Mozambican mother and child.
Down the back of our BA flight to Johannesburg courtesy of Michelle’s sharp eyes I moved from my middle row seat and staked a claim on three vacant widow seats.
So with the aid of a couple of Nytol tablets I managed to get a reasonable bit of kip on the flight.
Michelle and I had hoped to watch the leaving tape that she had made in honour of the departing Simon Morris. Unfortunately for technical reasons she could not get a copy done in time before we left.
We would be missing his leaving do where the tape would be played and things might get a bit messy. Simon is much loved at Daybreak as he was for all the years that he was in charge of the GMTV gallery.
Many of the current staff would be there along with a number of people that had been at GMTV during the time Simon’s good humour helped make broadcasting the programme a joy.
The one thing that makes it less of a sad occasion is the fact that he is very good at what he does so should have no difficulty in getting high calibre freelance work.
We arrived at Terminal A of Jo’burg’s very impressive Oliver Tambo airport two hours behind schedule thanks to the delay in London because the original aircraft had “gone tech” and another one had to be found, fuelled and catered.
Jo'burg's OR Tambo airport.
We were entering South Africa to head up to Mozambique on a South African Airways flight. So we would have to go through the red channel and get the carnet stamped before going across to Terminal B.
Even given the delay we still had time in hand if things all went smoothly. Given my experience of the efficiency of South African Customs I was confident that we would be fine, but last weeks nightmare in Dubai was still fresh in my memory.
My confidence was rewarded the officer completed and stamped the blue transit part of my thick wad of paper that constituted the carnet in about as quick a time as possible.
Terminal B is only a relatively short walk from Terminal A so apart form a minor detour when I suggested using the lift that took us to a floor higher than we wanted we arrived there in time to have a quick cup of coffee, Michelle to grab a long sleeved shirt from one of the shops and think about Simon who was at that very moment directing his last Daybreak programme as a staff director. He had been there for 16 years.
There were many messages on Twitter expressing sorrow at his departure and offering lots of best wishes.
When “Boarding” flashed up on the departure screen we went to the gate, boarded the bus that would take us to the small aircraft.
Through the small crowd on the bus I could see an attractive lady looking very cool all in white beside a ruggedly handsome guy a bit older than me. They were with a small dark haired lady dressed for tropical travel
We squeezed our way to the front of the bus and said hello to Natasha Kaplinsky, the presenter on this shoot, Sebastian Rich, cameraman and photographer for Save the Children and Jude from Save the Children.
Natasha’s startlingly blue eyes were bright and welcoming belying the fact that she had not long since got off their SA flight from London and like us had been up the back for the 10 hour night flight.
Sebastian’s hand shake was as firm as his smile was warm.
Jude offered an equally pleasant greeting.
There was a little small talk on the short trip to the small aircraft that would take on the two and a half hour flight north to Nampula.
Sebastian is one of the exITN legends. He was kidnapped in Beirut and held hostage for a while during the troubles there in the 70’s, has won the prestigious RTS cameraman of the Year award and is the author of an interesting autobiography which came out in the mid 80’s.
I read the book when it first came out as a new wet behind the ears fledgling news cameraman. It was now great to meet a man that I had had not only read about but heard about from colleagues at ITN and other organisations.
Since leaving ITN and becoming freelance he has spent a lot of time in the less pleasant parts of the world like Afghanistan, Iraq, various African and South American countries shooting both video for the likes of NBC and taking lots of stills for a variety of clients including National Geographic.
He is a true international photojournalist. He calls Argentina home but has a place in Cyprus, convenient for Middle East assignments and an apartment in London.
On the tarmac at the bottom of the steps up to the small aircraft was a set of shelves on wheels for hand luggage because there was limited storage space onboard.
Sebastian and I ignored it and took our kit onboard prepared for an argument. There was none and we got our cameras and bags safely stowed either under the seat or in the tiny overhead bins
Michelle and most of the other passengers complied with the request to put their briefcases and small day sacks on the shelf rack and received a yellow tag when she put her bag on the shelf rack so that it could be carefully stowed in the baggage hold.
The shelf rack for hand luggage.
Heading to Nampula.
...towering into African sky.
As we come in to land we see the spectacular mountains around Nampula.
Leaving the small aircraft that brought us from Jo'burg.
When we disembarked at the small airport in Nampula at the bottom of he steps she exchanged her yellow ticket for her bag.
Getting through what security, customs and immigration there was at the airport was easy with no stress.
