Expression Is Enough

DSC01746Mogundula Island, Mozambique.

We arrived by boat to this secluded island which is 4 kilometres off the mainland of Northern Mozambique. As soon as we debarked the boat, our presence was immediately noticed. Our white skin was a rarity on this undisturbed land where there was no running water or electricity.  We pitched our tents and starting exploring with our guide. Within the first few minutes, we were surrounded by local children who were fascinated not only by our skin but by my camera. I took photos and videos of the children and replayed it back to them. They ran around shouting and screaming in awe of the technology and of having seen themselves on the camera screen. They followed us around the entire island making the most of the passing tourists. Unfortunately, after a while they started nagging us for our possessions (hat, sunglasses, bracelet etc). There were about 30 children around us and to give to one would only incite jealousy with the others.

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During the tour, I took photos completely at random. The result was exactly what I wanted. The expression on their faces says it all. The joy and excitement evoked by the children, their willingness to play and enjoy the passers-by. Their happiness yet shallow desperation and curiosity as to who we are and where we are from.DSC01733We only spent one brief night here, however one night was enough. Apart from the beautiful view there is very little to do and very little opportunity on this island. Tourists come and go however the locals have no way of escaping their antiquated way of life with the little income they make. Mogundula island stands still in history.

A Silversmith at Work, Mozambique

DSC01663We visited this Silversmith on Ibo Island, Mozambique. Inside a run down shack, which overlooked the waterfront, were three men crafting hand made jewellery. There was a tranquil yet wearisome atmosphere in the shack where time passed slowly and every day was the same. The island (which is far behind the efficiencies of the western world) felt in need of a change, a rejuvenation to break through the barriers of monotony and inject new life into its inhabitants. Unfortunately the Mozambican government is unable provide this.  DSC01668

 

The Ghost town of Ibo Island, Mozambique

I have never been to a place like this.

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The Portuguese occupied this island ( which is off the northern coast of Mozambique) until 1975. Since then absolutely nothing has changed or advanced. The buildings (which date back to the 1700s) are on the precipice of collapse, the roads are non-existent and the flora and fauna out of control. The island receives hardly any financial help from the government on the mainland and so the locals are virtually forgotten about and left to fend for themselves on an island devoid of prosperity.

They have, however, invested in a loudspeaker on top of the mosque (a clever tactic to successfully propagate their ideas and indoctrinate the young).
Families on this island also tend to have many children even if they do not have the money to feed and raise them. Instead of a better life for the few, there is a worse life for the many.

Only a handful of tourists visit this island a year and white people (musungu) are still an unknown attraction here. The local people rarely leave the island and have little knowledge of what lies beyond.

Ibo Island does boast wonderful beaches and views however this is all marred by the society and people who are still living centuries behind their capabilities. This place is like stepping into a war-torn film set; Ibo is a ghost town.