Maputo, Mozambique Report of what it's like to live there

Personal Experiences from Maputo, Mozambique

Maputo, Mozambique 02/28/19

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

I have lived in Melbourne, Cairo, and Oslo.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

DC is home. There are no ideal itineraries between the US and Maputo. Travel time will range from 24 to 36 hours. The easiest cities to connect through are Joburg, Addis, and Lisbon.

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3. How long have you lived here?

One year.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomatic mission.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing is good, but this isn't a part of Africa where everyone gets a house. I live on a new compound where there are 35 apartments that house mission staff members. All off the apartments are three bedrooms, three and a half baths, but half of the units are almost double the square footage. They just made all the rooms bigger and gave those units actual storage.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Most groceries are cheap. You can also do some grocery shopping in ZA on one of your weekend getaways to Kruger. Electronics are crazy expensive, and not much cheaper in ZA.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Liquids like craft beers and laundry detergent. The things you can't order through pouch.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Lots of seafood, prego, piri-piri chicken, and picana. Can't go wrong ordering grilled prawns and some samosas. Not many restaurants offer delivery, but there is a new service with an app called Deliva that will pick up food for you. There is a decent Indian place that I order from occasionally.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Mosquitos, fruit flies, and ants.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Pouch.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

I pay about US$130 a month for 3 days a week.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Several options in nearby malls; I'm not a user.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Use credit cards everywhere with no issues.

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5. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

You can get by without.

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6. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Yes.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Only supposed to use a few vetted taxis. Most people self drive everywhere.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

With new Chinese roads and bridges you can now get by with a 2wd car, however may still be places you want to go that require 4wd. Moz is right hand drive, but they don't care which type of car you import. If driving a left hand car, you will need a spotter in the passenger seat if you want to pass the overloaded dump truck doing 20kph on the highway to ZA. A small car might get flooded if you try to drive during a storm.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

You can get up to 8 Mbps fiber currently. I pay about $60 per month for a 7Mbps that has a 80GB limit during business hours and unlimited nights and weekends. It only takes a few days to set up.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Local SIMs are cheap. Some people have SIMs for Moz, ZA, and Swazi. I use my Google fi sim in ZA, but google doesnt have a roaming agreement with Swazi. I will probably end up getting a Swazi SIM when we go to Bushfire.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

I have had good experiences with vets. No quarantine in Moz, but ZA might quarantine transiting pets. Fly in on TAP or Ethiopian to avoid that issue. If you need a pet there are plenty available here.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

There is a good number of EFM jobs at post. There is no bilateral work agreement. EFMs wanting to work out of the mission like at the school, would need to leave the country and apply for a work visa in their tourist passport. The French school recently got in lots of trouble for employing diplomatic spouses and others without work visas.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Some people volunteer at orphanages.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Occasional muggings. They also seem to steal things like side mirrors off of cars.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Malaria is a concern. Health care is not good.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Some people have issues with new and different pollen here and the trash burning.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

Something here triggers people that haven't had issues before.

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5. Are there any particular mental health issues that tend to crop up at post, such as Seasonal Affective Disorder (winter blues)?

No.

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6. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Hot all year. Dry in August, wet in February.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There are several flavors. Most people go to the AISM. It is IB PYP, MYP, and DP. Like all schools it has some issues, but a lot of dissatisfaction with the school could just be that people are unfamiliar with all the different levels of the IB program.

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2. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

AISM has stuff.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Expat community is pretty big. People are mostly happy.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

If you want to hand out with other expats, just plan a trip to the beach and invite whom ever you run into.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

I think it is good for everyone.

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4. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

All the different beaches. Driving to game parks in ZA or Swazi for the weekend.

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5. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

With all the new Chinese roads and bridges I don't know that anything is hidden anymore. Kruger is two hours away. Great beaches are one hour away. Elephant reserve is one hour away. SCUBA is one and a half hours away.
In the last three months, I have only spent two weekends in town.

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6. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Beaded animal sculptures, wood carvings, Capalana fabrics, baskets here, baskets there, candles, and glass in swazi.

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7. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

How easy it is to take awesome weekend trips, and it is cheap.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes.

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2. But don't forget your:

PADI Cert.

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Maputo, Mozambique 02/18/17

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Panama, Mexico, Buenos Aires, Sao Paulo.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Maputo to Johannesburg to Atlanta, approximately a 24 hour journey.

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3. How long have you lived here?

Almost 2 years.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

U.S. government.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing overall is good. You mostly find families in houses, some with pools. New apartment complex for singles and families is now open, with pool, gym, ATM, social area. Most people are happy with their housing.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

If you shop in regular stores, you can save a lot. Sometimes you just want to go to a nice, gourmet store where there is fresh everything from South Africa, and that is expensive. I do a combination of both.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Liquids--I did not do a consumable shipment, but we can receive Amazon Prime Pantry easily. Restricted to 16 oz. per shipment, liquids. You can find almost anything here, though, and people travel to South Africa once in a while to do shopping for good meat, wine, cheese, etc.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Some wonderful restaurants throughout the city. Food delivery is limited, but does exist from Indian restaurants and pizza spots.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Just mosquitoes, sometimes a few ants or cockroaches, but no infestations.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Receive through diplomatic pouch, do not send much as the size is limited in the pouch. But you can send small things, and letters.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Readily available and approimately $200-$250/month for full-time maid. Gardeners work usually part-time, and you can usually have them take care of various things like dog-walking if you'd like.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

There are some gyms...not too expensive.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

We use credit cards and ATMs.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

There are a couple of English services--Catholic and Protestant.