We were met by members of the Save the Children team in Nampula who took our kit, loaded it on to four wheel drive vehicles and took us to he Save the Children office in the town.
Heading for the Save the Children cars.
Streets of Nampula.
There we met Malcolm, the Save the Children press relations man who had flown out a few days earlier to research case studies and organise some of he formalities that had to be gone through.
Malcolm is not exactly a stranger to Michelle and me. He had been Head of News / Deputy Editor at GMTV for many years. When ITV took over and began plotting the demise of GMTV and the birth of a new programme Malcolm was one of the heads that rather swiftly and unceremonially rolled albeit at a cost to ITV swelling his bank account substantially.
He has taken to his new role with relish and enthusiasm.
We were given a briefing about what Save the Children are up to in Mozambique including a bit about security mainly that we should be aware of pick pockets, particularly in Nampula itself. The rest was just common sense because unlike many other African countries Mozambique is pretty stable and crime is not a huge issue.
The briefing in the Save the Children office.
Natasha and Malcolm at the briefing.
What might be a huge issue for us during our stay was is the weather.
There was a cyclone swirling about just off the coast and already it had made it’s presence felt sending deluges of rain down to make some of the roads rivers of mud.
We hoped that it would stay away during our short stay in the country.
In the office during the briefing loud rolls of thunder echoed in the darkening skies and the rain began to fall.
Malcolm under his brolly.
It was still raining heavily for a large part of the journey to our hotel on the Ilha de Mocambique (Island of Mozambique).
Rainy Nampula streets.
On the long drive Michelle thought that she would get down to some work on laptop. Delving into her bag to get it out she discovered that it was missing.
It must have been taken between her putting it on the rack at the foot of the steps to the aircraft in Jo'burg and getting it back at the bottom of the steps in Nampula.
Roadside vendors out when the rain stopped....
..selling bags of peppers for Piri piri spicy sauce.
The Ilha de Mocambique is a strangely beautiful place in a post apocalyptical way.
During the time that Mozambique was a Portuguese colony this place must have been stunning with fantastic architecture and pretty squares like the ones found today around Lisbon and other cities in Portugal.
Now however, the once grand buildings, like the white stone built hospital with its grand columns are dilapidated with grey and black stains of decay all over the lifeless edifices.
The squares and streets that must at one time have been pristine and manicured are now overgrown with plants that have burst through the crumbling stones.
The few people we saw in the streets looking like the last people on earth.
Our hotel, situated right on the water has the makings to be one of best little boutique hotels in the word, but not until a bit of cash was spent bringing it up to scratch and doing simple things like cleaning and filling the pool.
Nearing the hotel on the Island of Mozambique.
View from the Island.
The little church on the island.
Natasha had been allocated the best room in the house but was not keen on taking it. She would rather stay in one if the more basic rooms.
So, Sebastian who would be putting long hours captioning his pictures after we had finished shooting swapped rooms so that he had a bit of extra space in which to work.
Sebastian's room after the swap.
The doors to the other rooms off the open atrium and it's empty water feature.
We ate our first Mozambican meal in the hotel. It was a simple affair but non the less a bit special.
It was lobster and chips, and what a lobster it was. I felt a slight twinge of guilt as I tucked into the delicious freshly cooked meat given we had arrived to do a story on hunger and here we were eating rather good food.
We needed to have as early a night as possible both to try and catch up on the sleep lost on the flights and because it would be an early start in the morning.
I emerged from underneath my mosquito net at around 4:45 am.
We had an early breakfast, which had been pre ordered because of our early start, consisting of cheese omelettes and chips.
The boats are out early off the Ilha de Mocambique.
Our advance party of four, myself, Sebastian, Michelle and Malcolm headed off at 6 am to the village where we would be filming. It was about an hours drive from the hotel.
The bridge to the mainland.
The shore on the mainland side.
Natasha and the guys from Save the Children would arrive a little bit later to allow us a bit of time to have a look at the place and work out what it was we would do.
On the Mozambican road.
We met the lady that would be checking the children’s weight and a family who had lost one child through disease caused by malnourishment and had four other children two of whom were stunted, ie smaller and lighter for their ages than they should be.
Mother Zainabu with her youngest children and husband.
Some kids are a bit shy and wary of us..
...others not so.
Having said hello and worked out what we would do we turned our minds to getting some footage in the can.
I went to the car that we had arrived in to prepare the kit. To my horror when I unzipped my run bag to get the radio mic ready for Natasha’s arrival it was not there.
