Monday, February 21, 2011
I was trying to remember some of the most impressive times that I spent in Mozambique. Although we were treated very well by President Chissano (former President of Mozambique) and were privileged to interview him, it was a more simpler time that stood out for me. I was reading some of my classmates older blogs and was reminded of a trip to the Gaza province.
During our class we were split into research teams (culture/religion, education/language, health care and elections). My team was the education/language group and we were on a journey to visit Chibuto and Xai Xai in Gaza province, located outside the capital of Maputo. The scenery was breathtaking in its simplicity. There were snapshots of children selling cashews and fish on the road. This was not tourist country but a look into the everyday life of people. There were smiles and taunts as the children approached our van. The cashews were quite delicious too!
As part of our studies, we were curious about native languages and the official language, Portuguese. We looked at language in Mozambique and its impact on the judicial system. We had previously interviewed a University official that told us about how accessible translators were for those who did not speak Portuguese well and had legal problems. We were not necessarily convinced and while traveling, we stopped at a small municipality to ask if translators were available. The officer would not speak to us about it (we believe in fear of his position).
I am certain if finding suitable translators in the United States can be a problem, then a growing country such as Mozambique would have problems as well. Not only did we find that Languages posed a problem in the judicial system, but in education as well. The official number of languages is listed at 43 according to ethnologue.com. With this many different languages unless student are bi-linguagl at home they may be faced with learning their studies and a new language at the same time.