Sunday, November 28, 2010

I’m going to Mombasa…benvenidos a Mombasaaaa

If anyone actually keeps up with the blog, u must hate the flow cuz my updates are sporadic as my writing style. Anyway I am making a firm commitment to post at least once a week, b.c it makes me happy and hopefully serves as a fun read for you as well.

Anyway, this was written in the new Maputo international airport for the first leg of my journey and I must say I was a bit apprehensive of my new surroundings. Why? If you have never been to the old Maputo airport, it was the bee’s knees….correction….for my travel needs it was the bees knees.

Technology? No. Customer service? Average. Shopping? Minimal selection. Overall? Mediocre.

However that was the best part, no real hassle at all- no immigration official giving u the evil eye; no HUGE security; staying an extra 15 mins in line while ur Western passport holders waltz through , it really is a no frills get it over with place. This is probably due to the lack of high security checks and the like; but while it might not be the most secure flight, it def works for me. I also a firm believer that unless a terrorist wants to be laughed at the terrorist convention, no one is gonna bomb/hijack flights from Mozambique (knock on wood).

Then comes this fancy new Maputo International Airport…and I did not appreciate it at all… it was impeding on my baby, the old Maputo intl (now Maputo domestic..ohh how far the mighty have fallen). However I was pleasantly surprised and it too was a no frills no hassle airport. I partially blame the lack of training on the new tech at the airport-while entering my info at the check in counter, the guy gave the comp the “WTF?” look …again repeated at security...which were both answered with an…”uhhhh just go through.”

However…my love is like J-Lo…it don’t cost a thing, but u can fool me by the rocks that u got, cuz I am Aman from the block…I am not easly fooled by Maputo International Airport.

I do think at some point my fellow Africans will be trained on the technology, and the WTF looks will turn into “step aside please”…and alas Maputo, the no hassle airport, will be converted into….Maputo FML international….like all the other international airports, especially JFK.

Wow that was a long ass post on just the am out like Jenny from the block…

Wait!!!!! I thought this was about Mombasa, says the avid reader…to which I reply-please see earlier references on my ability to entertain a single train of thought. Tune in next time for ….

“Mombasa the return!!!” (need to know how include Chinese –esk roman alphabet on blogspot)

Monday, October 4, 2010

Creative lying...

now dont get your panties in a bunch; recently my lying has increased since I got a car. The reason...well I am in a habit of lying to govt. officials (in the states it was immigration-how long have u been out the country for?) and now in Moz its the Police. However, rather than the irritation I felt when lying to immigration, lying to Mozambican police is now one of my favorite past times-at least the past three times its happned.

To give you a bit of contextual background, people are often (not always) stopped for a bribe-not only in Moz, but in Kenya, Ethiopia, Guatemala, pretty, much most developing countries. Usually the po-pos try and find a half reasonable excuse for a bribe (seatbelts, license, windshield wipers, have you drank a beer, etc.)-that is when you have to use your creative thinking aka lying skills to see if you can get away with it...or at least provide an interesting story

Story#1-Dont mess with a Muslim brother!!!
Scene-Roomate and I coming from Rua de Arte-unfortunately a serious dosage of expats and bad dancing- lame night... until we get stopped by our friendly neighborhood bribe looking Policia, grrrreat

Police: License, Registration, and identification
Me: Ok
Police: Why is your friend not wearing a seat belt
Me: We just left a friends house-lie #1; but you know my friend is from Canada, they love rules so much, they cant get enough of them. You know and I know that they like wearing seat belts he just forgot. But honestly he LOVES seatbelts!-lie#2
Police: Ok...have you been drinking (clearly weirded out by me).
Me:Are you serious, look at my name! It says Aman(peace in Arabic)! You know I am muslim, and we do not drink, I am muslim. (insert serious face)-lie#3 (not really muslim)
Police: Ofcourse, yes we dont need to test you (what test??) but your friend here (who is not driving).
Me: Well he is not driving, but please he is from Canada!-clearly i must have been at least tipsy-
Police: Ok ...ok just leave....
Me: Ma'Sallama (goodbye in arabic)