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

You can get by without too much, but I speak the language and I think I have had a rich experience getting to know people better and connecting.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

To a degree, as sidewalks and ramps are not everywhere if that is necessary.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Depends on your situation. There are some reputable taxi drivers recommended, but for the most part people use their own cars if they are coming from another country.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

You can get around without an SUV in the city. Some families if they have two cars will have at least one SUV and another sedan. You definitely need at least one SUV to get around outside of the city on the fun trips to the beaches, etc.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, it works pretty well for us. Quickly installed. You can bring an Apple TV type device, and stream videos no problem.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

I brought an unlocked phone. Buy phone cards with minutes on them as you go here in the city.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

Yes, there are a few high-quality vets.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

There are a few options in the embassy for spouses. Some people telecommute back to a job in the U.S. Otherwise, it is not easy as there is no bilateral work agreement with Mozambique and the U.S.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Yes, there are tons of ways to get involved as a volunteer, up to whatever point you would like. There is a Service Learning department at the American International School who has contacts with over 20 organizations, and as a parent or as a citizen you can connect with them to get started.

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

It gets hot here, so light clothing for most of the year except a light sweater in June/July. You might need a few suits if you are working in an office, but for the most part nice casual will get you far.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Lock you car doors around town. Park in an area that will not be subject to having car parts removed (once in a while you hear this happens). Don't be flashy to draw attention. I move around town freely, I drive, and I just keep my eyes open.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

We take malaria meds, and sleep under nets. We came with a child who has a medical condition, and we have been happy with the access both in Maputo (ICOR) and in South Africa so nearby. You would be medically evacuated for surgeries to South Africa.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

It is pretty good, occasional burning of trash in some areas, which has bothered some families, but overall it is fine. We are on the ocean, and the breezes help.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

Food allergies are not something people are educated about here for the most part. You will have to monitor this yourself, likely making sure you know exactly what goes into every dish by reading labels. If my child had a food allergy, it would be challenging. Peanuts are everywhere, for example.

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5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Can be very hot and humid during our summer months. You would be amazed how you adapt, and you start to think it is "cold" in June/July when the low is in the 60s.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There are about 4 International Schools that people use, plus a Montessori option. Our kids attend the American International School. They have enjoyed their time there, and we have been happy with their experience. It is slightly teacher-dependent on how your year goes. There will be a new director of the school in August 2017, which could prove to be a refreshing change. There are lots of good after-school activities, and the swimming program is very strong.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

AISM is trying to do more, but their reputation so far has been that they are not prepared to provide support. That said, there is a new learning support person in primary who is making huge strides in this area.

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Yes, there are a few good options for preschools. Mostly for younger kids, nannies or "babas" are hired to care for them.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes...soccer, basketball, swimming, dance, art, etc. from the American School.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Fairly large expat community, and morale is high for most. If you come knowing this post is what you make it, you will love it. You cannot have a list in your mind of what is missing. You will find lots of positive things here with the right outlook.

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2. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

For anyone...living along the Indian Ocean and traveling to the beaches or to Kruger Park in South Africa are some things everyone loves. Finding green space for kids to run free usually requires a long weekend trip, but there are some options, including the AISM school grounds after hours. Going to long lunches at some of the restaurants is fun. Not an expert on the nightlife scene, but there is one.

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3. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Yes, especially considering African posts in general, this one is friendly to expats who are in the LGBT community.

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4. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Gender equality is an area that needs attention, for sure, but women are the backbone of families here.

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5. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

We love going on safari in Kruger Park. Our kids have gained a new appreciation for nature and wildlife. They are also better world citizens now, paying attention to the need for caring for our planet and being generous to those in need. We have traveled to lots of beaches, gone scuba diving, and have loved these trips. It has been a very family-friendly post.

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6. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Lots of options for artwork, handicrafts, etc.

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7. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Looking at the Indian Ocean everyday.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

More about the restrictions of the non-bilateral work agreement for spouses.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes, definitely. The friends we have made and the experience for our kids have impacted us in ways that have made our lives more enriched.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Winter coats.

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4. But don't forget your:

Shoes--plan ahead and buy for kids in advance. Birthday presents for kids' parties (stock up).

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Mia Couto is a great start.

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6. Do you have any other comments?

I wish we could stay another year!

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Maputo, Mozambique 01/18/17

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Brasilia, Brazil for two years but have also lived/worked all over Africa for shorter stints.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Washington DC. Some fly through Europe (Maputo-Lisbon direct and then onward or Maputo-Joburg-any European city); we prefer the more direct route Maputo-Joburg-DC (there is also a direct Joburg to NY and Joburg to Atlanta).

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3. How long have you lived here?

