Friday, June 27, 2008


I got the call at 9:10 am, Tuesday Morning. I had just “finalized” my plans for the rest of the week when UNL photojournalist professor Bruce Thorton invited me on a two day jaunt to the Mozambique border. I had heard that this excursion was to transpire, but never in my wildest imagination did I think I was to be on it.

From the get-go, I told myself that this trip was going to be a success regardless of what happened, but I couldn’t help but to immediately get on the computer, and do some research hard-core cram style.

It was difficult for me to find stuff, but by that evening the Arizona State student-journalist had made some pretty good contacts and I was very excited to know that they were also going..

I set my alarm to go off at 4am Wednesday Morning, but to be honest didn’t even need it. It’s not everyday that you travel to a new country, and I woke up a couple times that night due to sheer excitement.

By 5:30 we had loaded up the van and were ready to ride. It was my first time being out in Jo’burg in the early morning hours, and let me tell you, this city never sleeps.
We must have seen thousands of people during the pre-dawn hours, doing everything imaginable at the hypersonic pace, I have barely become accustomed to during our two week stay here. Boy there are times when I don’t see how people do it….but that’s just another reason I was glad to be seeing something new, if only for a couple days.

Thoughts about the ride out to Maputo….

After making it to Pretoria we rode through a thick smoky fog, courtesy of the brushfires. In South Africa it seems like the authorities just let these fires rage on, concentrating there efforts on other things.

The scenery between Pretoria and the S.A. – Mozambican border is breathtaking. We rode through mountain after mountain and were treated to one panoramic view after another. This was the most physically striking landscape I’ve ever encountered.

. Driving on the N12 in South Africa felt like driving an interstate highway in the United States. There were plenty of tourist type gas stations and eateries, signs were everywhere, there were even speed raps. I didn’t really make anything of it until I got to Mozambique, and realized that everything was different. Seriously, crossing the border between South Africa and Mozambique was like going back in time 200 years. Most stretches of highway were completely devoid of human contact, except for every 10 miles or so when we would see a collection of shacks.

Quick History Side-Note (caution: may be a little nerdy)

Many of the streets in Mapoto are named after communist revolutionaries such as Karl Marx, Ho Chi Minh, and Kim Song II etc. Our approach to the city was done on Vladimir Lenin Ave; that was interesting.

Metro Maputo

Metro Maputo was definitely a sight to behold. Miles and miles of shacks flank the highway on the approach to the city center. These communities resemble the townships in Jo’burg, but seemed to be even less developed. On the sides of the highway there are vendors who sell everything, clothes, food, etc. Even in downtown Maputo commerce is primarily conducted with vendors rather than in stores.

Will write more later…

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