Miscellaneous Houses of Worship

Dear Rev. Dr. Barbara D. Rowe, BS, MBA, MDiv, DMin,
Here is a sampling of churches I saw in Mozambique. None of them are mainsteam Protestant churches. There are a lot of Papists. There are some Pentacostals (didn't get a picture though). There are a lot of Mosques. I didn't speak to anybody there about religion.

Catholic Church in Namaacha:

Catholic Church in Nampula:

Mosque on the coast of Nampula Province, near Ilha de Moçambique:

Church of Santo Antonio on Ilha de Moçambique:

500 years of Jesus:

There is also a beautiful little church, the Chapel of Nossa Senhora de Baluarte, the oldest European structure in the southern hemisphere, which will have its own post here shortly.


Scenes from the Lebombo

My Rowe aunts would feel right at home here - goats everywhere - baby goats, big mean old goats, all kinds of goats. We didn't ever see any goat dairy products though, only saw milk once, sold in little single-serving baggies... I guess they are mostly for meat? Don't tell the 'cousins'! (those would be my aunts' goats, in case anyone is wondering.) The goats eat well out here too, lots of grass and bushes and moldy old fruit and lounging in the shade. Wish I could say the same for the people! They are slaving away, carrying water to the goats and making charcoal to roast the goats. Also using tiny ball peen hammers to make pink rhyolite gravel road base (yes, by hand) for that nice tar road these goats are crossing.

Life in the Lebombo mostly in traditional rondavels - these are constructed of a stick frame which is sheathed either by tying bundles of reeds around it and plastering over with mud, or by jamming rocks into the frame and mudding over that. This one is under construction. When someone moves out, the house just melts down in the next rainy season to leave a donut-shaped mound of mud on the ground.

Lots of changes evident from the colonial days... Here's an old country manor house with a lovely stream in front of it, dammed to make a nice lilly pond. We came upon it while looking for outcrop in the low-lying weathered basalts. It's all overgrown with plants inside now. As Sila just suggested - maybe it hasn't been occupied by anyone because it's too big to roof without timbers? Or maybe it just has bad vibes.

The Lebombo is conspicuously empty of animals. Mozambique generally is quiet of animals - no mammals, few birds, lots of sub-bite sized lizards are left. People were very hungry during the civil wars. Finding owls in the quarries made me happy, even though I took a rather poor photograph.

One population who has found a home in rural Mozambique is the white farmers who have been ejected from Zimbabwe in the past several years. Mozambique invited them to stay - recognizing that a few white farmers could manage a lot of food production and jobs - and speed the recovery from the war years. A kind couple in the hills outside Namaacha are setting up a bit of a guest lodge on their land. This is an African wildcat who they rescued from a creek after a fire as a tiny kitten. He's now the king of the farm anyway. He's a bit bigger than an ordinary housecat - but like a coyote back home - when you see how he moves and looks at you, you don't mistake him for a housecat. Still a kitten though, when you tease him with a blade of grass.

The border post town of Namaacha (gateway to Swaziland) must have been a cool mountain refuge for the Portugese that built it -this is the high school - we stayed at a nice brand new and creepily empty conference hotel. It was a huge hotel with a big restaurant/bar and servers who commuted from Maputo for week-long shifts - English speaking - and we were the only guests for 3 nights. There is a big business in Mozambique just catering to UN, UNESCO, USAid, WWF.... you name it, they pay in US$.

Next post (by request!) : Houses of worship.


RIFTCLASTIC! And Rhyolite and Basalt - Lebombo

Ha, I will punish you non-geologist by talking about rocks before talking about people and animals. Why? Because that's my job. Santa Cruz has the "Poleta Punisher", the "Polish Punisher"... What can I be? Anyway....

Beautiful quarries like this one are carved out of the Lebombo Rhyolites, in particular the Seca Beds rhyolites. They are making road base and building stone out of solid volcanic rock. The basalts in the area are generally quite rotten and spongey and make good banana soil but bad building stone. In this area, holes are drilled by hand or by little generator powered drill, then blasted, then the rocks are broken down by hand and sorted with a dump truck and a grizzly. The quarries here are richer and the people poorer than in the north. Here's an inactive quarry in pink rhyolite

One mystery not yet solved by the mappers (from geophysical data) and geochemists (from ... geochemical data) is: where's the vent? Where did this rhyolite erupt and which direction did it flow? No volcanologists have spent any time out here sorting the mess between the ignimbrites, volcanic breccias, flows, glassy blocks, etc.... so as a structural geologist I did the only thing I know how to do, measured folds... [Diversion - SILVA COMPASSES SUCK they are not fit for any geological purpose aside from being CHEAP, IMPRECISE, WORTHLESS, in short, their only value is that you can give them to UNDERGRADUATES]... hoping the flow folds will plot up nicely and give us a flow direction?! Time will tell...

