in a kayak

15 days into the trip we arrived to a town named Pebane. A few colonial stone buildings with wrinkles of 40 years of no maintenance stamped on their face... The rest are small houses made of bamboo, the strong ones are filled with mud. The central street - another reminder from the colonial period - is a wide boulevard probably planned for the rapid traffic in the busy center of the town. These days an old truck slowly zigzags between the puddles and holes in the pavement. The silence is then restored for another half an hour. Nearby the boulevard there is a playing field where the residents play football. We are surprised to see that one of the players is not black skinned. He is Chinese working for a company that searches minerals. "You know what?" - he tells me - "I'm not sure whether I want to find here any minerals". "What do you mean? Isn't it your job and hence your profit?" - I ask him quite confused. "Indeed it is", he replies. "However if we find the minerals, the industrialization will come right afterwards. The life of the local people will change. Why should we spoil their happiness?"

That's exactly what I was thinking looking at the life of these simple Mozambicans: they are so poor, they live so simple life, and yet they seem to be much happier than us, the Westerners. They are extremely curious, they dance on the streets, they laugh, they sing, they tell jokes, they are so welcoming and they are always willing to help. It seems that somehow they retain the simple joyful nature of a child who lives the current moment, and plans very little for tomorrow. We met so many simple villagers who wore rags and ate almost nothing but mandioca and yet they used the little money they had to buy a radio. They walked with the radio then everywhere and danced to the wonderful sounds of Marrabenta.

Could it be that the key for happiness that we desperately search in the woods is just under our own feet?

Misha Hoichman
28 days in the Indian Ocean along the coastline of Mozambique... Well, what is there to see? Why to go to such a remote place, a place where the locals havent seen any white man before (if I can be considered white...)?
I think it gives some proportion in life. Proportions that we in the Western world have already forgotten.

We do not need to be rich to be happy. Mozambique is one of the poorest countries in the world. In many areas of Mozambique people are most of the time hungry. They don't have money, they don't have a car and all the other things we are used to in the Western civilization. However, they don't look sad or miserable. On the contrary, they seem to be happy, smiling and laughing a lot.
For us it was great to see how happy they where when they had the opportunity to help us taking the kayak from the water, laughing at the two crazy white men arriving from the sea with waves that prevent the locals from fishing. We didn't feel as tourists who came to see a different world but more as exhibits shown to the whole village surrounding us curiously, wanting to know what are we doing there.

After few days paddling in the high waves we decided to enter the delta of the Zambezi to avoid the high waves. In the Zambezi delta we started to wander around, although knowing the exact GPS coordinates on the imaginary Soviet map from the 70's, but not knowing where exactly to go. We met two fishermen who helped us find the way to the next village which was few days ahead.
At that time I felt sick having a stomach ache and wanted to see a doctor.
Then I thought about the local people. This is their everyday life:
in case they need a doctor they need to walk or paddle for few days to get to the village where the doctor visits every three weeks.

Youval Nehmadi
Day Location Dist
Start Beira
1 13 nm
2 S 1933.184'
E 3517.706'
19 nm
3 S 1922.634'
E 3528.162'
16 nm
4 S 1907.165'
E 3541.460'
25 nm
5 S 1855.974'
E 3600.875'
25 nm
6 S 1852.625'
E 3604.842'
12 nm
7 Matilde 27 nm
8 Chinde 25 nm
9 Chinde 0
10 S 1819.769'
E 3643.279'
25 nm
11 S 1804.809'
E 3557.097'
23 nm
12 S 1748.987'
E 3708.754'
24 nm
13 S 1735.315'
E 3729.878'
27 nm
14 S 1723.420'
E 3753.025'
28 nm
15 Pebane 19 nm
16 Pebane 0
17 S 1708.131'
E 3830.443'
28 nm
18 S 1701.464'
E 3856.447'
30 nm
19 Moma 30 nm
20 S 1637.372'
E 3932.751'
24 nm
21 S 1626.373'
E 3949.944'
28 nm
22 Angoche 19 nm
23 Angoche 0
24 S 1603.456'
E 4006.127'
21 nm
25 S 1552.391'
E 4012.948'
26 nm
26 S 1536.932'
E 4025.724'
22 nm
27 S 1515.189'
E 4040.671'
30 nm
28 Ilha de Mozambique 20 nm
Total 586 nm (1084 km)
Average per day 20.9 nm (38.7 km)
Average per paddling day 23.4 nm (43.4 km)

Last updated: December, 2010