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We Need to Rally for Mozambique: Put Foot Rally and Idai

By March 30, 2019 No Comments

If we can play favorites, Mozambique is area we most look forward to visiting on our trek through Africa.  In light, or darkness, or recent events, we have even more complicated feelings we are hoping you can help us work through.  Our therapist is exhausted.

Imagine attempting to describe your daily life to a primitive man.  We report each day to a tiny cage called a cubicle and stare at a screen of a machine called a computer and make things called spread sheets. We do this to earn money, which is bills, but really we carry cards that tell someone how many bills we would have if we had bills and demand they give us anything we want even if we don’t need it. We cast a baby-faced Brendan Fraser to stare back at us with awe and glee and feel we are better than his goofy grin. Now attempt to explain the opposite. A few days every 365, we are set free. Then we abandon our microwaves and toilets and comfy beds to go on an adventure. We head to a remote wilderness to climb a mountain. His grin turns to grimace as he realizes you must be mad. Even Brendan assumes you have a severe illness and asks if there is a cure that comes from only one flower, which is only found on said mountaintop. You insist that you are fine and you are climbing the mountain only to come back down again.

Yes, we are spending our days and our imaginary bills on an excursion to Africa to participate in the Put Foot Rally. It is going to be grand. Recently we learned that there are men and women and children, who are quite grown and modern and aware, but have found themselves without any of the conveniences or shelter or water they are accustomed to. Their microwave is not connected to electricity, their toilet has no running water, and many have been clinging to roofs and treetops.  They are in our path. If you are not aware of the cyclone which landed in Mozambique on March 14, it is something we all should know about and something of which we Adventourists are keenly aware.

Idai

Almost all homes destroyed in Beira. Photo: Josh Estey/ CARE

Cyclone Idai hit ground in Mozambique as a category 4 hurricane mere days ago and has wreaked devastation specifically on one of Mozambique’s largest cities, Beira, population over 533,000 prior to the storm. Losses are likely never to be accurately counted as families were washed away, maybe leaving one member to remember and search forever for the lost. Bodies are being buried before being identified for the sake of respect and sanitation. Stories are told of pregnant women giving birth while clinging to treetops only to see their kin drop to the rushing water below. The first cases of Cholera have been reported as some desperately drink from the roadside or contaminated wells.  This may lead to a “second disaster” as the disease spreads.

It’s a lot to consider for a land that has built itself beyond what many expected. First established in 1891 as the headquarters of the Mozambique Company, it was taken by the Portuguese government in 1942, then earned its independence as Mozambique as recently as 1975. The town itself became a hub of import and export and in 2012 managed to convince the World Bank to invest $120 million in canals to protect it from floods and rising waters. The bank looked on in horror this month as it realized its efforts were not enough. Winds came at 240 kilometers an hour, and devoured structures built over the past hundred years, which were intended to survive less than half the intensity of this month’s storm. More than 90% of the city is destroyed. Today, some children don their bright uniforms and return to class, but they will share that classroom with countless refugees seeking shelter.

Yes, we will go out and back. We will learn about the world outside our cage. We will appreciate what we have that much more when we return, even the opportunity to escape for a bit by watching a silly film. Whatever happened to Brendan Fraser anyway? We Adventourists combine our adventures with charity.  In this way, we hope to make more sense and use of our neanderthal ways.  We have supported work with climate change.  This trip we will be providing shoes to school children.  Considering these new circumstances, there must be more we can do for Mozambique.  There is always more.  We are looking into ways we can help before, during and after the rally, especially when we are feet on the ground. Here is what we have found so far. If you have more information on what we can do to assist, please list it in the comments. We are all ears and hearts and hands.

Sincerely,
The Adventourists

Beira, Mozambique
Beira after the storm. Photo: Sergio Zimba/Oxfam