1. Arrival: Rainy season

It is rainy season.

1.1 I arrived in Ilha just in time to gatecrash the event of the year – or maybe rather the event of the decade and the first one of its kind since the war. The wedding of a European architect living in Ilha to a woman from Maputo took place this Saturday. Luckily the event was in the afternoon, just after the rain stopped, and after the three hour church service the guests flown in from Northern Europe and Maputo danced the night away in the enormous dining hall of a recently transformed warehouse, now hotel and luxury private apartment with a spacious roof terrace and swimming pool. The chandeliers are still in a container making its way down to Nacala port, with estimated time of arrival next month.

1.2 In the macuti town, the walkways are full of water, and courtyards and ruins without roofs are perfect breeding ground for mosquitos, full of still water with no escape. In the hot sun, water lift in cavities which cannot percolate goes green. A drainage system for the macuti town was developed with international development aid money half a decade ago. However, the project was never completely finished. The gutters are not covered, since there was no more budget for this, even if covering the gutters was part of the original project proposal. The pumps never work, since they need petrol to run, and money for petrol can always be used for something else.

1.3 In the carefully transformed guesthouse where I stay next to the main mosque, awaiting my own little house to rent, it is raining as well. The colourful courtyards renovated by a European architect who settled on the island 11 years ago, take on another life.


About Silje

Architect and PhD Candidate based in Copenhagen, Denmark, but working mainly with heritage conservation and urban development in Ilha de Moçambique 2011-13. You can contact me on macutiblog at gmail dot com
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6 Responses to 1. Arrival: Rainy season

  1. René says:

    Thanks for sharing! I fell completely in love with Ilha de Moçambique when we were there during Christmas. Unfortunately (and unsurprisingly, I’m afraid) I forgot the camera charger and so our pictures are from an old Nokia phone. Alas, it’s fantastic to see those great shots.

    Further, it is great to learn more about Macuti Town where we didn’t spend nearly time enough (we were turists, after all). It was a very interesting read. Keep it up!

    A little thing on technicalities: It says nowhere what the copyrights of your blog are (which means that you claim all rights). Any chance you could be convinced to go for a license where it is alright to use you pictures? I usually go for Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike.

    • Silje says:

      Actually, René, I decided to put a copyright stamp on the photos from now on instead. So you are free to use them like that – or I can send you some if there are some in particular you would like to have. Of course I would like people to use my photos!

  2. Silje, these photos are beautiful. I would like to share the link for your blog with our listserve on Portuguese speaking Africa, h-luso-africa, http://www.h-net.org/~lusoafri/ – would that be okay? I found you via David Morton. If you wish to join our list, we would be glad to have you, we have over 600 subscribers and have been around since 2002.
    You can reach me at ksheldon@ucla.edu.

    • Silje says:

      Thank you Kathleen. I would be happy to share the blog with the h-luso subscribers. David told me about the list, and I believe I am signed up already. More readers make me commit to really posting regularly on the Macuti blog, which is great.

  3. Esma van Schalkwyk says:

    Dear Silje,
    I am writing a book 1830 – 1888 and do not know how mechants travelled from Ilha to mainland. Did the dock at Ilha or didi they go to the mailand to trade. If you should know my headach would be less. enjoying your blog.

  4. Carlos Beca says:

    Hi Silje
    I found this blog a while back but only today somehow I got the message I believe posted yesterday. The reason I joined the blog is that I was so curious to know what is happening in Mozambique and especially Beira, where I was born. I left in 1975 and I have not been back ever since. Tried to get a picture of my parents house but I have not been able to get it.
    i will be reading your post and I hope to be able to make any comment after.
    This is just to say hi and to let you know that I do read this blog.

    Thank you

    Carlos Beca

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