Story#2 I hope he doesnt read english
Police: License and registration
Me: Pull out my expired american license (i am too lazy to get the international one)
Police: What license is this?
Me: Its an American International license -Lie#1
Police: No it is not
Me: Yes it is; see a lot of people were forging the international licenses like the ones you see, so you have to scan it to know that it is one, using the machine. We can go scan it at the police station if you have the scanner-lie#2
Police: It does not say international
Me: Pointing at the endorsements/organ donor section (which say none). See here is says No restrictions, which means I can drive anywhere. Lie#3
Police: Ok, drive slower next time

Story#3-no license, no id, just me and my bag of trix
Police: License and registration
Me: Ohh I forgot my license, and I forgot my documents as well
Police: Well........
Me: Its ok, lets go the embassy my dad is the Ambassador of Sudan (is there even a sudanese embassy here?!?!)-lie#1
Police: You are not driving a diplomatic car
Me: I know, it belongs to a friend. We can also go to the police station no problem, let me call my dads secretary and they can meet you there.
Police: What is your name (pretending to take it down)
Me: Aman Mubarak (name of my fav camel in Eritrea) Walad Abdulrahim
Police: Just go.

and that my friends is how its done. Please dont pay the bribe though, it just encourages them to stop more people for $ next time. If you are in the wrong either use your creative thinkning or demand to go to the police station, and do things the right way (yes I am a hypocrite....shooot i aint payin money).

I am out and about like a boy scout fising for some trout ...( rapping 101-everyone needs a hobby)

Monday, August 23, 2010

Looking back, lookin' back, lookin' back, lookin' back

Ahhh Lauren Hill u r a classic.

Anyway this post was inspired by the great L.H. and is bit more personal with less scial commentary. I have decided at the ripe old age of 25 I need to do a life audit...perhaps go away to some beach resort (dont u mofos wish u were in the big Mz) and think about where I am heading, and where I want to be on a lot of levels personally, spiritually, financially, and career wise. Maybe draw up a 3 pager of findings and reccomendations KPMG and PWC style...yep i am def a geek at that level.

Dont get me wrong, I am digging my job and I am probably working for one of the few organizations that really invests in specific regions and combines good will with private sector know how to create a holistic way to development, which is something i fully suppot. BUT there are still things I want to do or see and figure out....and a life audit is calling.

A sneak peak from my musings...and some advice (yes i have words of wisdom...)

1) The name is just a name. I (rather my parents) chose the school I went to just based of its reputation and my sis' experience. Rather than look at my full scholarship (and then some) at a lessor known school, i took a partial scholarship at a well respected school. The school was great! The 40k student loan...not so great. Make decisions on whats best for you... dont try and keep up with the Jones'...infact F*&K the Jones' i never liked their ass anyway.

2) Take a risk- My last boss was awesome...the job was ok....the pay was good. So 2.5/3 is not bad...right...wrong. I saw the job as a stepping stone to the field position (a job abroad). Try and try as I might, what I wanted to do was not exactly panning out. Eventually I decided to *fist bump +peace sign* and rolled. For what? A $500 a month internship in Kenya. My parents were def not extatic about my decision to go from mid career student loan pimp Sallie Mae def was car loans were 2 thirds of my new salary. 6 months after taking this risk i got the full time position i had been trying to get for the last 2 years. Yes luck plays a huge factor in all of this....but honestly u need to roll the dice before u score the winning hand (you can quote me on that).

3) Get a foynnnnn girl. Aint nothing wrong with that.

However there are still improvements to be made as well as documenting and dissiminating these lessons learned (grahh development speak).

That is it for now...I am out like Flash Gordon (we can only be friends if u know who that is)

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Fist Bump your way to a healthier, more professional, and cooler life style

Some say it started with the wonder twins...

Others say the black power movement...


