Tuesday, February 5, 2008

riots in maputo

this morning at about 7:15 (just after midnight in georgia) as i went to get breakfast from the kitchen, i was greeted by a pastor who i am friends with named solomon.  in portuguese, he began to tell me about something going on out on the streets.  i was impressed that i picked up bits and pieces of his story before i got him to talk to me in english!  he had been on a bus on the way to the center this morning and the bus was stopped because of a roadblock so he had to walk the rest of the way.  as we stood outside of the kitchen, we could hear crowds of people yelling in the distance.  

last week, owners of the public buses known as "chappas" met to discuss a price increase.  the price was 7.5 meticai, which is equivalent to about 30 cents in us dollars, and because of rising fuel costs they wanted to increase the fare to 10 meticai or 40 us cents.  in my eyes that is nothing...i think riding a bus to the city for less than half a dollar is amazing.  you'd never find that in the states!!!  but when i think about the fact that most families live off of one us dollar a day, that extra 10 cents is a big deal.  today is the day the prices increase was to go into affect.  the mozambican people are not happy and have organized riots all over the city.  in america, you would see unhappy customers boycotting the bus or protesting with signs.  but not here.  the people have blocked the roads and are refusing to let any bus or car pass.  if a car tries to drive threw, they throw rocks at it.  

i stood on the soccer field with many of our kids watching everything taking place outside the walls of the center.  outside of the main gate of our center, about 100 yards down the road, rioters rolled tires out into the street and set them on fire sending up a black cloud of smoke.  looking to the left down the street i see the same thing about a quarter of a mile down.  apparently people are rioting all over the city with larger and larger mobs the closer into the city you get.  at one point, our guards opened the front gates.  a few seconds later a car came speeding in being chased by rioters.  it was one of our kitchen workers.  he had been stopped earlier by the mobs and forced to leave his car and walk into the center but then decided to go back and get his car.  our older teenage boys go to school in the city.  this morning, not knowing about the riots going on, the minibus left the center to drive the boys into the city.  they were stopped by rioters throwing rocks at the bus.  the boys were allowed to exit the bus and the driver had to leave it there.  we are praying the bus isn't destroyed in the chaos.  all of our boys are okay and will walk back to the center later today.  multiple times, trucks full of police and soldiers drove by firing rubber bullets in an attempt to break up the crowds.  however, the people only got more riled up and began throwing rocks at the police and setting more fires.  the police eventually left and after a bit of cheering, the crowds calmed down some.  a friend in the city phoned another missionary and said she heard on the news that 2 people had been killed not far from our center.

for now, things appear a lot calmer.  we've gotten all of our kids into the church to watch a movie.  looking out the window of my house i can see lots of people walking by outside the center and they appear to be going about their normal work.  however, there are still no cars on the streets.  

here are some things you can pray for:
please pray for the people to calm down and the riots to end.  
we are safe here in the center.  pray that safety is preserved.  
pray that the boys who are out in the city will be able to safely return soon.  
pray for protection over our minibus that was left in the city.    


jenny said...

praying for you Sarah!

Anonymous said...

I heard about the riots and googled for information and found you! We met in August, I didn't realize you were there fulltime! How wonderful! We are praying for you all, my friend Rose is there also - thanks for keeping us informed!
Meg (Mimi)

Anonymous said...

Hi Sarah,

We are in Nampula up in the north and heard about the riots and found your report on the internet. We are in northern Mozambique, Nampula, we will be praying too! Wish you the Lord's blessing on your ministry! Carola, Nampula

Kevin J. Bowman said...


Hi we are cousins (our grandmothers are sisters) and I was reading your blog because my wife and I just got back from a week in Manzini, SZ.

We will definitely pray for the safety of your team, and for the prphans got has placed into your care.


Anonymous said...

Sarah - I heard about the riots this morning and have been praying for you and the children! We met in August (I was with Mimi's group) We will stay in touch.
Stephen, NC

Anonymous said...

i love you and be safe.


Maputo said...
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