Almost two years.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomatic mission.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing is evolving here. There's the Miramar compound which is about 10 large/more American style houses that share a central yard. Not a lot of privacy in Miramar but still good for those that are very social, have kids, etc. Miramar does not have a pool but does have a playground area/trampoline/etc. Miramar is mostly USAID folks.



Then, there is the new Acacia Estates apartments, 2-3 bedroom (depending on family size), very large, very nice, very American/modern. They have some new construction issues (leaking mostly), but those should be worked out with time. Acacia Estates has a pool (one big, one kiddie) but no playground.



Finally, there are the stand-alone houses, more Portuguese/older, still pretty large. Some stand alone houses have pools and good-sized years, others no.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

The dollar continues to do well here, so prices are great right now. Availability is also great since South Africa is next door (so most things are imported). I can get almost anything here: cheese (including basic cheddar), sour cream, Mexican food supplies, a variety of alcohol, etc.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Honestly, nothing. Since we have access to Amazon shipping, there's not much I can't order online or find in South Africa.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Restaurants: look on Tripadvisor :). A lot of fast food places (including the new Pizza Hut) deliver.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

It's Africa. There will be bugs, not infestations, but bugs. Flying cockroaches exist. They have big worms here.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Embassy has mail service.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Typical help includes gardener, dog walker, driver, nanny, maid, and maybe a household manager. Cost depends on service but is generally cheap. Roughly $200 USD/month full-time.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Plenty of gyms/clubs to workout, not sure of cost.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Credit cards widely accepted and safe to use.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

There are a few not sure of names.

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

Most people speak a bit of English. Local Portuguese classes/tutors are available and affordable.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Most places are not wheelchair accessible.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Buses (chapas) are generally not safe. Taxis are safe and affordable.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

4 wheel drive so you can travel within Mozambique (beach sand, flooding, unfinished roads, etc.). I've heard people recommend not buying a common car, because the parts are more likely to be stolen. Don't bring a car that's in great cosmetic condition. It will get dinged, scratched, etc.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

High-speed is available and works well. It can take a few weeks to install, but people often get a dongle if they need Internet right away. You can buy a dongle in an hour and be set up.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

So many options out there now; everyone does it differently.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

Animals do not need to be quarantined in Maputo but do in Jo-burg, so you may need to route your pets differently. Veterinarian services seem okay. South Africa is nearby for anything major.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Work at Embassy or telework, part-time and full-time seem common.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Not sure, but plenty.

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

More casual dress, business casual if even that. Formal dress required for the Marine ball.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Minor crimes are common (mugging, theft, etc.). Need to be smart.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Embassy Med Unit is fine; South Africa nearby for major needs (including driving to Nelspruit 2.5 hours away if needed). Most people take an antimalarial drug.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

I think the air quality is fine, but people have had allergies here.

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4. What do people who suffer from environmental or food allergies need to know?

People are generally unfamiliar with allergies.

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5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Hot. There are a few months (June/July) where you might want a sweater in the morning/evening, but it's generally hot. Rainy season is Oct-March, but there's been a draught lately so not much rain.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

I know there is are Portuguese, French, American, and Canadian schools. No experience with them.

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2. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Lots of preschools available; they are expensive. The good ones have wait lists.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

American community is very large. Portuguese community is also very large. Morale is okay. Africa can wear you down, but there are plenty pros and people seem happy.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Most socialization is the norm: going out to dinner or bbq parties. Everyone travels a lot over the weekend.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Probably better for couples or families though singles will be just fine. There's a nightlife and good travel options for singles. There are just more families since Moz is attractive given the cheap childcare.

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

It is a better LGBT option than most African countries.

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5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Gender equality is about the same as other African countries. Ethnic/religious prejudice doesn't seem big here.

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6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Travel! Capetown, Kruger game reserve, beach (Xai Xai, Ponto Ouro, Beline), Durban, really the options are endless for long weekend trips.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Panorama Route is a hidden gem. There's a Mexican restaurant in White River.

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Normal African artwork is available.

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9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Travel, availability of goods given close proximity to South Africa, most people speak some English, cheap help (childcare, cleaning, etc.).

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Absolutely.

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Maputo, Mozambique 07/27/14

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No, I have lived in South Asia as a diplomat and in the UK, South Africa, and Guatemala as a student.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

California - I found the best way home was to fly through Jo'burg (basically a mandatory stop anytime you leave Maputo) to London and then to LAX. There are also direct flights from Jo'burg to Atlanta, DC, and NYC.

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3. How long have you lived here?