I had checked the kit last night and not put the mic back in the bag. I could see it sitting in my flight case back in the hotel.
I gave myself a severe talking to and then told Michelle. It was not a disaster because I did have other options but a personal radio mic would make life a lot easier for us all.
There was a small chance that the others might not yet have left the hotel.
It took a number of tries to make a connection but eventually I got through to Tina from Save the Children.
On a rather dodgy line I first asked if they were still at the hotel. My heart did a little flip in relief when she said yes.
I told her what I needed.
We then went off to do a bit of filming with children being weighed so that their progress could be assessed and any action taken if they were not thriving the way that they should.
Mums with their babies waiting for the weighing process to begin.
About to investigate Michelle's boots and jeans!
When Natasha arrived with Tina and my radio mic it was all systems go and non-stop for pretty much the rest of the hot sticky day, barring a short stop for a very quick lunch consisting of a can of fizzy juice and a roll with one slice of processed cheese on it.
We had been told to expect that, but even if we had not I don’t think that any of us would have had the gaul to complain after we had seen what the villagers had to eat.
Hands washed before eating.
Their diet mainly consists of a thick porridge made from cassava roots pounded and put though a sieve. It looks pretty unappetising and has very little protein value. This is the fundamental reason that the children are under nourished.
There is not enough goodness in the food to help the bigger kids to grow and develop fully, neither is there enough goodness to provide the mothers with sufficient nutrition to produce good quality breast milk.
Shooting the piece to camera with the porridge.
Sebastian carries the tripod.
Doing stories like this give pleasure and despair in almost equal measure.
The differences between the developed world and the developing world is stark and deeply unfair.
Only just over a week ago I was immersed in the ultimate in comfort and luxury with people who were too big because they could not stop eating.
Today I am surrounded by abject poverty with people who struggle every single day of their lives to have enough to sustain them for just one more day.
Yet, these people are willing to give us a friendly and genuinely warm welcome, offer us hospitality that leaves them even more starving than they are and sing songs with gusto and pleasure.
The welcome that we received here was as warm and joyful as any I have experienced in Africa.
Natasha and I were in essence doing a double shoot on this one because as well as doing what was needed for the reports to go on to Daybreak we were doing other bits and pieces for Save the Children.
All it meant for me was that for the whole day the camera was not off my shoulder shooting lots and lots of stuff.
What it meant for Natasha was that she had to keep changing in and out of a Save the Children t-shirt.
Daybreak isn’t allowed to show blatant branding of charities because of OFCOM”s rules on advertising. So she had to wear a plain shirt for the Daybreak pieces to camera and a Save the Children t-shirt for their pieces to camera.
A little crowd watches us at work.
The sheer joy, warmth and humility of the people is infectious but, it is tempered with a sense of humility and helplessness because we know that their life is raw.
Natasha gets a bit of local make up applied.
One of the little children I filmed, two and a half year old Joaquin is being brought up by his grandmother because his young mother had run away.
From the moment we saw him in the queue waiting to be weighed and measured it was obvious that he was not a well little boy.
When he was measured his statistics were way off the scale. He was less that half the weight that he should have been, and much smaller than is normal for his age.
As I filmed him being put into the little harness to have his weight checked I could see his eyes, not bright and curious like like most of the other children and babies. They were dull and listless.
He went into harness without a whimper, just a resigned, slow, lazy blink of his eyes. The others showed what they thought of the whole process by bawling their heads off.
The staff from Save the Children immediately saw to it that he would be taken to a clinic to try and help him regain some of the lost ground but, in truth they were not filled with confidence that he would end up with a long life.
In the afternoon we went back to the family that we had met in the morning to see them eat a normal meal.
Their weekly income is not enough to buy three eggs, but even though we had told them we wanted to film a basic meal Zainabu the mother had gone to the trouble of cooking up all the food that she had so that we could see it.
Normally their main meal consists of wild roots boiled in rather cloudy looking water and cassava porridge. So this was what I filmed.
The other wild shoots and grasses were put to one side.
Natasha with Zainabu and her family outside their hut.
Before shooting the meal and it’s preparation Zainabu and her husband gave us a tour of their tiny grass roofed mud hut.
It was very dark, so prior to shooting Natasha going in I put in a couple of small lights. I positioned them in such a way that they did not light up the interior too much. I was keen to retain the impression on camera of how dark and gloomy their small living space really is.
After I had done the filming with Natasha getting the tour aided by Ibo our translator I went back in to do some cutaway shots for editing purposes.
