on 22 April 2008
I stumbled across this book after coming back from Mozambique, where I had visited the exact area which Ms. De Terán describes so lovingly in this book. And it is truly an extraordinary area (Ihla de Mozambique, Mossuril) - culturally, historically and geographically, and what Ms. De Terán has done in the area is admirable, and specially the descriptions of the Makua traditions are very valuable; Makua are a numerous and lively nation in Northern Mozambique of whom there has still been written too little. For just that the book is a great read, although Ms. Terán is clearly out to sell her project to sponsors. Nothing wrong with that though: Mossuril is poor, but at the same time one must not forget that other areas in the province of Nampula are much more isolated and poor than Mossuril. Ms. De Terán fails to mention that.
While I have no doubt of the financial woes she must have faced, I find it hard to believe that these financial woes are particilarly terrible compared to other projects: the promotion of the area by Ms. Teran has surely brought in many funds, as will the fancy and exclusive hotel currently being built at the Varandas.
While Ms. Teran writes well, the author at times falls into some traps of personal and self-justifying pocket-philosophy which can be tedious to get through and also, sometimes she is bitter at the people who have not helped her in her project with the tourism school in Mossuril.
That is a pity - working with poverty in such an area as Mossuril, doing the extraordinary work she has already done, is an uphill struggle, so the bitterness seems out of place in an otherwise positive book!
I find this book an absolute must-read if one is travelling to Northern Mozambique, and otherwise a good book for anyone else interested in Africa and working with poor people.
on 31 December 2007
Wonderfully inspiring. Mozambique Mysteries transports you to the Cabaceiras and leaves a little piece of your heart there.
This is a fine example of how grass roots development can make a difference to an entire community. Lisa Teran is a wonderful woman, as are the many local heroes helping her to get the project off the ground whilst dealing with the challenges and trials that they stumble across on an almost daily basis. Momade in particular struck me, Lisa's depiction of him demonstrates the strong rooted traditions that exist and how we should learn from and build on them, rather than try and change everything familiar.
It works as a travel book too, painting a vivid and emotional picture of daily life which entices you to seek out the Cabaceiras and Ilha. This is a little travelled area of Mozambique and I for one was won over. I hope to visit the project and when I do I will get there by Chapas!