Katja Lachmann


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Leaving Vilanculo on Friday, 13th


On Friday, 13th, we got up very early in the morning starting our first hitch-hike adventure in Mozambique. We started from Casa Josef e Tina at around 6:30 a.m. and went by foot to the market. There have been lots of mini-busses waiting but all empty. Empty mini-busses in Mozambique mean to wait hours and hours until they are full. Thus we asked a guy in the truck if he will leave right now. We agreed to 15.000 MT (0,50 Euro) to get out of the city because the junction to Beira or Chimoio (we were not clear where to go that time, everything was depending the lifts we get) is about 20 km away from Vilanculo. Thus we were sitting in the back outside of the truck and after 1 hour - as they are on the way always collecting more and more people - we arrived at the junction.

And of course, as we are women, we first had to search for a toilet. We found one that was in the back garden of a family. The woman of the house let us enter the garden and use their toilet what was nothing more than the bare ground covered with a fence to hide our naked backsides. Becky was surprised about this and I was just laughing as I did not expect anything else than that ;P

Then Becky had here waking-up coffee, I bought a little bit of bread and there we were standing at the junction and at the same time market place of Pambarra. Pambarra is a little village-city directly on the junction. We were waiting, and waiting, watching market life in Pambarra, watching the street, sun was burning, but...no cars. The only cars that passed were mini-busses and trucks that we did not intend to take as we would have had to pay for their service. Waiting...after 3 hours there was a jeep coming, a white Portuguese person (I guess) inside with two of his local assistants. He gave us a lift for 58 km to Inhassoro.

There we were waiting again, standing in the middle of the hot sun, for a lift. But in Inhassoro at the gas station, that is short after the junction to Inhassoro city, were not even mini-busses or trucks passing by. Once there stopped a truck and we asked the price, but Becky did not want to go with them. Thus we continued waiting, already playing with thoughts of taking a bus to Beira in the afternoon. Waiting...actually, it was a nice waiting, although it was very hot. Beside us parked a big truck with two young guys laying under the truck. The girlfriend of one of them joined in and together they were just relaxing, listening to really nice music. Imagine us standing on a road where no car is coming, a truck beside us, loud music (really loud as Africans somehow like it) and we waiting... It was really nice, but still we were with hope for a lift.

Somewhen a group of three black people joined us asking where we are from etc. We found out that they are from Zimbabwe, living already for a few years in Mozambique. It was a quite funny talk we had and we found out that they arrived already on 12 August with a bus from Maputo. There bus broke a day before, but they were still waiting for the bus being repaired. There was also a big group of women with children waiting patiently in the shadows of the palm trees behind the gas station. I would say, that is life in Africa! ;)

After three hours we found a jeep with an Italian-Mozambique couple going directly to Chimoio. We went with them being happy to escape the sun and to have a seat as we were standing all three hours long. It was such a great pleasure to be with them! Very nice people, funny, interesting, offering fruits...just everything you wished for. Somewhen, we made a break for going to "toilet". Yes, I know, again, but also this was a funny thing. Before I went to Africa I have read many books in which was written that in Africa it is a very normal thing just to pie beside the road. Well...we found out it is true! We were not allowed to enter the fields. Mira, the Mozambiquean girl, warned us to do so because of all the land mines still being in the ground. Thus we lived the African way and did our business right beside the street! ;P

During the ride we decided to give us one day of rest in Chimoio. Thus Mira and Stefan (the Italian guy) tried to help us as much as they could with finding cheap accomodation. Happily, Mira's father had got a lodge where you can rent rooms for 300.000 MT (about 10 Euros) each. Mira managed for us to minimize the price for a two nights stay, which was  200.000 MT (about 7 Euro) per room. Thus we just had 100.000 MT (3,5 Euro) each per night what was the money I could afford to spend for accomodation.

Hitch-hiking - besides the long waiting - was quite a pleasant experience in Mozambique, but if you intend to do the same, be aware there are hardly any cars.