Now people (Me) say it’s part of Obama’s Health care approach…

While all theories are appealing…especially the wonder twins, it is time to take this “urban act and recognize it for what it is, an advanced, healthier, and more professional form of greeting your peers/associates/colleagues. Alas with all things black (even though the wonder twins weren’t black..they were aliens…still a minority) their popularity takes time to be accepted by the rest of humanity…..fools when will you all listen, we invented Peanut Butter!! Anyway this is not another post about blackness…this is about the superiority of the Fist Bump and how we need to get with the program and replace the ohh so inferior handshake….

First and foremost the fist bump is healthy. You really don’t use your knuckles for much on a day to day basis. While the handshake involves the meeting of your trusted fingers and palms ….sweaty, greasy, ashy, dirty ..u gotta shake on it,adjust your contacts with it, touch your kids with it and then eat with it. I will let my med school friends explain to you how many ways you can get die by a handshake.
Also there is another absolute fact, in most non western countries “digging for gold”…”discovering the yellow crusty dragon” …”hunting for bogies”…or rather picking your nose, is a widely practiced habit.….again u r forced to shake on it :-/
Never mind that the Director of XYZ program has just picked his nose…flicked the golden nugget…and extended his hand to shake yours in the same 4 seconds. may loose your job by saying “uhhhh u nassssty” …until the fist-bump becomes your ally for a professional way of saying hello.
Finally the fist bump is classsssssy. Or at least what I think is classy. A part of the “yellow fever phase” the west has glorified the Japanese bow looking at it with all its intricacies….social taboos…and psychology of humility.
The fist bump also has its intricacies....
1) The black power fist aka the air fist bump
When you are not close enough or passing too quickly to do a proper fist bump, you just throw up the fist. Especially in the office where people are running off in different directions, the air fist bump signifies a quick “I feel ya man”

2) The fist bump + peace sign
Want to say a quick good bye? Combine the fist bump with a peace out sign, and people know you gots roll.

3) The slow mo fist bump
Havn’t seen your peeps for a min. Slow mo the fist bump…and you know you r gonna have an extended convo.

So mis amigos...plz upgrade your life and fist bump a brother or sister today.
-I am out like this public service announcement *Fist bump + Peace sign*
PS. Did anyone hear that they are going to make a live action film on the wondertwins starring Jessica Alba and Dane Cook. What a lame idea...ughh the wonder twins?!!?!?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Black/African Expats in Africa....WTF mayte?

We EXIST….expats that are either black or are African living/working in Africa. This normally should be a straight forward thinking with zero interesting points….alas the weird ass society that we live in has made it a hilarious hot mess. You can distinguish this hot mess through many of the ohhh too familiar scenes I have come accross in Moz….

1) The I love helping the poor Africans so much I can’t believe there are educated black folk
Ok that was harsh, but with great power comes great responsibility, and with you Masters degree comes my low tolerance for your ignorant a$$. If you will imagine (not really cuz it happens a lot)

Scene 1- Office, black international development worker doing his thang…until his boss comes in and it begins.
Boss: Hi Aman I would like you to meet Frank Sinatra from our Geneva office.
Frank.S: (in the worst accent possible..) Bom dia, muito pracer!!!
Me: (In my most American accent) Hi, nice to meet you my name is Aman.
Frank.S: Hello….Gusto Mozambique!
Me: Hehe me too…
(Hours later)
Frank.S: You speak English very well!
Me: I am American (well I am Eritrean, but wtf…I am now an American)
Frank.S: Ohhhh but you look very Mozambican!!! (meaning you are black)
Me: riiight....

2) The I only talk to white guys black girl
Scene 2- Neon lit cafĂ©/bar called Dolce Vita (seriously life is a lil too dolce when u still use the neon lights in the day)...chillin with White friend, doing what men do at Bars…scopin..which eventually turns to casual convo with two girls
Girl 1- Where are you guys from?
Friend- I am Canadian but my Dad is Portuguese
Me: -I am from Eritrea (passing the usual where the hell is that convo), but I just came from the states
Girl 1- Nudges the slightly disappointed looking girl…"summin summin…es Americano!”
Girl2- Face says it all –I aint convinced bring out them papers!- as she watches a blond god go by

ahhh Dolce Vita, thanks for the reminder how dolce la vita really is.

