The World Around Us

Changes in Maputo

Country: Mozambique by Lisette

04-03-2013

Robbery2In the past two weeks a few things have changed dramatically in our lives here in Maputo.This blog is a mixture of sharing what’s up and how I feel.

What changed is that I feel more alarmed about the security of foreigners living in Maputo. This feeling will change in time to the normal ‘you’ll be fine’ attitude. Of course, common sense is always important. We know what places to avoid and that nighttime is more dangerous (ladies, put your valuables in your bra). Taking public transport is fine and certainly recommended if you want to know ‘the real deal’.

The recent burglaries, (armed) robberies and muggings in the past three months or so are making me exceedingly uncomfortable. Perhaps I am too used to feeling safe at night. But when is it “too much” to wanting to feel safe?

When I walk around, even during day, I find myself glancing around to check out whose coming up closer to me on the pavement. My shoulder bag is usually not just hanging loosely, no I’m firmly holding on to it. I tend to stay clear from people, not always easy when you’re trying not to trip over the sidewalk that is broken in many bits and pieces.

Sure, this feeling of insecurity will pass. In fact, I can’t wait for it to happen! For now, I’m trying to interact with guards, hoping they will remember me and feel they should help in case it would be needed. Naturally, some are fast asleep on their three-legged-broken-plastic-chair-that’s-only-good-for-the-dumpster.

Work1The second big thing is that my work with ARISO will be ending soon. I have been able to contribute much in the past few months to enhance my colleagues’ ability to write proposals. I also facilitated a workshop evaluating the organization’s strategic plan to revise and renew their focus for the next two years.

It wasn’t easy. A lot of capacity building went into working towards quality proposals. We discussed the need for developing a program before writing a proposal as financially constrained organizations find themselves creating programs depending on the potential donors’ guidelines and priorities.

More importantly, a program needs to be designed per the needs of the clientele and with the expertise of the organization. Once this program is in place, map potential donors, think hard how you want to approach them (get to know them!), and then write proposals. I am proud to say we have developed an innovative program. Since we are contacting prospective funders, I cannot elaborate yet about the program.

With lack of time and pressure to find sustainable funding, I felt like I had to race against the clock. Last week we had a meeting with several district wardens about the conditions of prisoners. We couldn’t afford a translator else I would have been facilitating this. The outcome of this meeting was important, and even more so, we were having an actual dialogue. Hopefully, progress will be made in this year now the conversation started.

Many other opportunities to work with my colleagues had to give way to finding strategic focus and constructing an actionable, realistic operational plan. And now, my tenure with ARISO ends three months early. What I will be doing in the next three months, I don’t know yet though some opportunities are found.

Waterfall3And then there is Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe! The 1,5 kilometer wide Zambezi River plunges into 100 meters of vertical chasm and I get to see this wonder of the world at the end of the week. It takes two days to get there, but I can’t wait to start the journey with Marlowe and two friends. My camera is already packed…

Living and working abroad, it’s an emotional roller coaster!