In the cramped dingy bedroom I spotted two fairly large cockroaches on a wall.
I turned the camera on, pointed a light in their direction and took a couple of shots of the brown shiny things, their long antennae quivering and twitching.
When I finished the shot I turned the light to illuminate my way out. As the wide beam of light passed across the adjacent corner a strip of the dark mud wall about half a meter wide sparkled and glistened.
I steadied the light and stared at a whole colony of cockroaches adorning the wall like a living moving wallpaper.
Suddenly the previous shots of just the two were redundant.
We spent a little time getting shots of Natasha interacting with some of the childern. They loved her and enjoyed her renditions of "Head Shoulders Knees and Toes" and "The Wheels on the Bus".
They enjoyed "The Wheels on the Bus" so much that we almost ran out of ideas for people on the bus and what they "go".
The kids surrounded Natasha...
..she entertained them with a song or two...
...and had them in tow as we prepared to do another piece to camera.
Our final location of the day was a short walk to a little market where I did shots of the small very smelly dried fish that were covered in a haze of flies, sacks of peanuts, rice and beans, some bread and one of the men chopping up meat from a recently slaughtered goat.
At the market.
Michelle, Natasha, Jude and Malcolm at the market, translator Agy behind.
Natasha did a couple of pieces to camera with Zainabu who can not afford to buy anything from the market at all.
One of the reasons we were in Mozambique was to not only highlight the plight of under nourished kids but also the fact that the prices of simple commodities has gone up a huge amount in the space of a year.
Tina and local Save the Children workers walking through the small market.
Shooting an interview with a stall holder about how prices have gone up.
Zainabu’s unbelievable monthly income of around fifty pence, yes it is really that small, buys virtually nothing.
The children are often starving which, very understandably Zainabu says breaks her heart when she can not provide enough food for them.
A village elder all dressed in his best kit for our benefit.
In the market.
Some interesting faces around the stalls...
..each one a character.
When the shooting in the market was done Sebastian and I got a final wide shot of the village from the roof of our vehicle and went back to our hotel on the Ilha de Mocambique.
Sebastian gets his wide shot from the roof of the car.
Sebastian got straight on with editing and captioning his pictures, not a short process and I did dubs of the material that I had shot for Save the Children.
Michelle logging the tapes as they copy.
Tina works on the Save the Children laptop.
As we ate our very nice but fairly basic meal in a nearby restaurant where the talk was of the machinations of the Uk television industry it all seemed horribly irrelevant and superficial when I knew that a very short distance away people were going hungry and possibly dying.
Mozambican sailors on the water.
Another early breakfast of cheese omelettes and chips before we headed north for a couple of hours, mainly on pretty good roads with the last twenty five minutes or so on progressively rougher dirt tracks until we arrived at the village where we saw a group of mothers being given information on how to provide their children with nutritional food.
As is the custom we were greeted by a group of smiling enthusiastic women who burst into singing and dancing at every opportunity.
Greeted by the villagers in their finery.
Malcolm shows the ladies the photo he has taken of them.
There was a bit of filming and organising to be done that Natasha was not needed for so she had the joy of an extra half hour or so in bed before she had to get on the road to join us.
That added half hour of valuable sleep was to cost her dear in the appearance stakes.
Africa being Africa, just as she was about to get up out of bed the big ceiling fan ground to a halt announcing one of the not infrequent power cuts.
Hair dryers and straighteners were rendered useless.
Luckily for us Natasha regarded this as a mild inconvenience and did not throw a hissy fit befitting some of the more precious of the presenters in the industry.
After the initial welcome singing and the formalities in which Natasha had to shake hands with what appeared to be everyone from the village we went to see a mother of five children, one of whom, Bia was pregnant with her second child after losing the first a short time ago.
It was obvious that they had, appropriately given that it was Sunday, put on their Sunday best for us.
Mother of five.
Four of her children and one grandchild.
Ibo translates as Malcolm and Michelle talk to her before the interview.
We did an interview with the mother via Ibo the interpreter whilst she prepared the midday meal for her children.
The interview lasted quite a long time. Throughout it all the children remained quiet and well behaved.
The mother told us how it tore her apart when she was unable to give her family enough to eat and how difficult it was when, particularly the younger children would come to her telling that they were starving and wanted to eat.
This was of course really being starving, not like kids at home saying that they are starving when all that they actually want is a bag of M&Ms or another bag of crisps.
Sebastian captures them as they eat the meal mum had prepared.
