Saturday morning we had breakfast at our hotel and then needed to find a home for the instruments while the hotel was being fumigated. Merritt had agreed to come so we could go with her to store them at her office in the embassy cultural center.
There was a walking tour of the city going on that Elisa was interested in joining. We only found out about it at breakfast and it was already underway so Merritt whisked her away and sent her with Nyaka, our driver, to go and join the group. She was able to see quite a few of the salient locales in the city as well as meet some interesting people taking the tour. There were only 4 on the tour--a young woman from Norway, and two from Vienna. Elisa enjoyed discussing world travel and Maputo highlights with them- the Cathedral, City Hall, the park, the stunning old train station, the fortress, the local market, the interesting architecture and the red light district. At the end of the tour, Elisa was left at the oldest cafe, Cafe Continental to wait for Nyaka to pick her up.
Maureen and Becky stayed with Merritt in order to take the instruments to the embassy due to the hotel fumigation. The plan was to go to a beautiful beach that Merritt recommended. However, the morning got a bit sidetracked by various stops and errands that Merritt needed to do on the way.
One of them was to drop by a jewelry party--one of her friends designs jewelry and was having an open house to show her work. She had gorgeous things there, but what made us laugh was that there were so many people there that we actually recognized from the concert the night before. We talked for quite awhile with Shawn, a gal whose husband grew up near Pittsburgh. She has the whole Pittsburghese lingo totally down, as they go there to visit every summer. We got a kick out of talking to her. Then someone else heard us talking and came over to join in--she apparently went to school at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh as well. The world is a small, small place!
Eventually we made it to the beach after a few more stops. Becky wanted to walk so she headed off down the beach and Maureen and Merritt found a place to sit and relax and catch some sun.
We all joined back up in that spot about an hour and a half later, including Elisa who was brought over by Nyaka when her walking tour ended. We went to lunch at a cafe on the beach, then collected the instruments and went to get ready for the evening performance.
Our concert that night was at a place called Casa Sigauque, out in Chamanculo, one of the townships outside of Maputo. Chamanculo is an economically depressed area--the streets are sand and dirt. The more advantaged people live in one or two room structures that are concrete block wall with a tin roof. The less advantaged tie fabric or animal skins across lashed stick lattices in order to afford themselves a bit of privacy.
Casa Sigauque is run by Daniel Walter who had the vision of creating a space where the people in the neighborhood could come together to make music. The venue is set up like an open-air bar with the stage area partially covered by a thatched roof. He has an acoustic Story & Clark baby grand piano that is quite nice--apparently it has a whole system of blankets and padding to wrap up in when it's not in use, as it basically lives outdoors in a dusty neighborhood. It also serves as a home for a colony of mosquitos who, once the blankets were removed, lost their home.
The string instruments were not loving the breeze and the humidity, but despite that (on top of the fact that some of us felt quite ill from something that didn't agree with us at lunch), the concert was a big success. The people from the township who attended were super-enthusiastic and we got whoops and hollers and cheers after each piece. Daniel, our host, was really moved by the experience--he said that most of the people there had never had the chance to hear classical music live.
Most of the audience was genuinely appreciative and we got to talk to some of them. However, a few of the guys in the audience who were in the 18-20 demographic --and who had had way too much to drink-- liked us a bit *too*much and we had to scoot out of there rather abruptly to avoid being harassed more. Merritt kindly whisked us away in her car and Nyaka brought the instruments in the other vehicle.
We met Lynn for dinner back in Maputo. He had a colleague with him named Gary who works on various US Aid projects in northern Mozambique. He has drilled over 700 wells in the rural communities and is now working on an education project in that region--he had lots of interesting stories! At the end of the evening he very generously offered to buy dinner for the trio. We also enjoyed seeing Lynn again before we headed off the next day.
Sunday morning we were up early as we had been invited to play for brunch at the US ambassador's home. It is a stunning home with gorgeous sea views and the ambassador and his wife are really fantastic people. Really down to earth and genuine. At one point we had a spill on the buffet table and the ambassador was right there down on the floor helping to mop up the mess, despite the fact that he has an enormous staff. We had met the two of them Friday evening and it was great to see them again and enjoy their hospitality. We played for about 60-70 guests and after the event was over, we changed and left straight from there to drive back to Joburg. Nyaka had taken care of transferring our luggage over to the other vehicle so everything was set to go and we headed off with the new driver, Camilo (also a US Embassy driver who Merritt arranged to do our transport back to Joburg).
Our travel was uneventful- the highlight being the Portuguese coffee we had at a rest stop. We reached our hotel near the airport around 8:30pm.
Next morning we flew to Victoria Falls in Zimbabwe, and were met at the airport by Helen Hall and Sara. When Becky was in Zim last year she was hosted by Helen and her family. This time around they came over to enjoy the Falls with us for a day before heading to Bulawayo. We are staying at the Lokuthula Lodges which are a series of thatch-roof huts that open up right onto the bush on one side by raising the canvas walls. The hut has it's own kitchen and Helen brought food so we are being spoiled.
We mostly just rested after arriving on the plane--we have been short of sleep for days and days now. In the evening we walked over to the Boma which is a dinner place that ties in African foods and cultural traditions. During dinner we were entertained by traditional Zimbabwean dance and drumming--towards the end the audience was able to participate in a drumming circle as well as join the dancers on the stage. Some of the more exotic foods on the buffet included kudu, warthog, impala, a huge roast pig on a spit over the open fire, and mopani worms. Elisa had tried mopani worm before but couldn't get Maureen and Becky to try. ;-)