2012-2014.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Government.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

There are houses, some with swimming pools, and apartment buildings. If you have children, you are more likely to get assigned to a house. Married couples without children and singles frequently get an apartments. The housing is not bad but also not "AF fabulous" like most other AF posts, so know that in advance.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Groceries got a lot better by the end of my tour. Nearly everything is imported from South Africa with an imported price tag to match, but as many travel to South Africa frequently, it's easy to grocery shop there for much cheaper. Personally, I didn't travel to South Africa JUST to grocery shop - although many did - as I found all the products I wanted in Maputo and couldn't justify the cost of the gas to shop in SA... but every time I passed through SA, which was about every 4-6 weeks of average, I did a big shop and filled up our freezer.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

I was very happy that I shipped a lot of dry goods (toilet paper, paper towels, canned beans, flour, sugar, etc) - not because it's not available in Maputo but because it is much more expensive. I wish I had shipped more plastic items (like tupperware) because they are outrageously expensive for some reason. But really, with Amazon and the pouch, you can get whatever you want.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Food is expensive in Maputo and the restaurant scene is uninspired. If you want basic food - such as grilled/fried chicken and limp french fries - that is easy to find and relatively cheap (US$5-7 for a plate of food). There are a ton of seafood restaurants, as well as the fish market, but it can be pricy (US$15-20 for a plate of food, minimum) and surprisingly not great quality. South Africa, on the other hand, is serious about culinary arts and there are awesome, cheap restaurants there (with amazing, cheap South African wine!)

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Mosquitos with malaria is the main one. You need to take malaria meds throughout the entire tour (although many choose not to - but at their own risk as malaria IS present in Maputo!)

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Daily Life:

1. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Widely available. Most hire empregadas (housekeepers) either full-time or part-time. We paid about US$100/month for a part-time empregada (3x/week) and US$250/month for a full-time nanny.

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2. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes, there are private gyms as well as a gym at the marine house. There are a few good yoga teachers around town, and many run/bike the marginal (although RSO would probably warn against this.)

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3. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

I didn't experience any problems.

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4. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

You may not need to know Portuguese but your life will be greatly improved if you do - just to be able to talk to Mozambicans, as many don't speak English. That being said, my husband never learned the language and he survived 2 years but did rely on me to do basically all of the talking!

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5. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Yes, but it's honestly probably better than most African cities. The proximity to South Africa means there is good medical care very close.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Taxis are ok and there actually is a local train that I rode more of a tourist attraction than as a form of transport. But, really, you need a car.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Best is 4WD - there is a lot of off-road driving, especially if you're trying to get to a cool beach. Most people have Toyotas that are easily serviced in South Africa.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

My husband relies on internet for work and - although he frequently found it frustrating as he frequently had to switch services depending on outages - it was doable. We paid about US$100/month for TVCabo, plus he had dongle SIMS for two of the cell companies in town that he used whenever TVCabo was down (about once per week on average).

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

NO! This is a big deal, so please read if your spouse wants to work. The USG does NOT have a bilateral work agreement with Mozambican so the only jobs available are at the Embassy. We were one of the lucky ones as my husband telecommutes for an American company.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

Plenty - there is so much need everywhere - you just need to figure out where you want to help. But in terms of organized volunteer opportunities, I'm not aware of many.

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Fairly casual. Work is work so you need to look professional, although half-day Fridays are casual days.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Maputo is rated critical for crime and for good reason - there were about 3 armed robberies of popular expat restaurants in my two years there, not to mention multiple reports of muggings on the street (but nearly always in the places where the RSO warns not to go). You definitely need to follow the RSO briefings and be aware. That being said, we encountered zero problems in our two years there - as do most everyone else.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Malaria is a health concern. Medical care in Maputo is ok and South Africa is only a few hours away for anything that can't be dealt with locally.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Pretty good with the ocean breeze. I previously lived in crazy/dirty South Asia so my perspective may be skewed, but I had zero complaints.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Gorgeous weather most of the year. It can get hot in the summer but it was never unbearable, and there is a rainy season with a few bad rainstorms each year. But overall the weather is lovely. One complaint is that the sunrise/sunset times are strange - rising very early (4am-ish) in the summer and setting very early (5pm) in winter. I didn't like that the sun had already set in winter by the time work was done, as I preferred to walk home but only felt safe doing so in daylight.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

I have no personal experience but I know most are happy with the American school.

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2. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Yes, preschools are available and many choose to use a preschool part-time. But really, almost everyone relies on hiring nannies. Our nanny was wonderful, spoke English (many don't), and had 15+ years of experience for US$250/month. But I also know that we got lucky with a great nanny from the start whereas many of my friends went through quite a few nannies before they found a good fit for their family.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

The expat community is huge - especially when you consider the large amounts of Portuguese and South Africans who live in Maputo permanently. Overall, morale is good but really varies. The morale within the Embassy community is just ok - the Embassy itself is separated across multiple buildings throughout the city and the lack of a unified workplace really shows in divisions in the community as well (but they will soon start construction on a NEC). As I already mentioned, many travel out of town frequently so that contributes to a lack of a sense of community as well.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

BBQs, pool parties with grilled seafood, group camping trips. And plenty of nightlife and live music, if you're into that! (Just be prepared to stay out late!)

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

It's a good city for everyone but it really depends on what you're into. If you're single, I would really only recommend Maputo if you love late-night drinking and dancing - the nightlife is excellent, but starts REALLY late (past midnight) and so was simply too late for me and my husband to hang. As I mentioned, the travel opportunities are great which can make up for a lack of things to do in Maputo (other than enjoy the nightlife), but I found it difficult to find a good community in Maputo as nearly every weekend everyone was either out of town or sleeping off the previous night. Maputo is a good post for families due to the great weather, affordable household staff, and awesome travel (your kids will think seeing giraffes and elephants in the wild is a totally normal weekend activity!)