Bia, the pregnant daughter had her own little interview away from the rest of the family.
She had already lost one child, dying not long after he was born.
When she was asked about that and about what she felt about being hungry and going without food she was at first a bit reluctant to say more than a few words.
After a little while she opened up and said a lot more. It might not have been as moving and emotional as we wanted because when having little or no food and death at an early age is almost commonplace she brushed it off with a simple dignity and matter of fact manner.
In many ways this touched us more than if she had been sobbing, pleading and bemoaning how unfair her life is.
Natasha interviewing Bia.
Sebastian does a family group portrait.
Back at the area where all the mothers were waiting for their babies to be weighed, be given a lecture and demonstration about breast feeding and making the food they give to their children as nutritional as possible there was more singing and dancing.
This time the women formed a large circle, taking it in turns to go into the centre and dance wildly, some stamping their feet sending clouds of fine dust into the sticky air.
Obviously Natasha was expected to do her bit, which she did very well receiving an enthusiastic response. Then we were all invited to join in the joyful clapping and dancing.
The whole village seemed to appreciate a set of uncoordinated sweaty white guys throwing shapes in the middle of the circle.
There were lots more pieces to camera to do. One of them included Natasha holding a baby.
This one took a few takes because two of the beautiful little bundles were not too happy at being away from their mums and began to make it known quite loudly.
Natasha with the beautiful and quiet baby.
When we finished our filming there were a couple of small cheese rolls and cans of fizzy juice on ice in a cool box in one of the cars.
This was our late lunch to eat on the way to the next hotel.
As discretely as possible we started to eat and drink our food when the drivers were packing up the vehicles and we were getting organised to leave.
Then Tina came over to ask if we could go over to offer our formal thanks and say our official good-byes as is the custom.
We all went over to the group of village elders surrounded by other villagers.
Without thinking Malcolm wandered over munching his roll and holding a carton of juice.
Swiftly and surreptitiously Tina whipped them from him and hid them behind her back.
Malcolm and Michelle then made little speeches of thanks and good wishes to the village which was translated by Ibo.
Then “The Controller” of the village made his speech thanking us for today and for the help that Save the Children had given the mothers and the farmers.
Then a little old man, with mischievous sparkling eyes, no front teeth and tight grey curls seeping out of the small gold braided hat that was perched on his head came forward.
He had been one of the few men from the village to strut their stuff in the centre of the communal dancing and he did it with suggestive style.
He raised a huge raucous laugh from the locals, mainly women, when he spoke.
When Ibo translated we knew why.
He said thank you for the advice on condoms because it had made life much easier for the men now.
HIV and Aids is still a huge problem and a big taboo, known only as “The Sickness”, but education is slowly helping deal with it and evidently easing the longevity of mutual enjoyment.
Smiling we waved good-bye and embarked on another couple of hours drive to our beds for the night in a lodge near Nacala on the coast.
When we arrived the lodges were allocated and most of us were sharing. I was sharing with Malcolm.
We were shown in to the lodges. I think that we were both relieved that we were in the same lodge but not the same bedroom.
Michelle logging the tapes and Natasha working on her iPad in one of the lodges.
After we had dubbed of the two hours of material that I had gathered for Daybreak and Save the Children we walked along a dark dusty road in torch light to a restaurant accompanied by a deafening chorus of what sounded like frogs, but we were told were insects.
After the flies and bugs had been wiped from the plastic patio style table a fitted yellow table cloth was pulled on. It did not take long for our food to appear.
Even here food inequality is in stark evidence. Less than a mile away, in fact probably only few metres away from here, where we were eating huge portions of what is a very expensive delicacy back home, there are families struggling to keep their children from suffering and dying from lack of proper nutrition.
Lobster is almost a staple for those lucky enough to be by the coast and have a little, but not a lot, of money.
This would cost a fortune in a British restaurant.
Malcolm and Natasha doing a bit of mosquito net folding.
Yet another early start only this time too early even for breakfast. That was some nuts and juice in the car on the way to the Centro de Saude de Monapo hospital.
Looks like they've got the hang of it.
Getting ready to go...
...just time for a team photo...
...or two. one with Michelle and one with me.
Ibo one of the translators.
Agy our other translator.
The team from Save the Children had done a great job in getting all the bureaucratic red tape sorted out so that when we pitched up at our locations there were no delays before we were able to start shooting.
This morning however, one of the bosses from the hospital decided that he had not been consulted enough. So Tina lead a small delegation to his office in town to meet him and tell him what we were doing.
