Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Goodbye Morrumbala, Goodbye Jack

Me 'n Jack
My last morning walk with Jack started around the usual time, 6 am.
He was waiting for me outside the kitchen door and gave me his usual talkative "Hello!"
I felt sad as I could not tell him that this would be the last time we would be taking our tour around the OLAM cotton complex here in Morrumbala.

Tomorrow, Graham and I shall be leaving early for Quelimane, where I shall say goodbye to him at the airport.
My first leg of the trip back to South Africa, via the Mozambique capital, Maputo.

At least this time I can understand most Portuguese and am able to make myself understood. Coming here three months ago was different, I had no idea what anyone was saying to me!

Getting back to Jack, he has been my friend, I shall be sorry to not have him around as he's a great conversationalist. But at least he will be here to keep Graham company.

Next posting shall be from England. What a contrast it shall be, - from the extreme heat of Central Africa to the icy cold of Europe!

Thanks everyone, for sharing my early morning walks here in Mozambique, it's been great to know you have been tagging along with me in cyber-space.

Monday, February 13, 2012

Mud Abstract

When the sun comes out after torrential tropical downpours here in Morrumbala, Mozambique, the earth cracks into dry geometrical shapes.
Here is a digital abstract I created from one of my photo's:

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Monday, February 6, 2012

Butterflies are Free, Fly my Beauty, Fly, Fly, Fly!

 After an Early Morning Walk I returned to my house here in Morrumbala, Mozambique 
and created this digital artwork for my three daughters, Debi, Kerry and Taryn from a photo of a butterfly that I took:

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Friday, February 3, 2012

Time for an early morning cuppa...

Most mornings, the first friendly face I see as I walk out the door belongs to this fat lizard.
His favorite sun bathing area is on the back door step where he waits to ambush flies and ants for his breakfast.
Of course, this photo does not do him any justice as he's rather a rotund fellow and not afraid of me at all. In fact, I have often stepped over him on my way out for my early morning walk around the OLAM factory complex here in Morrumbala.
I then take a turn to the right and wave to the children staring at me through the security fencing. They wait for me every morning and run along the path that hugs the border of the cotton gin. If I pick up speed, they do, if I slow down to take a photo, they shout instructions in their local language - Senna.

Approaching an old truck without wheels that is precariously balanced on blocks I say "Ola" to the watchman who has taken up residence in the cab.

Yes, he lives there. His kitchen is a charcoal burner which is placed on a make-shift mud guard outside the driver's door.
he also has a few veggies growing close by.
It interests me to see someone living that way and I wonder if he sleeps when he is meant to be doing his guard duties.

Opposite the guard's truck abode is a junk-yard of crashed vehicles, tractors and various other parts that have fallen off discarded OLAM transport.Apparently the OLAM drivers tend to crash their trucks quite regularly - the roads are bad here in Morrumbala.
But I think the driver's are almost as unpredictable as the bush tracks they drive along.

A little further on are some more of the dented pick-ups.

Perhaps the other guards shall turn them into guard stations some time in the future.

Down the road is scaffolding holding up piping that runs into a derelict incinerator. A couple of weeks ago the piping collapsed and this is how it has been repaired.

I usually walk very fast when I have to pass under it.
It's the biggest bad luck ladder I could possibly walk under!
The ever present African children encourage me to run as fast as I can...
Still alive after passing the scaffolding, I get to massive piles of cotton that has been stacked on pallets.
I think it looks something like the circus has come to town with all the bright tarpaulins draped over them.
The flamboyant trees are still in bloom and add to the primary colours.

In one of the factories there are sacks upon sacks of cotton waiting to be sorted by the pickers and then it is sent to the actual gin.

Once the cycle is complete, it is packed into plastic bales ready to be transported to Mozambique ports.
A great deal is shipped to Mauritius where they have a large textile industry.

The OLAM offices are around the next turn and I am usually walking so early that the workers have not arrived at the gates.

If they are there, they greet me with cheery waves and greetings.
There is more discarded agriculture machinery outside the staff housing area.
Caterpillars and tractors stand forsaken on deflated tyres.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

The village has woken for the day here in Morrumbala...

Boom, boom, boom!
At 2 am in the early hours of this morning, the proprietor of the shebeen situated closest to our bed-room window decided to play his latest music. The speakers on full blast, we sit bolt upright in our bed and listen to him drunkenly sing along to some incomprehensible lyrics from an artist that has likely had his music pirated. 
"Eu gostaria que a sua parte inferior grande em minha embreagem"
Translated into English, I think the words are: “I would like your big bottom in my clutch,” or something like that. 
But pardon my ability to understand or speak Portuguese at that time of the morning!

We drift back into a light sleep and then Graham’s alarm screeches at 4.30am. It is time to start the day here in Morrumbala, Mozambique.

It’s my birthday today and I wonder if my husband has remembered, after all I did say something about it yesterday.
Just before he goes to work, “Sorry Babe, almost forgot, happy birthday!”
OK, he’s forgiven, he remembered.
My day continues the same as any day here in the lost wilderness in the back of beyond. If it’s not raining, I get out for my early morning walk around the OLAM cotton gin and factory before it gets too hot.

I spot something lying on the side of the road. It’s Johnny the crow who has been grounded for three weeks with a broken wing and I have made friends with him.

For weeks I have watched him survive, with his other crow buddies looking after him. He hops along on the ground and his buddies perch on branches in close by trees or on the factory roof tops, swooping closely over the heads of anyone or thing that gets too close to him. They even drop scraps of food to help him survive.
Johnny Crow
I once tried to get close enough to catch him in order that I could set his wing with a brace, but he hopped off into the tall grass before I had to crouch low because of the flurry of wings over my head from his protectors.  I decided that he would be fine and live out a reasonable life with the way his Karma had fallen.

Johnny did not mind me.  I often brought him stale bread which I’d scatter on the ground for him. I just was not to get too close to him, that’s all.

I walk over to the side of the road and take a look.
Johnny is dead. One of the factory workers has broken his neck and left him lying there. 
Poor Johnny, life is cheap here in Mozambique.

There is a horrendous stench as I approach a section of the complex. Huge piles of cotton waste and seed have been burning for days in an attempt to clean up the grounds. Everyone has been running around sorting the place out because the very big OLAM bosses are arriving for a few days. They hail from Beira and Maputo.
I wonder to myself why the place cannot always be so tidy.

When I return to our house, I hear the loud music of the other bars competing with the one that started up with the 2 am enthusiast.

The village has woken for the day here in Morrumbala …

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