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Compared to other African posts, it is good - Mozambique is more tolerant than most African countries and there is an open gay scene.

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5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Mozambique is generally a pretty tolerant country and Maputo is a blend of many races, religions, and cultures. There are a lot of Europeans in Maputo, as well as Mozambicans of European descent. The Mozambique government prides itself on its religious tolerance and there are churches/temples for nearly all religions/denominations.

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6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

As mentioned above, the travel! Game viewing in Kruger National Park is a definite highlight, as is peaceful weekend breaks in Swaziland, and of course gorgeous Cape Town (one of the few destinations not in driving distance - but only a short flight away).

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

If you're into water sports (sailing, kitesurfing, sport fishing), Maputo has a lot to offer. Overall, though, I think the city is fairly boring and that's why so many get out of town so frequently.

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Mozambican capulanas - a beautiful fabric that is also used to make cool, unique crafts like rugs, clothing, jewelry, etc.

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9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The amazing travel opportunities! There is SO MUCH to see and do within just a few hours drive from Maputo. Half-day Fridays at the Embassy help get out of town for weekend trips. Maputo is 2 hours from Kruger National Park and beautiful South Africa, 3-4 hours from peaceful, mountainous Swaziland, and 2-8 hours from an endless supply of gorgeous Mozambican beaches. You can travel as much as you want and never run out of amazing destinations just a few hours drive from home. The flipside is that everyone does travel a lot and that means the community in Maputo is not as strong.

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10. Can you save money?

Of course, it depends. It really depends not just on how much you travel, but also at what level (are you camping most of the time or staying at 5-star hotels?) And how much do you eat out? If you're mainly cooking at home, and traveling cheaply, I think you can save money but it will be close.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

I wish I had know that working at the Embassy would be challenging for a variety of reasons - there are a lot of Management issues that are slowly getting sorted out with a great current Management team.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

This is a tough one - it wasn't what I expected and I don't have any interest in going back. But for two years, it was awesome to explore that area of the world. And I love speaking Portuguese!

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Winter clothes.

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4. But don't forget your:

Sunscreen, camping gear, love of road trips, and appreciation for fine South African wine.

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

Blood Diamond was partially filmed in Maputo, although it won't tell you anything about Mozambique. Anthony Bourdain's "No Reservations" on Mozambique is awesome and fairly accurate.

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6. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Anything by Mia Couto, anything on Mozambique's civil war - which is really important to understand if you're trying to figure out the country.

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Maputo, Mozambique 04/07/14

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No. 6th expat post.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Los Angeles, CA; 24 - 36 hours depending on route. LA-DC-Jo'burg-Maputo; LA-DC-London-Jo'burg-Maputo; LA-DC-Lisbon-Maputo.

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3. How long have you lived here?

2 years (2011-2013).

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

U.S. Government.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

The U.S. Government houses families and people with pets in single-family homes. Singles and couples without kids generally live in apartments, condos and townhomes in Somerschield II. The housing is clustered around the same areas, which makes it convenient for car pooling and house parties, but not good for your privacy.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Groceries are expensive compared to DC but the quality and prices of fresh produce are very good and there are fruit and vegetables vendors all over the place. You can also get fresh seafood delivered for almost nothing. I was disappointed to discover that Mozambique does have its own dairy industry, so non-UHT milk is expensive and imported from South Africa.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Paper products, cleaning supplies, chocolate chips, basic first aid meds like pain killers (lots of fake drugs on the market), and books (they are very expensive locally). Everything else is pretty much available either locally or in South Africa and Swaziland.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There are a number of surprisingly good restaurants in Maputo - you will quickly discover all of them. This doesn't mean they are not worth visiting several times.

Most of the South African fast food chains are present except Nando's which is just a poor and expensive imitation of traditional Mozambican peri-peri chicken (once you've tasted that, you won't want to eat Nando's ever again)!

Mozambique has surprisingly good pizza.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

This is a malaria prone country. I didn't experience any problems with mosquitoes but I know many of my friends did. I actually had no insect problems at all.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

DPO.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

It is fairly cheap, however, you get what you pay for. The work ethic is poor and the quality of work is also poor. As a result, you will invest a lot of time training someone. Labor laws favor the employee so dismissal is also difficult. There is a legal minimum wage but locals tend not to pay it while working their staff for long hours, so the expectation is that foreign employers will pay a lot more but for less work. Also, expect your employees to regularly ask for "loans" and "advances." Remember too, in December, employees expect a month's bonus.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

I used the Embassy gym but there are a couple of good gyms and personal trainers around town. Mozambicans are very fitness-oriented.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

I rarely used mine. It is predominantly a cash economy. Restrictions on how much foreign currency locals can take out of the country were tightened in 2012 so locals will often offer favorable rates to exchange currency with you directly.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

I believe all the major monotheist religions have at least one service available in English.

