Tuesday, May 20, 2008

from Multi-Cultural Mozambique to Rioting South Africa...

A week to enjoy Maputo was a great way of finishing our time in Mozambique before heading off to Cape Town two days ago. Luckily, we were able to stay with some friends we met up in the northern part of the country. The two fellows we stayed with are both Lebanese doctors, so we got a pretty good perspective on a number of things, including the Lebanon conflict, the practice of Islam, and Arabic perspectives on the US. Probably the most interesting story I heard was about getting fired on by Israeli soldiers while working for the Red Cross in the 2006 Israeli-Hezbollah war. Apparently that experience makes their work in land-mine detection seem "low risk."

South Africa is another world. The two most striking things about it for me are: 1) How 1st world Johannesburg and Cape Town seem, and 2) How dangerous things are here. Jo-burg is a collection of fortress-like houses and buildings. The recent xenophobic riots in the townships definitely didn't help our impressions either. The news has been pretty horrendous. I really hope the government does something about it, both short-term and long-term.

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