁ surprise… “no it didn’t”. so i have ended up having to deal with really unpleasant episodes, workwise and mainly not, because i become acountable for mistakes or uncomunications other people had. not saying that i don’t do things wrong, i just don’t wait for anyone to do anything for me and i expect the same professionalism as i expect of myself towards anyone i work with. i know aldo agrees.

and this my friends, happens in anything around this city, i’ll reduce it to the city ’cause it makes me more polite. but you see this attitude in any store. you walk in and almost in that instant you feel you shouldn’t! ok, so it’s hot, i agree that 40º in the shade can throw someone off balance and start understanding why everyone and i mean EVERYONE drags their feet instead of lifting the ankles off the ground, the heat makes us slow and so the brain also needs a few coffees to hold it together or a boss who really loves airco… but back to the store. you walk in and there is that moment, the moment when you look around and you think you see noone… is it really open? and then there she is, usually a chubby woman almost lying on top of the counter of how bored she is, she looks as if the 40º are inside of her rather than outside of the shop. she looks up, you establish visual contact but still feel a bit sorry for having disturbed her and proceed with your question/querie/demand/apology… the answer will alwasy be NO. it’s funny how many times you have to explain what you want, and this is a country where we both, me and the woman speak the same language. you wouldn’t have guessed! they start with no, then move on to something you didn’t ask for, then it feels as if you’re asking in chinese, then it’s back to NO. this happens whether you ask for a special wall paint, flour at the supermarket or simply bubble gum. everything that requires moving their arms further than where they are comes with a NO or “hei-de ver” (i’ll see), if they would at least come back to give me an answer when they went on their search. i’ve made many efforts but somethings just can’t be explained!

if i have the time, i’ll explain how you’ll have to drive around here, and you thought that driving on the right side of the car and on the left side of the street was already tough!!! think again!

 

may this post not distract you. the main idea was to tell you that we are doing very well, kind of need visitors ’cause we have found gorgeous places and beaches up north and would really like friends or family to come on over to go on a paradise island with us! yes there are many around here, but aldo and i are not used to this 24hours, 7days a week together business so if anyone would like to give us a break, we’d be happy to HOLIDAY with u!!! ;)

1!

DIOGO GATINHO LOPES is born! i can’t tell you all how happy i am for my friend filipa and joão.

just like on their wedding day, and on their first anniversary in antwerp, i have lived their moments together from far but always there with them never forgetting to acknowledge their happiness and their lives.

in august last year i was the first one to hear “in nine months you’ll be an aunty” in a very shy and excited voice, i shrieked and couldn’t hide my happiness and almost told the world. nine months later here we are, i’m far away, again, too far to visit, but she’s on her way to the hospital to have her Csection in a couple of hours…

DIOGO will be born today if everything goes to plan and in a few days he’ll be home.

i know she’ll ignore her friend in africa for a little while, until she stops being hipnotised by her baby, i’ve seen so many friends have babies lately i know they go through a wonderful phase of hipnoses! but we talked wednesday evening and i talked to DIOGO as well, and he knows i am a very proud aunty and can’t wait to meet him.

the first boy in sooooo long!

i think he’ll be dark haired like his daddy and so funny like his mommy. he’ll be a happy child and i will spoil him like all the others. i will probably meet him when he’s not a baby anymore, when he starts walking or talking, so i’ll miss a lot of his life… he won’t get to know me but i will make sure i know all about him.
welcome to this world GATINHO, i haven’t seen you yet but i love you so much.

2..

3…

chokwe #004

it has been such a long time since we saw those beautiful children.

last time we visited Sister Isaura’s orphanage was 3 days before chritsmas where we tried to show and bring with us what chritsmas was to us. we delivered not only new clothes, but our whole hearts. it was a day of joy, of so much hapiness and so many rewards. one could get used to this… the children… and mostly us.

some people call it charity, others personal selfishness, others simply say it’s a gift, or kindness, or self aknowledgment or just love. i personally think it’s all of these feelings. no one gets envolved in something like this without aknowledging  that there is some sort of great feeling it brings to your own self.

this weekend we went to the orphanage first because it had been so long, we missed that place so much, and secondly because we had taken on the task of getting new baby cribs to the orphanage. there are new babies coming and “old” babies still needed individual beds. we ordered 6 and 6 were delivered saturday morning to the orphanage. believe me when i say this, they were so happy. or course we arrived a bit before their lunch time so they didn’t sing as much as last time, i guess they were hungry but we loved the usual welcome and the gorgeous goodbye.

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Sister Isaura couldn’t have been happier. she was delighted that the “baby room” is now complete with these new 6 white cribs.

This is manly why we have decided to be a part of this project, to be a part of their lives, because first and foremost this is what it’s all about… giving… helping…making them know that we’re here. understanding what are their basic needs and develop them into something that can done ASAP. maybe if we’d make a list we’d come up with so many other things we could do, but beore we get lost in our own ideas of european orphanages, and the needs of european children adapted into this environment all it takes is to look around and understand and give it enough attention to see the little details that could turn their lives around.

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and here is where i can honestly say it is very easy to forget and not see the thin line between helping others and helping you feeling better about yourself. but to me, there is nothing wrong with it. because when those beautiful faces with eyes so open they swallow you in, whisper “thank you” in their shy voices or sing out loud “obrigado” there is such an amazing feeling in your heart, because you know it started with just a wish, it started with you saying you just want to help an it becomes so much more. the more you see the effect it has on these tiny lives it makes it so much better and so much more worth it.

there is nothing i like more tan hto know that what we can do to help will really change their lives. and all it takes is a few hours with them under the hot hot sun singing a few songs, or giving them each a tshirt, or asking Zezito where his front tooth is, or proudly staring at Gina and admiring such hope in such a small child. this all makes us better people. and if it takes seeing them grow to make myself feel better then i don’t really care if it’s selfish, it’s a beautiful feeling. we all become better people with it.