This meant that neither Sebastian could start shooting until we had been given the final say so.
This had the potential to be a bit of a nightmare because we only had a limited time to get the shoot done.
Natasha, Malcolm and Jude had to leave in two hours to catch a flight for the first leg of the journey home.
We were relieved that it was only a minor setback. Tina came back pretty quickly after using her charms to satisfy the official enough to give us his go ahead.
In the sparse ward each bed was occupied by a mother and one or two children.
With due sensitivity both Sebastian and I started getting shots.
Malcolm and Michelle were briefing Natasha on what they wanted her to say in the pieces to camera that we needed to do.
Some of the tiny children were obviously in quite a bad way laying with their their eyes half open devoid of interest and curiosity, arms occasionally flopping about lazily on the bed.
Natasha did a couple of pieces to camera, one holding a little boy and another beside a mother and her very thin, almost skeletal son Daniel.
The first little boy Natasha held...
...with his mum.
Daniel probably looked the worst of the lot yet his eyes were happy and bright.
When we had finished in the ward and were doing a piece to camera in the corridor with Natasha giving her impressions of he hospital and what she had just experienced Daniel’s mum came out, tapped Michelle on the shoulder and began to talk to her.
Ibo came over to translate.
She wanted us to take little Daniel back to the UK with us so that he would have a better life.
Daniel and his mother. He knows she loves him.
Mothers waiting to be seen by the doctors.
We had finished. Natasha, Malcolm and Jude were about to leave when we spotted little Joaquin with his grand mother.
We went back into working mode.
I filmed the doctor taking the old lady and the little baby into the hospital and giving him a quick examination.
She told us that his condition was quite severe but he would have a sixty to eighty percent chance of survival.
Natasha interviewing the doctor on the ward.
Whilst we were waiting to go into the hot concrete walled examination room with it’s door open to the dusty courtyard to try and let some air flow through the fragility of life presented it’s self to Natasha and me.
Two hospital workers pushed a rickety trolley past us. On it, under a thin dirty yellow sheet was a body.
It was taken out to a battered old dust covered black estate car that was evidently the town hearse.
Natasha and co then had to high tail it to the airport in Nampula to catch the flight to Johannesburg.
Michelle and I had time for a more leisurely drive back because we would not be leaving until tomorrow.
There are only five flights a week from Nampula to Johannesburg and today’s was full.
We would have to wait until the next one tomorrow.
Sebastian had also gone. He was heading south to do some more photographs at a clinic in the deep south of the country some seven hundred kilometres away. The only way to get there is by car. It would be a long drive of around ten hours or so.
Amazing scenery on the road to Nampula.
There was still a little bit of work to be done before we could call it a wrap. However, we did allow ourselves a couple of hours off to have a relaxed cup of coffee and sit in the sun.
My final shot of the day was the sun setting over the spectacular mountains to the west of the town.
A Nampula sky..
...just after sunset.
That was not however the final job of the day. After a very nice dinner in the hotel’s Indian restaurant Michelle and I went through the tapes so that she could select the pieces of translated interview that would need to be narrated by a female voice.
Michelle and I had the joy of not having to get up early this morning.
Our hotel, the nicest building in Nampula...
..so glad it was not the one over the road.
Our first job was after breakfast to record the voice of one of Tina’s friends to be used as a translation of what the various women had said in during their interviews.
To do this I set up a little improvised sound booth on the desk of my room.
The little sound booth in my room.
The translation being recorded.
When that was done it was pretty much time to head to the small airport in Nampula.
There was a bit of excess baggage stress when we checked in. Unbelievably the South African combined ticket and check-in desk did not have a credit card facitlity.
The almost two hundred pounds had to be paid in cash in the local currency the Metecal.
There was a cash machine in the small check in area. Michelle was able to get the cash out to pay the bill. Our bags were then tagged and put on trolleys to be taken out to the plane when it landed.
Our aircraft arriving at Nampula, one of the few flights a day that come in.
At Johannesburg the stress continued. ITV’s travel company had told us that the excess for the flight to London had been prepaid.
There was no note of any having been paid in either the airlines notes on my booking or on my online profile.
After almost an hour of attempted e-mails and calls the guy at Uniglobe had to admit it had not been paid.
So, Michelle flashed her credit card and paid at the ticket desk.
I said good-bye to Michelle once this had been sorted out and went through to the departure lounge.
Michelle went off to Johannesburg for a day to see some friends.