Thursday, April 29, 2010

Getting to Ribáuè

Day 17

3:45 am wake up call; try for a good seat, but by the time we get on the train it is already almost full. Wrestling with my backpack I realize just how much more stuff I have than any of the other passengers.

What does this place remind me of? India? No, not really at all. Why was that even the image in my head? Nothing…it doesn’t remind me of anything; and that is a weird feeling.

Scotty had prepped me for discomfort, but the ride is surprisingly nice. I wish I could photograph the iselbergs just outside the city – mounds of clean rock the size of tiny mountains – but the train is going too fast. The landscape shifts from city to mato [bush]. I think I was expecting more savannah, less jungle. That might be because of the Lion King. Wow…I really have no business being here.

There is a rush of commotion when the train stops. Buying and selling. In Namina, Scotty gets us some cana de açucar. “This is the good stuff” he tells me. “We can’t get this at home.”

I think for a second that he means back in the states, but then I realize that he’s talking about Ribáuè.



Get off in Namagonia; catch a chapa for the 12km to Ribáuè. Barreling down the rutted road in the back of a truck, there is a quick moment when I actually fear for our lives, but no one else seems concerned. A young mother sitting across from me smiles as she nurses her daughter.


Ribáuè, the district capital, has a paved road. Greg, another pcv, lives “in town”; we stop by his place to rest for a few minutes and refill our bottles with bleach-treated water before the hour walk to Scotty’s house. The walk goes quickly, partly on account of the sugar cane. Scotty agrees when I tell him it is like a Mozambican popsicle. A ways down the road the houses start to disappear. Scotty corrects me when I call this mato. “This isn’t mato,” he says. Then he points out at the mountain, “that is mato.”

As far as I can see, there is nothing.

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