First two weeks in Mozambique

Dec 6, 2016

Wow, it has already been two weeks since I moved in to Manhiça. Seems like it has been much more. This is mostly thanks to all the fantastic people living here. Every day something is going on. A social event or some other activity. To be honest last evening was the first time, since I arrived, when I stayed home and reflect a bit on my experiences so far and also try to cure my sore throat.

So how is life of a 'mulungo'* here? Well, it definitely is different than in Europe. First of all the hours differ, especially in comparison to what you could get used to in the southern countries of the 'old continent'. We have sunrise around 4.30-5 AM and sunset around 6.30 PM. Because summer is coming it gets uncomfortably hot quite early in the morning and if you want to do any kind of physical activity, you should aim finish it by around 7.30 AM or suffer a heat stroke ;) Well, at least most of the days. Because day starts early, it also finishes quite early around 10-11pm. It actually is still quite late in comparison to the daily schedules of the locals. They tend to wake up with the sun or just before, work on the sugar cane fields nearby and go to sleep soon after the sunset...

The difference above is more of the probably obvious ones due to the day length and the type of work they do. For me personally quite astonishing is how cheerful people are and how they treat the aforementioned 'mulungos'. People greet us on the streets, wave to us and seem genuinely friendly. My experience so far is really positive, especially after being called doctor ;)

Of course, I have been here for only a couple of weeks, in a fairly isolated environment, so you should take my current impressions at least with a grain of salt.

BTW. This is my new house:

World AIDS day

One more thing, I believe quite important, happen on 1st of December. The international day of fight against AIDS and HIV. As you can imagine Mozambique has a pretty high HIV prevalence which ranges in around 10%. Back in the days, actually not even so long time ago, HIV positive blood test result was equal to a death sentence. Now, however, thanks to the recent introduction of antiretroviral therapies and better understanding of how this virus works people with diagnosed disease can live a pretty normal life. Basically HIV medicines prevent HIV from multiplying (making copies of itself), which reduces the amount of HIV in the body. Having less HIV in the body gives the immune system a chance to recover. Even though there is still some HIV in the body, the immune system is strong enough to fight off infections and certain HIV-related cancers. Also by reducing amount of HIV in the body, HIV medicines reduce the risk of HIV transmission.

Because, as previously mentioned, AIDS is a quite common disease here, the World Aids Day gets much more attention. I haven't been participating in it, but some of my friends were and they were kind enough to share some of the photos they made during that event (photos are a courtesy of Laura Delgado!):

©copyright by Laura Delgado

*This is how the locals call white people, it does not have any negative connotations and I will write about it some other time when I understand this concept a little better.