Laboratory for Interdisciplinary Statistical Analysis

Nampula, Mozambique

Posted by Marcos Carzolio -- Wed, 06/05/2013 - 6:36 pm

Marcos working hard at the training center.


Marcos and Ivo having lunch with two of the prospective enumerators, Zena and Salmata.


Eric teaching the enumerators how to eyeball-measure water volume. From left to right are Eric, Antonio, Lizete, Benvinda, and Silvio.


Marcos blogging and getting ready for bed. Boa noite!


Upon arriving in Nampula (or “Nampooler” as British Ralph likes to pronounce it) at night, the first thing one notices – really the only noticeable thing – is the dust. On the short walk from the 100-person aircraft to the 45-person airport, the only view is that of a dusty concrete runway illuminated by a handful of street lamps. More revealing is the drive into the city itself, with massive potholes and stretches of paved or unpaved sandy road. Only an off-road vehicle is truly equipped to handle these conditions.

Thankfully, we had Ivo and Wouter, two Dutch consultants hired for the project, to pick us up in the company SUVs. These two Nordic gentlemen work for WE Consult, a water and environmental consulting firm that supports several international NGO missions. They have been a mainstay to our project’s success: more on them later.

The house we were taken to will be my home-away-from-home for the next two months. With eight bedrooms, three bathrooms, a kitchen, a large living room turned office, and a separate guest house, it is more than enough space for what will end up being a camp for just Emily, Ivo, and me once the fieldwork begins. For now, the inhabitants are Ralph, Emily, Bacelar (a Mozambican working for WE Consult), Ivo, Wouter (pronounced “vow-ter”), Eric, Orlando (another Mozambican hired by WE Consult to train the enumerators), and myself. Jenna left without saying “goodbye” on Monday.  Kory and Maria are staying in a separate house.

I confess that the introduction to this post does not do Nampula justice. While the roads and sidewalks are not properly paved, and a thin layer of dust covers just about everything outside, there is a particular charm to the city. First, the people of Nampula are very friendly. Unlike in Maputo, they seem more comfortable with foreigners. The streets are lined with vendors, including my favorite “Carryout Rotunda,” which sells barbecued chicken and French fries for approximately $5.00 USD.  In the areas I have frequented, primary school children can walk freely to and from class. We live walking distance from a school of public health, a military academy, a communist mural and statue of Samora Machel (the Mozambican liberator), and a relatively massive Portuguese-built Catholic cathedral. But most impressive of all are the awesome hillside vistas of Nampula City’s green outer limits, with palm trees and inselbergs characterizing the horizon. I may be the first person to ever compare the view to Los Angeles.

Training for the survey enumerators began promptly on the Monday morning after we arrived. Over the past week, I have had a chance to meet and interact with these interviewers, who are mostly native to Nampula, and participate in the training with them. They have all been very friendly and inclusive in our exchanges. Wait until I actually start reporting their errors to them in the field.

Even more promptly than the start of training, however, was the arrival of our first water outage. These outages have been very frequent, due ironically to MCA-funded water and sanitation construction projects throughout the city. They have forced me to take my first bucket bath and to be more mindful of my water consumption. Combined with a broken hot-water heater in the bathroom upstairs, I have become very efficient in the shower. I now can scream and curse at the cold water in three different languages, soon to be four once Ivo teaches me some Dutch.

With many more updates to come, I would like to thank my readers and loved ones. I hope the content is entertaining and enlightening. I promise I am doing statistics in addition to having all of these experiences. Everything is going well, and I am very happy to be here.

The first picture is Marcos working hard at the training center.

The second picture is Marcos and Ivo having lunch with two of the prospective enumerators, Zena and Salmata.

The third picture is Eric teaching the enumerators how to eyeball-measure water volume. From left to right are Eric, Antonio, Lizete, Benvinda, and Silvio.

The fourth picture is Marcos blogging and getting ready for bed. Boa noite!

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I learned what an inselberg is!

Your West Coast readership is extensive and growing. Best wishes from another continent!