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

You really should learn more than the basic level of Portuguese. Mozambicans will be your best cheerleaders and they love to help you with your language without being mean about it. People speak a lot more English than they do in other Portuguese-speaking countries because Mozambique's neighbors are all English speaking. Many Mozambicans also fled to those same neighbors during the civil war. Many government officials speak very good English but will conduct meetings in Portuguese on principal.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Yes. Infrastructure is very poor for everyone.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

U.S. Government people cannot use them. Besides, they are terrible.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Given how bad the roads are, the frequent flooding, a high cleance, second-hand vehicle is the way to go. Many people imported their cars from Japan and were able to sell them for the exact same price on departure (how often does that happen?)!

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, but "high-speed" is relative. Most people use TV Cabo, which is fine when it works, but if you ever need customer service, good luck! Their service standards are appalling. Others use Intra. Intra's customer service is very good, but its set up costs are high and its speed is slower than that of TV Cabo.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Bring an unlocked phone with you and get a local SIM card. Networks often go down so Mozambicans will often have two phones (one for each of the major networks: Vodacom and M-Cel). Phones can be bought on the local economy but they are often cheap fakes. There is also a lot of phone theft, particularly if you have the latest of any of the major models (iPhone, Galaxy, etc).

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

I think it depends on which way you enter the country. I believe if your pet transits via South Africa, it will need to be quarantined there. Mozambicans have a rather shocking fear of dogs so kids will often provoke your dog because they don't know how to interact with it.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Yes and no. This country has a very poor professional class due to low education levels. Expats could fill the gap but protectionist labor laws make it difficult for foreigners to get work permits even if their skills are needed. This means locals with professional skills are often not loyal to any organization and play them against each other to get higher salaries.

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2. What volunteer opportunities are available locally?

This is a poor country still recovering from a protracted civil war. There is a desperate need for community assistance. The trick is to find a work-life balance because this is a society that has become accustomed to hand-outs so they will take every ounce of your time available. You have to learn to say "enough."

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3. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Mozambicans pride themselves on dressing well so they tend to find our "business" attire a little too casual. Mozambican women's business dress tends to border on the provocative.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Crimes of opportunity like car break-ins and mugging. Also around the holidays, particularly Christmas/New Year, armed gangs attack restaurants and rob everyone inside. There have been spates of kidnappings and armed house break-ins. Rapes are underreported but occur frequently (not on the scale of South Africa though).

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

HIV is prevalent as is malaria. This is a promiscuous society and safe sex is an absolute necessity. HIV/AIDS may no longer be the death sentence of the past but is it really worth being on harsh drugs for the rest of your life?

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Fair. It will get worse once more infrastructural development comes into play but for now, it's fine.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

The "winter" months are beautiful with zero humidity and temperatures in the 60s and 70s F (teens and low 20s C for our metric friends). The summer months (October - February) are hot and humid. You will want your AC on.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

AISM (American International School of Mozambique) is the preferred choice for U.S. Government families, foreign diplomats, and much of Mozambique's elite. However, there are other less expensive international schools in different languages that people also like. Kids and parents alike appeared to really like AISM and the school community was very strong.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

I had no experience with preschools. For very small children, people empolyed nannies.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes especially associated with AISM.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Large community initially consisting of NGOs and aid workers, but with the gas industry, there are more gas related companies sending employees and their families.

Morale is relatively high due to the relaxed lifestyle.

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2. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Beaches, BBQs, houseparties, regional travel, and dating (plenty of that to be had). There are some "luxury" resorts along the coasts but they are EXPENSIVE! Everyone should go at least once though.

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3. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

This is a good city for most people. Men (married and single) particularly enjoy Maputo for its very liberal sexual attitudes. Watch your husband/boyfriend like a hawk; Mozambican women are very sexually aggressive and don't really care whether the person is in a relationship or not. Women too, single or not, will be regularly propositioned. The prevailing view is, as a foreigner, you have a lot of disposable income that you are willing to share with a lover.

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4. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Mozambicans are less conservative than their neighbors. Members of the LGBT community will not be treated with open hostility, but they will generate a lot of private discourse. We often mistake the lack of Mozambican antagonism towards LGBT persons to mean accpetance, but I did not find this to be true. Rather, Mozambicans have bigger things to worry about and take an attitude of "if you don't bother me, I won't bother you."

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5. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Yes, but they are often so subtle that if you are not on the receiving end, you could be persuaded into believing Mozambique is the "Rainbow Nation" that South Africa purports to be. It is a chauvenist culture so men of any race will always get more respect than women. For years, Mozambicans were conditioned to be subservient to Caucasians, therefore African Americans, particularly women, often complain of poor treatment with preference shown to their non-black compatriots.

The subtlety of the discrimination is masked by the general good humor of Mozambicans, but is tedious nonetheless. Caucasians should not be fooled into thinking the submissiveness means the locals like them, it's just an affectation Mozambicans assume in order to avoid "problems." Mozambique has a significant mulatto population which appears well integrated. However, when alone, the black population have been known to make disparaging remarks about mulattos.

Under communism, religion was illegal, therefore religious intolerance doesn't really exist because people are still trying to figure religion out. Even Islam in Mozambique appears to have very "flexible" rules and does not adhere to the strictness it has in other countries.

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6. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Trips to Cape Town. Flights around Southern Africa are not cheap so you won't save money on travel but Cape Town is definitely worth the splurge.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

House calls by masasge therapists!

