I went with my favorite colleague, Roberto Cassiano, to a small village called Mussengue in the Mabote district several hours west of Vilankulos. This itty bitty town was preparing for the president’s visit and THOUSANDS of people showed up to celebrate. Don’t ask me where they all came from, since there really isn’t much close by for at least 10 km, but there we were in the middle of a huge crowd enjoying the excitement. It seemed like a rather random place for a presidential visit but Guebuza has promised economic growth for the region and aparently came to check up on his constituents.
My responsibility was to help with the CARE display table and be ready to offer a basket to the president if he stopped by. We waited for hours then finally five helicopters zipped in and landed in the middle of the field. Everyone started dancing and singing and getting all agitated for a chance to see the Big Chefe!
Roberto got a chance to talk to Guebuza for seval minutes and explain the different elements of our project. Then Sara, my field extentionist, gave him a big beautiful Xindzala basket. I even got the double cheek kiss and handshake. We’re basically BFF now.
The funniest part of the whole afternoon was when my friend Mandy, a Peace Corps volunteer in the area, showed up. She said one of her students ran up to her shouting, “Hay uma otra Mulungu aqui!” or “There is another white person here!” Mandy said finding me was like playing Where’s Waldo, except not so hard. Not only did the people get the great honor of seeing their country’s leader, they also got to see TWO white people in one day. Pretty exciting stuff!