3) The I don’t really talk to Mozambicans, and just hang out with the same people I used to in my own country, but now I am just doing it in an African country
Scene 2- Friends introducing friends at a bar

Me: Hi my name is Aman (being the only black person in a group of friends, when you are in a 99.9% black country is pretty weird)
Friends: Ohhh Hi
Me: Hey
Friends: Where are you from?
Me: Eritrea (again skipping the discussions on where the hell is that?)
Friends: Ohh but you have a very American accent
Me: Yeah I went to school in the states for the last decade or so
Friends: :) !!!! (We can be friends…hello AMERICAN!)
Who knows maybe living in America has made me hyper sensitive to race, and I just need to sit down and let the social oddities take their course…however the proactive person in me wants to write a scathing article on Foreign Affairs magazine or the Economist on black foreign aid workers. I guess that requires use of proper English and grammar…. le sigh...this world wasn’t made for ESL grads….

-I am out like a baby from the vagina (creativity is at a low point today) Payce!

Friday, June 25, 2010


...I know I suck with the updates, I dont even know why...well actually I do its proposal season in the international development world which means my schedule will take on slave like attributes till October.

Anyway lots and lots of happenings. I ended up going to World Cup with my arch-nemesis aka fellow intern from the Kenya days that was stealing my thunder with her Ethiopianess... confused?

Ok know when white ppl go to an exotic far out place and see another white person from their country...suddenly the place goes down a notch from their encounter of their fellow country men. Its the same with Habesha (eri/ethio) peeps...

Anyway pardon my add and back to the World Cup updates which will be split up into unrealted mini stories for your reading pleasure...and the fact that I can entertain a continuous stream of thinking..

1) Mo and Dillan
Mo (Mohamed) and Dillan are fellow americans from Oklahoma that we met in Moz. The interesting part is Mo and Dillan went to Punto de Oro soak up the legendary beaches of Moz. Unfortunately they were caught driving on the beach which is HIGHLY illegal with a $600 fine each! In their moment of desperation they decided to call me so I could put them in contact with the American embassy. I asked the secretary for the American embassy number...unfortunately for them it turned out to be the Algerian embassy of all places....lesson learned in an emergency dont call me :-P Luckily they "paid" a smaller fine of a bottle of whiskey after placing a call to the son of the prime minister who they knew in Oklahoma...why is the son of the prime minister of Moz. doing in OK....who knows..prolly some misguided information on America. (again proof that my idea of lonely planet guide to America for NON AMERICANS would be a hit!)

2) The Jo-burg Gabonian
So we are in Jo burg a few days b4 our tix to the game. Our crew which consisted of my Ethio Arch Nemisis, a Ugandan Med Student, and a 50+ UK Rasta. Anyway our troupe of random mofos did not know how to catch the public transport in the Rata dude decided to ask this rather large Gabonian in an S class Mercedes for a ride. Oddly enough he obliged. Even stranger, he wanted to charge us 30 Rand about $5.50 for the ride...ask yourself why would a guy diving an S class Mercedes charge us 5 bucks??? Eventually we negotiated it to 20 rand $4 a head to get driven around in a S Class. So as we engaged in conversation with this strange fellow on what he does was "import/export" aka African for criminal activities. Luckily we were not driven to a back ally and gutted out for our organs to be sold on the Nigerian Black Market....still not summin to do a second time around.

3) World Cup game and Arch Nemesis almost gets JACKED!
We went to the Argentina vs. Nigeria crazyness was a great game and just being there was an amazing moment. As we were leaving...we came to a stop at the crosswalk. As we were waiting this lady kept bumping into Arch Nemesis over and over.....fortunately we noticed that this lady was secretly knifing Arch Nemesis' purse and cutting a hole into it. As Arch nemesis was shocked by this whole event and was trying to flag the police....crazy baglady disappeared into the crowd. So hold onto your shit. 10 mins later Mc Donalds...a dude just put his hand in Arch Nemesis' purse and tried to snatch her ish! WTF jo-burg....i guess its WC though so opportunities are everywhere. Overall though Jo-burg was fairly safe but i think these failed attempts ruined the night a lil