No "hidden" gems, but trips to Kruger Park and the glass factory in Swaziland are a must. Sundowners at the Polana Hotel overlooking the Indian Ocean ... blissful (but expensive)!

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Peri-peri chicken (forget Nando's, it is just fake Mozambican chicken)! Seafood here is out of this world! Guard your money carefully; Mozambicans have no qualms about asking you for large quantities of money with absolutely no intention of giving it back.

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9. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

The food was really good especially the seafood, chicken, and cashews. The Embassy also observed half days on Fridays which meant you could take advantage of mini-breaks to neighboring countries. The easy access to South Africa and Swaziland was great if you just needed some decent shopping and an opportunity to speak and think in English!

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10. Can you save money?

Yes, if you don't leave the country every other weekend. The local crafts are "okay," but the quality is inconsistent. Neighboring countries have a wider variety of crafts of significantly better quality.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. What do you wish you had known about this particular city/country before moving there?

Mozambicans are very friendly.

I do wish I had known just how poorly educated people are though. There is a lot of qualifications inflation. Anyone with a modicum of education is referred to as "doctor," but you quickly realize that many of the fundamentals one takes for granted cannot be assumed.

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2. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

I'm not sure. I didn't hate it, but I certainly did not love it and was frankly, relieved when I left. Constantly being asked for money and favors was tiresome. Inconsistent service delivery was frustrating. However, the openness and friendliness of the Mozambican people was refreshing.

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3. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Expectation of anything ever happening in a timely manner or repairs being done correctly the first or second time. Leave behind heavy winter clothing, but do bring light jackets and sweaters.

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4. But don't forget your:

Patience and sense of humor.

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Some people like Mia Couto but I found his books hard to read in Portuguese.

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6. Do you have any other comments?

Maputo is not representative of Mozambique. The quality of life deteriorates the further away from Maputo you go.

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Maputo, Mozambique 10/17/12

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

DC is our home base, and it is a looooong flight to Joburg and then a puddle jumper to Maputo. Or you can go through Lisbon and then straight into Maputo. Either way its a nasty, long flight in coach

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3. How long have you lived here?

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

(The contributor is affiliated with the U.S. government and lived in Maputo fro 2009 to 2011, a sixth expat experience.)

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

There is one compound that used to belong to USAID but is now shared among all agencies. It is nice for families with young children. Other than that, its a crap shoot: apartments for couples and houses for families. This is not your old AF housing, where everything is wonderful and all places come with a pool and a great yard. This was probably the worst housing we have seen in all our years of overseas living. Plus, the Embassy staff is not properly trained. Yoou get a poor quality of work when they do work, and skilled labor outside of the Embassy is not much better. If you run into a South African service company that has quality control, then hang onto them and ask for references for other jobs needed.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

If you do local fruits and veggies, you can save some money. Also, using local shopping stores will help the checking account. More grocery stores are opening up there, so things might be a little better. The best steaks I've ever had in my life came from Swazi and SA. Cheeses were limited unless you wanted to pay an arm or leg for some imported items. South African wines are great!

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Anything from the States thats' near and dear to your heart.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Some of the usual American nasty fast food: KFC and in Nelspruit, McDonalds. Maybe a little cheaper than stateside prices.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Malaria (four types), mango flies, ants.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

The embassy has no APO/DPO service, only pouch. We were very limited on what we could bring in, no liquids.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Cheap, but quality is tough, as the good ones get hired quickly. If you have the time and want to train them, then you can find a young person that is willing to have a job. I never saw more young men walking around going nowhere than in Maputo.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Not really. The Marines have a gym you can ask to join, but that's about it. Get some kettle bells and go work out on the beach at low tide.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Don't use it, except in Nelspruit. Maputo for the most part is a cash-n-carry city.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Yes, I believe Catholic and non denominational.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Not sure about newspapers. I don't believe so, but DSTV out of SA is what the majority of us used for TV.

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

It helps a lot and breaks the ice trying to show your making an effort.

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

I wouldn't advise coming here at all. The city has more pot holes and crumbling sidwalks than any war zone I've ever been in. As a previous posting stated, Kruger Park has better roads than the city of Maputo.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Nope. Stay away from them.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Bring you old SUV or buy a used one here. But do not bring anything you're afraid of get dinged or banged up. Some folks got by with sedans, but I wouldn't recommend that because when it rains the streets are like small rivers, and you have no idea what your driving in or over.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Internet is there, but it is not high-speed. Different packages are available, including ADSL/Cable/Wireless.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

You can buy them there, and most companies will have a plan for you and the family. Pay as you go.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

Not unless they are going into SA for a stay.

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

This is hit or miss. A kennel and some vets are here, and they try very hard but don't have the money or the equipment to treat an illness. But they do love dogs and cats. Most locals...well, all locals scream bloody murder at the site of a dog. A dog on a leash will cause man, woman, and child to run out into the street into oncoming traffic. I guess they figure it's safer to get hit by a bus than to be be attacked by a toy poodle!

