Maputo, Mozambique Report of what it's like to live there - 05/17/10

Personal Experiences from Maputo, Mozambique

Maputo, Mozambique 05/17/10

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Yes.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Brasilia, Brazil.

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3. How long have you lived here?

2 years.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Brazilian diplomat.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Some big houses around the embassy area. Expect to pay at least USD 2000 a month.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Groceries and appliances, not too bad. Everything is imported, but from their next door neighbor. Furniture is difficult and a bit expensive, though.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Furniture, bookcases.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Only KFC! Price is low.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

MALARIA! Watch for the mosquitoes. Nets are a must for children, and different neighborhoods have more or less incidence.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Plenty and cheap. Not every worker is good, but with some patience you can find decent people.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Some.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

There are many, and I was always able to draw money from my US account in local currency.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

I know there are plenty, because of the South African community.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

You can get cable, but is not cheap.

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

My first language is Portuguese, so I didn't have any problems. But I know that in malls and banks you can find people who speak English.

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Many, as you can imagine.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

You should have the phone number of at least 2 or 3 taxi drivers you trust, which are not too hard to find.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

You need an SUV or a jeep.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Same as above.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Buy one there. Getting a pre-paid account is very easy.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

Not in Mozambique. But try to ship them through Lisbon, not Johannesburg, to avoid quarantine in the connecting flight.

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

There is at least one good vet.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Yes, among international agencies.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Government and diplomatic people wear suit and ties.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Burglaries happen a lot. Find an enclosed area (better) or get an electric fence.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

MALARIA. They have the necessary medicines, but sometimes the doctors are not too good. Some people had bad experiences with the most recommended hospitals.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Good, except in the crowded avenues, where it is moderate.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Wet the whole year, and hot in the summers - though less so than in Rio de Janeiro.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There are American, French, Italian and Portuguese Schools, and an International one, which is not very good. Also a few small private schools with classes in English, which are a bit better and not as expensive as the American School

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Big. Not only there are many embassies, but also lots of International cooperation.

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2. Morale among expats:

Pretty good, as far as I know. People are not enthusiastic about Maputo, but I haven`t seen anyone who strongly dislikes.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Some bars, one good concert hall.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Mostly yes, though it may get a little boring.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not that I`ve seen. Lots of Indian/Pakistani immigrants, and people of Portuguese origin (white), and they seem to get along well. The bantu groups are many, but they have less problems than in other African countries.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

I like the old part of the city (the "Baixa") and the Kruger park, across the border.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Some bars and restaurants, with lots of different foods (though service is slow). If you want to see nature, take the car to South Africa.

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Statues, small craft.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

It is very close to South Africa, which has great safaris and very good shopping. The diplomatic passport helps you through the border faster.

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11. Can you save money?

Yes, if housing is covered by your government.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Warm clothes.

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3. But don't forget your:

Malaria medicines. Take them as soon as you get typical symptoms, don`t wait a lot for the dyagnosys. If you have been to South America, bear in mind that African Malaria is MUCH more dangerous.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Anything from Mia Couto.

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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6. Do you have any other comments?

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