Tuesday, 23 September 2008


As far as I remember my school times, the Spring starts today, at least officially. We have here in the hotel lobby a lit map showing the daily sunny/dark zones of the Earth, on a Mercator projection, and today the lines are straight up. In winter or summer, for the non conversant with this topic, the lines show as parabolas: lots of shade in one hemisphere and lots of sun in the other.

I have just checked Wikipedia for that and the English version says that Spring in the south goes from September 1 to November 30! The guys do not know it: Wiki's a democratic and participatory encyclopedia! The version in Portuguese, however, shows the culturally defined Spring (primavera) to be in the southern hemisphere from September 23 to December 21.

Here in Maputo this is very clear. Yesterday, socks and jacket and shoes and today 36 degrees C! I remember that in Dar es Salaam the water in the swimming pool was in one day cool and in the following day the summer soup temperature again. There is no seeing the tree buds slowly coming out. No. They literally burst open.

The major news is the shake (??) of capitalism (who really believes the right guys/things/ companies will be covered by the bailout? Even the US congressmen are openly saying they do not want the CEO of the broken companies walking out richer than ever. And usually they're all friends), represented by the adrenaline high in Wall Street. We've got friends whose daughter is a financial broker over there and get end of the year bonuses with 6 figures. And she's less than 30 years of age.

In other news: there was a coup in South Africa and nobody is calling it so. How can the party remove the president AND choose another person? I even cannot find on the net who's supposed to be the Constitutional successor! The Parliament's spokes-person? I'm open-mouthed. So the people elect the party and then the "party" does whatever it thinks it's ok. That was all I found, in a quick research: "according to the South African Constitution, Parliament elects the president from among its members, dominated by the ANC since 1994". So, there we go. The party elects the president. Actually, in elections one does not vote on candidates, the people vote on the party, and the party chooses the people.

And still in another news: the inflation rate in Zimbabwe, according to the latest estimates, reached the 123 zeros after any figures that keep changing anyway. Of course, transactions with money are simply not physically feasible anymore. A friend showed me a bill of 50 billion Zim dollars, and said that on that day (about three weeks ago) it could buy a bread loaf or a newspaper.

And what are the leaders doing? Discussing how many ministries each party of the "deal" - ZANU and MDC - will "have". Yes, HAVE. People around here and there HAVE government ministries - very much as in Brazil, really.

In Mozambique, people working in education know for quite a while that many (most?) children can not read and write and count and calculate after primary schooling (5 years). It seems that some weeks ago a TV channel showed those schooled children "not reading" - not being able to read - simple texts. The power of TV! The Government acted as it was a great revelation, meaning, it acted with great precipitation and great visibility. And all the others watch speechless or deliberately mute.

In Brazil, well, I have no idea, I know the same as you.

On the other hand, watching BBC on TV is like watching only a police documentary: killings and killings and of course the US quick enrichment tricksters.

I had a little break in work today, to change my mind from one assignment to the other. Weekend was working throughout. I have to work now. Cheers.