Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Massacre de Mueda – 50 years

My mother has located my camera charger – in London.  So while it wings its way here I’ve been taking some snaps with my phone.  Not top quality, but better than nothing.

Two weeks ago we all headed up to the Makonde plateau for the 50th commemorations of the infamous Mueda Massacre, where a number (probably around 60, but some say 600, it depends who you talk to) of Makondes were shot dead when they protested the refusal of the Portuguese State to accept their demands for independence.  This demand was presented to the Administrator of Mueda before a large number of people, by a Mozambican recently returned from Tanzania where he had been inspired and encouraged by Nyerere.  When the Administrator and Governor (of the then Province of Mozambique) refused and made to leave with several people they had arrested, their Land Rover was surrounded by the angry crowd and they ordered the troops to open fire with tragic results.  Although the independence war was not to start for some years after the event, it is considered one of the earliest acts of resistance from Mozambicans, and subsequent violence by the Portuguese. 

This year the annual celebrations included a reenactment of the massacre, with a Mozambican friend of ours playing the role of the Administrator, an economic fair with all the Districts of Cabo Delgado Province, some private sector operators and several state bodies including the Quirimbas National Park, represented.  The President also came to take part in the celebrations.

Here’s Sebastian enjoying an elevated view of the show, although what interested him the most were the Presidential jets.  He was particularly delighted when we went to the airstrip to see them take off.


I haven’t been up to Mueda for something like 5 years, so it was nice to see old friends, get a taste of Makonde culture again, and show off Eva and the boys.  We did lots of shopping at the fair for the Chuiba houses: beautiful Makonde pots, which are decorated with elaborate patterns, brightly coloured straw mats from Palma, wood-cuts from one of my favourite local artists (remember the story of the frog?) and sculpture.

Eva behaved beautifully, travelling no problem and sleeping happily tucked in between me and Paulo, and snug in her sleeping bag (it’s cold on the plateau in June).  Here she is on the way:


All in all we had a fun few days, although I was disappointed to miss the Mapiko dancing (fantastic masked dances with frenetic drumming) on our first evening, as I thought I’d get another chance.  But hopefully it will be less than 5 years before we go again.

Monday, June 21, 2010

120 days.

Eva is four months old today.
She is growing and plumping up nicely.
She is starting to hold her head up.
She is grabbing things: toys, hair, necklaces, clothes.
She is paying more attention to people and things.
She is turning her head when you talk to her.
She is doing that cute hand-wringing thing.
She is sleeping mostly OK.
She is a delight.


Thursday, June 10, 2010

Orange Prize

Ooh, ooh, Barbara Kingsolver has won the Orange Prize for her new novel The Lacuna. I'm a big fan of Kingsolver, but - and this shows how isolated we are out here - I didn't even know she had published a new book (her first since 2000). For those of you who haven't read any Kingsolver I highly recommend The Poisonwood Bible (her biggest hit) but also some of her earlier, perhaps more lightweight, books. Apparently The Lacuna is quite challenging, but I like a challenging (as long as it's not a polite way of saying boring) read. One for my Christmas list.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Eva update

Well it seems that Eva likes to keep me on my toes, one night sleeping beautifully and the next reverting to a newborn-type wake up every two hours schedule.  What fun.  Meanwhile, she’s making progress on other fronts: the other day she managed to grab the label of one of the toys that dangle before her on her bouncy chair, which she’s been batting at for the last week or so.  She’s also starting to make laughing noises to accompany the big beaming toothless smiles that go so far to make up for the irregular sleeping.  Very cute.  I’ve totally forgotten the different stages so its almost like starting afresh, each new development a lovely surprise.  She hasn’t quite got her head under control yet, perhaps as it is quite big, but the rest of her body is definitely catching up.  I don’t think anyone would label her as “dismorphic” now (really, how dared they?), although I think she’s quite unusual-looking for a baby and I can’t really predict how she’s going to look when older.  She has a lot of dad and my mother-in-law, but also elements of my younger sister.  Interesting.  Unfortunately I’ve misplaced the charger for my camera so I have no recent pics to post.  Must make a more thorough search as she has a great mohican of hair at the moment which will surely not last (at least I hope not) but should be recorded for posterity.  Indeed Eva has so much hair that it’s pretty much the first thing everyone comments on, even some kids who normally wouldn’t be expected to notice that kind of thing.  Lucky girl.


Sebastian continues to be totally enamored with his little sister.  “How’s Eva?” is usually the first thing he asks in the morning and when I pick him up from school and he insists on sitting next to her car seat on every journey, although Joaquim occasionally complains.  He likes to lean over her saying “hello, little Eva” and making funny faces to amuse her.   I think Joaquim is waiting for her to grow up and become more interactive; although he happily places an older-brotherly kiss on her brow at bedtime he’s not as interested as Sebastian is.  Funny, as I had anticipated the opposite.


As for me, I’m happily giving away the boys’ baby clothes that I had put aside, just in case, and enjoying the lovely little girly things that I’ve been given by many kind friends.  Indulge me…