First two weeks in Maputo, learning and exploring

by Justus and Thijs

We arrived in Maputo on Monday the 22nd of September. The coming two and a half months we will do research on the sewers of Maputo. In the first weeks we had to get used to the life here. Learning Portuguese is hard, but we are improving with the help of our Brazilian roommates. We stay in the same apartment as the students before did. It is a nice location and the view from the roof and our balcony is stunning.

A room with a view.

We have met a lot of local people who are willing to support our work. The local shop owner downstairs already knows us. He thinks we need a friend who can translate, because our Portuguese is too bad. Hopefully in the end, we will not need this, because our Portuguese will be sufficient.

This week the project really started for us. Our goal is to get a clear picture of the Maputo wastewater network. With the help of governmental organizations (AIAS, DNA and the Munipality) we will try to collect as much data as possible. We want to know how the system operates now, how much water is conveyed to the wastewater treatment plant and how much wastewater is directly discharged into the estuary and bay. In this way there will be a better view on how much water could be reused.

With our minds already focused on the research, we walked through the city, looking at the manhole covers and the drains. We saw that most of the manholes are covered with concrete tiles, if even covered. The drains and manholes are used as garbage bins by the locals. Plastic bags are piling up inside and are blocking the water. We are curious what will happen with a good storm. We are looking forward to it, because we can see what will happen from the eleventh floor.

A poorly maintained manhole in Maputo.

In the last days we had some appointments with people from DNA and AIAS. This governmental organizations are responsible for the sanitation and drinking water all over Mozambique. The first impression is that they are really willing to help us collection data.

It is nice to do this research and we are looking forward to the coming months. We will keep you updated.

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