Capital: Cidade de Inhambane
Major Ethnic Groups: Xitswa, Gitonga, Cicopi
Inhambane is considered one of the most beautiful provinces in Mozambique. The beaches of Tofo and Vilankulos are very famous and bring a lot of tourism into the country. There are places to get your scuba certification and beautiful reefs to explore.
I went to Inhambane to take three students to the first REDES (Raparigas em Desenvolvemento e Saude) conference in 2005. The conference brought together girls from all over the country to meet each other, learn and talk about their futures.
Early in the morning, leaving Chimoio for Inhambane.
|Volunteer in Massinga|
The Hail Mary is Xitswa
Prayers are usually a good example of a foreign language. Common prayers like the Hail Mary or the Our Father are something many people already know. This makes it easy to compare two languages. Also, religious groups are usually most interested in local languages, with the intention of translating the Bible. Often these groups are the only ones that bother to post any text written in African languages.
An Amazing Story
I took Arcelia and Ilda from Monapo and Emilia from Nampula City. This was their first time on an airplane. Yes, there were vomit bags and jitters, but they were excited.
We showed up on a Sunday with reservations, but not tickets. This was because REDES had not gotten the money to my account until Friday, when I was still in Monapo. I thought that I would just pay for the tickets with my Mozambican ATM card the day we were to fly. But on Sundays in Nampula, sometimes the electricity is turned off.
There was no other way to pay. They had no manual machine, they didn't want to trust me to pay in Beira. AirCorridor actually told me to go to LAM, their competitor, who didn't fly until 5 that afternoon. This was not an option. We had to catch a bus from Beira to Chimoio to meet the rest of our group because early the next morning we would all be traveling to Inhambane together on another bus.
I paced the airport, begged and pleaded with the company, trying to convince them I was trustworthy and that they should let us fly. They didn't care. They weren't sympathetic at all. At one point a South African man asked me what the problem was. I explained to him, and as I explained I became more worried. How could I let down these girls? Emilia's family had come to see her off and I was so embarrassed. How could they send their daughter off with me when I couldn't even buy the tickets? The South African said he was sorry, but he was going all the way to Maputo, not Beira and so he couldn't help. Emilia's brother drove me into Nampula where I used the only ATM that was working, but there was a limit and it wasn't enough.
Finally, 20 minutes until the plane took off, I was hopeless and emotionally exhausted with worry. The South African came back to me and asked "How much, exactly, do you need?" I needed 4 million meticais, which at the time was about 200 USD. When he took out his wallet I began to cry. He handed me the money and told me to hurry- we had very little time. I promised over and over that I would get the money to him somehow. He handed me his card and said he knew I would.
It was like something in the movies. A kind stranger, helping you when you really thought all was lost. I can't explain how horrible it would have been to tell the girls they couldn't go because of a mistake I had made. I can't explain how grateful I was to this man, I almost fell on my knees!
We rushed through the check in process. We honestly had to run onto the plane- the engines already going. When we sat in our seats, the girls were marveling that they were actually on an airplane, nervous and excited about flying. But I was reeling with the thought that someone had just given me $200 and wasn't worried at all about getting it back. Of course he got it back. After the conference I had to go to Maputo for other reasons and we met and had coffee, which he insisted on paying for! I gave him a t-shirt from the conference as a thank you from everyone. He said it was the fact that students were involved that moved him to be so compassionate.