While peeling back layers of pumicy rhyolite and glassy rhyolite to get at a fold axis (and by "peeling" I mean "crushing with a sledge hammer to make a satisfying glass-tinkly sound") I uncovered a tiny bat which had been trapped between layers and dessicated. I include this here because it's not a living animal, more like a fossil or a mummy, therefore geological. Inset photo: closeup on bat. Outset photo: Jodie happy to have strange dead thing to add to her display case coffee table.

As an aside, there is this bubbly-like texture on what appear to be both top and bottom surfaces of some rhyolite beds - and sometimes lining cavities - looks like bubbles but they are actually solid glass, and seem to be internally flow banded coherently with external flowbanding. A weathering spheroidal texture? Maybe but some are stretched out, like spherical prisms (if there is such a shape?) Not sure what they are, Jodie will work it out with a volcanologist friend... Cool anyway, no?

This is the only good basalt outcrop we found, it's directly under a cap of hard rhyolite and will likely weather to banana dirt soon! (Geologically soon.) BUT CHECK OUT THE GORGEOUS COLUMNS! These are among the nicest ones I've ever seen. Question: why do they change orientation? Answer: the isotherms were curved during cooling. Question: Why did the isotherms curve? Answer: Ek weet nie. HA! That's AFrikaans for I don't know. I'm learning Afrikaans phrases from an Australian. Oh dear.

And finally, but not least, the volcaniclastic sediments. These are sediment that are interbedded with the volcanics, laid down by (in this case) a river running through and within the active volcanic field, so they are very chemically immature and almost identical to the volcanic rocks themselves, only by their sedimentary structures are they different than volcanic rock. Since they are sandstone-siltstone-conglomerate and the volcanics are demonstrably rift-related I am taking the liberty of calling them RIFTCLASTIC (which will always remind me of Randi, Marci, Ian... that crew... structure 06... but I digress!) although that term is usually used (in the USA where somethings are still better than here, such as EARTHQUAKES) to describe a fanglomerate (oooh smack!) deposited off the footwall, into the graben, or similar... a molase.... but I think these qualify. It was quite gratifying to note that the sequence resembles the Connecticut Valley sediments in the neighborhood of Smith College. Riftclastic indeed. Sadly, no fossils were discovered, body or trace. True afficianados will note a tiny structural feature (or set of features) in this photograph.... At least I hope so because Jodie and I climbed a 800' cliff in thorn trees and sticky piles of bug-attracting rotten fruit to confirm this lithology and acquire said photograph...


Miss My Dad

Wading through the grass out here, looking for outcrop - a bit off the road and all of a sudden you forget the road was there, no cars on it anyway - the wind has a snap to it and the air seems to be changing temperature quickly - for some reason I hear my dad's voice in my head saying,

"This is what the First Man saw, we are looking through his eyes now...",

and for a second I'm thinking, "Yah, Dad, that's awesome, this is amazing".

And Dad-in-my-head goes on, "... except not from the water, because he was an aquatic ape, see, and he would have parked his submarine under the pyramids over there that the aliens helped build out of solid gold..."

And Me-in-my-head goes, "Now wait a minute dad, there's no evidence for the aquatic ape theory, and besides, first evidence of man is farther north in the rift valleys, and wait a minute, MAN, anyway, you forget about LUCY obviously, you patriarchal schmuck...."

Overview of the Trip to Mozambique

Big country! Also a small country. A few comments about geography before I get to the travelogue. At the southern corner, Mozambique is bounded by Swaziland and the two are engulfed by South Africa. The famous Kruger Park lies along this triple-junction and there is an effort underway to grow it as a 3-nation wildlife preserve. Thus far the "South African" elephants have been wandering into much poorer Mozambique and getting poached - but we met an international conference of game veternarians with representation from USAiD and WWF and I think there is some money behind the problem - gladly, also to build skills economy in the surrounding region and prevent poaching by assisting with human health as well as animal health.

Sorry for posting a photo of 2 juxtaposed slightly differently scaled, differently aged geologic maps in Portugese, but what can I do. The power was out at the DNG. Lorenço Marques was the Portugese name for Maputo.

Check out the purple/pink units along the western edge of the map - These are the Lebombo Volcanics. You can see that they continue both north and south into South Africa, where they have been studied. The Lebombo (or Lubombo) "Mountains" begin about 40km inland from Maputo. The highest ridge defines the borders between Mozambique-Swaziland. Geologists refer to this area as the Lebombo Monocline (means all the beds gently dip the same way) or the Lebombo Bimodal Volcanics - as the rocks here are either basalt or rhyolite. More on that later.

