The $800 million suspension bridge linking Mozambique’s capital city of Maputo with the other side of its bay, is being built by the Chinese, and jointly funded by the Chinese and Mozambique governments. When completed in April of this year, it will apparently be the longest bridge in Africa, which I believe, and the only bridge in Mozambique, to which I say “Really?” Clearly, Mozambique is not a world Center of bridge engineering expertise, so the Chinese are apparently manufacturing all major bridge components in China and shipping them to Maputo to be assembled by – are you ready for this – Chinese convicts. German engineers are, we are told, providing design and construction oversight and quality verification. Germans have a reputation for engineering savvy; good on them all.
I read elsewhere that the Chinese are aggressively agricultural lands in Africa to help feed their 1.3 billion mouths, which is about 3.9 billion meals a day; if this is true, then there must be an agriculture rights component to the bridge building contract, which a quick search on google did not immediately reveal.
Mozambique society has a layer of monied people, though it appears to be a very thin layer, maybe the top .001% or something. Some of the homes and compounds which line the shore of the Indian Ocean appear to be second to none in curb appeal and opulence. Note the photo of the pool of one of the two (2) five star hotels in Maputo.
We toured the middle class area of Maputo. One should not judge a book by its cover nor a home by its exterior, we are advised. If we did, we would not judge the middle class to be very middle classy. None of these homes offered open doors to 625 cruise ship travellers, which objectively is probably a wise decision, though I am not favor of this choice, so we are not able to judge their homes by their interiors either. Why these middle class residents don’t want to be judged by us will have remain a mystery.
However, if abundance leads to happiness, then there is great happiness due to the abundance of Mozambique’s lower class. Like South Africa, Mozambicans are facing a significant urbanization problem due to migration from the townships to the bigger cities; unlike South Africa, they don’t appear to have significant infrastructure, means, resources or skills to effectively manage the influx.
The good news is that the population seems to have abundance of food so they are not about to go hungry. In human history, hungry stomachs have been known to cause bloody revolutions, political upheaval, guillotining, beheadings and other nasty events.
Not without difficulties, present and future, Mozambicans are working to improve their lives.
This is the Eiffel house. Yes, designed and build by none other than Gustave Eiffel who designed the Eiffel Tower. It’s an all metal house. Seems Mr Eiffel might not have been comfortable working with other materials. Well, nobody ever lived in this house because it got just too ?*&^*! hot in there. Even Mr Eiffel moved out about a month after building it. Air conditioners have now been installed on the top floor of the house and a Mozambique Ministry uses the top floor as administrative offices, the bottom floors remain for tourist puzzlement and amusement.
I end with just two of their flowers which caught my eye.