4) Gypsy Partaaaaay
So i did it....i met random ppl through Couch It was great and def will repeat cuz they were cool peeps. Anyway couch surfing crew introduced me to some ppl who were throwing a Gypsy partay....apparently by real Gypsies. The music was Gypsy house music and a live gypsy band singing some sweeet sweeet Romanov tunes. I talked to one of the hosts and apparntly they are part of a traveling Gypsy group that goes around the world hosting parties with a gypsy flavor. It was a blast...i highly recommend going if you hear about a gypsy party in your neck of the woods. Although the sci-fi kid in me wondered if they were really vampires and they did this thing to lure fresh blood into their areas.....why....cuz there were some strange old looking gypsies that gave me the creeps. Who knows....still recommend it!

....there is a lot more to write...but I gots to get back to my massa of the day Global Fund HIV/TB proposal.

I am out like vanilla coke, thank GOD they stopped with that nonsense it was naassstay!!

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Drug Kingpin Laws

So I got the following e-mail in my inbox at work today....


To: All Mission Employees

Subject: US Department of Treasury Designation of Mozambican National, Mohamed Bachir Suleman, MBS, as a “Drug Kingpin

On June 1, 2010, the President of the United States identified Mozambican national, Mohamed Bachir Suleman (“MBS”), as a significant foreign narcotics trafficker or “drug kingpin”, pursuant to the Foreign Narcotics Kingpin Designation Act. The law is intended to apply economic and financial sanctions against significant drug traffickers through denying their organizations or commercial enterprises access to the U.S. financial system and to the benefits of trade and financial transactions involving U.S. persons and businesses.

Under the Kingpin Act, U.S. persons (citizens, legal permanent residents, and U.S. companies or organizations) and their subsidiaries are prohibited from engaging in unlicensed transactions with foreign persons and entities on the Kingpin list. U.S. persons face criminal and civil penalties should they violate this prohibition.

The U.S. Mission to Mozambique is considered a U.S. person and, therefore, it, its entities or employees cannot engage in any business or other transactions with or within:

1.Mohamed Bachir Suleman (“MBS”),

2.Grupo MBS Limitada, a holding company of several merchandising stores located in Mozambique;

3.Grupo MBS – Kayum Centre, a retail store located in Maputo, Mozambique; and

4.Maputo Shopping Centre (all establishments within are “off-limits”)

To be clear--this designation bars U.S. persons, as defined above, from engaging in transactions with the above individual and his affiliates or businesses. Further, Locally Employed Staff (LES) while on duty or who are carrying out work on behalf of the U.S. Government are subject to the same restrictions. LES that are not U.S. citizens or U.S. legal permanent residents are not prohibited from engaging in personal transactions (non-work related) with MBS and the companies listed. However, we strongly encourage all employees of the US Mission or any of its entities not to do business with Mohamed Bachir Suleman or any of his business interests.


To be honest I have heard many rumors around this shopping center. That a friend of a friend had purchased a TV and it was not working so he opened it up to see the problem and it was full of drugs, then had exchanged it for $25k and a 4X4...blah blah blah. Apparently it was true!

The thing that bothers me most is that there is not a wide selection places you can buy things in Maputo, and till I get a car I cant go to South Africa over the weekend to buy some goodies in Nelspruit. So with even fewer options.... I will have to say goodbye to Maputo shopping for life.....although I always knew it probably was owned by a Drug Kingpin or a Gangster...

I mean look at the designs-neon lights, reflective windows, weird geometric shapes- it looks like a a Gangster from a Bollywood movie built it as a front for his "business". Apparently the guy is Indian or i guess we know where he got his inspiration from...DEWWAR and great Amitabh Bachchnan

Those Madarchods (Mofos) will never catch me!!

Above are pics of Maputo shopping (aka Kingpin HQ) and the attached Cinema that never had any movies playing...prolly cuz they were exporting drugs.

Aiight peeps thats it for now.....I am out like Ricky Martin (is it too late for those jokes?)