The second week was spent in the Nampula area - This Google Earth image shows the city of Nampula in the lower left (find the airstrip) and the outskirts to the east and north. Flat, flat land. 15-ft Ant Hills but Dad has never heard of this so he says there are not. And then there are... "inselbergs"... gneissic and granitic monoliths, looking like Half Dome (or Whole Dome), jutting every which way out of the landscape. Google Earth doesn't show them up so well, but there are many:

As you can see from the plane while descending into Nampula:

I'm getting carried away here so I'll quit - suffice to say that these provide tiny areas of perfect outcrop in an otherwise impermeable landscape - More on that later.

Sad News in Maputo

A terrible disaster in Maputo - it seems Mozambique has gotten kicked when down so many times this year. First the Zambezi floods, then Cyclones, now an armory explosion in the city has killed at least 72 people. My heart goes out to them! It's a beautiful country with everything in place to begin lifting out of poverty, if they can just get a break. Guardian Story.


Maputo, Moçambique!

Hey, I'm back! Moçambique was amazing. Note that it is still pronounced the same as "Mozambique" when spelled "Moçambique" -

I guess I'll start at the beginning - this post will be about the Capital City of Mozambique... we were there three times so the pictures are not all from the same day...

Jodie and I flew into Maputo on 5 March. Maputo is actually a huge, sprawling, humid, stinky city but none of my pictures reflect that somehow. The old part of the city though is quite nice with a lot of trees and broad open streets. We stay in the area around Eduardo Mondlane Blvd, which is near the beach front and has lots of embassies and consulates. The streets are in horrible shape - bomb damage from the civil war has not been repaired, and the city is on soft sand which is clearly creeping around and making its way up the cracks, further undermining the concrete. Rural highways are in great shape however.

So anyway, between the airport and the downtown is sort of high density market/suburb/informal settlement residential space - masonry houses are crowded together with lean-to shacks and there are a lot of people and an assortment of livestock. Things are for sale everywhere, including some beautiful hardwood furniture and doors which come from the central/northern coast, and this lovely muffler tree:

The following morning, we went to the Moçambique DNG. There was no electricity at the building so people were just sitting around in their desks, chatting on cell phones and sending SMS (aka text messages). Naturally it was obscenely hot and humid and we had to see people on the 10th floor, then 2nd, then 4th, then 2nd, then 10th, etc etc. We bought one of the maps we needed but couldn't get the other as they didn't have a hard copy and the power was out. Director Daudi was very nice and helpful and I had the feeling that his direction was very important to the future of the DNG as it evolves/matures. Mozambique is very mineral rich and it seems like a race to bring the level of professional expertise/control in the country to the point where it can hold its own against sophisticated mining conglomerates who are knocking from all directions. Many large new projects are underway - a new giant mineral sands mine is opening in the next few months - one of the world's richest mineral sands for Titanium.

The view down from said 10th floor shows some of the features of the city - very Portugese/European garden squares - This photo also shows the old fort from which the river mouth was defended in the earlier days of the colony - we didn't hire an English speaking guide here so unfortunately I can't tell you anything about it. No signage.

Somehow my city photos have managed to completely omit the grit - Here's another view from the DNG offices of a cathedral or something - there are angels and Marys and Bartolomeu Diaz ("discoverer" of the cape) and Luís Vaz de Camões (poet) statues, bronzes, marble, everywhere in the city - anyway, in the left foreground you can see a bombed-out shell of a fancy colonial structure - these are all over the city - some have been reoccupied, some few are under repairs - most are just slowly falling in on themselves...

On our next stop through Nampula, Jodie and I explored a bit more and waited for Lee-ann (Jodie's Honours Student from Stellenbosch) to fly in. We went down to the beach! Even though the recent spate of cyclones left the waters pretty muddy, it was quite beautiful:
I spent some time chatting with a kid who was from Johannesberg, visiting cousins - he told me, "America has a dirty coast and a clean coast. The dirty coast is New York. The clean coast is Las Vegas". Heh heh.

We chilled out with a pitcher of sangria...

Snapped this one from a moving car (Jodie continually making fun of me for doing that). I'm not sure what these are called, because they're not really what the women wear - Mozambiquan ladies wear wraps (as long skirts usually) made from brightly coloured fabric with HUGE printed motifs, sometimes also a border- supposedly they originated from bolts of fabric intended for table clothes for Portugese tables but the look took off and now it is certainly home grown, with large portraits of Samora Machel being a popular pattern. They're heavier than a sarong, more like quilting cotton, and they're called Ca' polana (as in, "house of Polana", Polana was a chief or something). Given that the ones in this photo bear the images of African animals I think they were made to appeal to tourists, as Mozambiquans (in my brief experience) show a strong preference for Coca Cola and Vodocom motifs.

Phew, finally out of the city. I'll post next about the rural Lebombo Mountains, and more about Samora Machel....



I'm out of touch for a couple weeks - got my Malaria pills, no bad dreams yet. Check back after the 20th! Jerry Fredricks will be holding down the apartment here March 8-13 so ring him if you like 27 21 689 8996