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Nop.e

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Sharp casual at work, unless you have meetings, then it's suit and tie. Anything goes, really. Around Maputo: shorts, t-shirts and flip-flops are standard attire.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Oh my, yes! Lots of crime and it can be violent.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Oh yeah, malaria is everywhere, as are mango flies, and medical care is not great. All of us went to SA for anything serious.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

There was some pollution, but not anything that really bothered our family. The sea breeze usually blew everything away. Most pollution is from old diesel buses and trucks. The city of Maputo doesn't manufacture diddly, so there is not much in the way of air pollution from industry.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

AISM is where most American Diplomats send their kids. There is also a French school and a Portuguese school. We were not impressed with AISM at all. They bragged about how they were one of the best in all of Africa, if so I'd hate to see the worst. The kids were educated and had some great teachers, but the communication from the school on every front was severely lacking. This school didn't have the high turnover rate that most International schools have, so you have a group of kids that have been here for years and really are not into accepting others that quickly. If your kids are outgoing, theough, they will adjust eventually. Knowing what we know now, I would not have accepted my position due to the school.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

Not much from what I've been told but I would inquire a little more.

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Not sure, but did hear about a great Montessori school that went to the 3rd grade, I believe.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Yes, AISM offers some after-school activities, but again the communication there is horrible and it seems like the left hand has no idea what the right hand is doing. For example during a huge soccer match involving 4 or 5 schools, many parents were looking for a first-aid station, kit or a nurse, but they found nada, zilch, nothing. One child broke his hand, and another had a major asthma attack. So at the next big sports event, you would think these would be addressed. But nope. (Sigh!)

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Pretty big with numerous Embassies/NGOs and expats.

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2. Morale among expats:

This is a mixed bag. Because of housing issues, school issues, and management problems, many people couldn't wait to leave. Those not dealing with these issues seemed to enjoy it. It is funny how one section manager can ruin numerous lives, and even when it's a known, nothing is really done about it. Things should be okay next year or the year after, unless you're inheriting their office; then you'll have to put the pieces back together. the pieces back together.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Many house parties and get-togethers, Kruger, and trips outside the city. There are a few restaurants that offer some awesome food, but outside of that not much. You'll need to spend money to get outside of Maputo once in a while. Oh, there are a few places, as far as nightclubs and a casino. I went to one club, once, just once: a very interesting clientele.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

It is great for singles and couples and families with young kids; not so great for teens. The group at AISM that is still there throws parties starting at 11 at night all over town. Our kids couldn't understand why we didn't let them go out and stay out 'til the sun came up until one student was stabbed and robbed of his cell phone. And then the East Asian kidnappings started, with grandmothers and kids being held hostage for money. It's not Europe! Crime is everywhere. I knew it was bad, but the lack of common sense in some of these parents is amazing, and we battled for months with our kids on these issues until the bad things started happening. Then folks started to think, and you saw more house parties for the teens.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

As a previous post said this country and city have a mishmash of cultures and races, so there are not many racial issues that I'm aware of. Gender, yes. Women are still treated as second class citizens.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Kruger, Vic Falls, Cape Town, and R&R. There is lots of great seafood in town, and 90% of the locals are very nice. But the other 10% were pretty bad.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Kruger!!! And there are some awsome local beaches. And great seafood that is comparable to anywhere in the world. We enjoyed weekend runs into Nelspruit for some first-world town life with movies and malls.

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Some furniture, few local clothing items.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

Kruger was, hands down, our biggest thrill. We didn't travel much inside Moz due to infrastructure problems, the lack of decent emergency health care, and the lack of just about everything. That being said, we had friends that went all over the country and very rarely made it into South Africa. The key is that you have to get out. Staying in Maputo, which a few folks did, turned them into grumpy old men. By going out and about you won't save money, nor will you by traveling to Nelspruit for groceries. Weather is tropical and seasons are reversed. So Spring, Summer, and Fall were not bad, while Winter was hot and muggy.

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11. Can you save money?

Depends on how much you need to get away from the poverty.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

I would if the school was top notch as it advertised and housing was better. But if its the status quo no way!!

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

sense of urgency, common sense (well, bring some but keep it on the shelf). Thinking that the embassy is run by Americans and should hold all to that standard, alas, many of us let the locally-employed-staff continue to fumble around making the same errors again and again, not holding folks accountable or getting them the proper training.

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3. But don't forget your:

patience and a strong will for turning away from the beggars and the poverty. This place is not run efficiently in any shape or form, so be prepared. If you keep your expectations low, every once in awhile you'll be pleasantly surprised. Graft and corruption are the norm at every level of society.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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6. Do you have any other comments?

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Maputo, Mozambique 06/07/11

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Israel/Palestine, Quito, Monterrey, here

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Washington, DC

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3. How long have you lived here?

A little more than a year

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

American diplomat

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Housing associated with the US Embassy is typically an apartment for a household of 1-2, a small townhouse for 3-4, and a larger townhouse for 5-6. There are almost no properties which do not share at least one wall with a neighboring residence. Housing is all within 10 minutes of the embassy, 15 minutes of USAID's offices.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Most items are available, although inconsistently and at a price often multiples of that in the US. (Milk is US$10 a gallon in 2011.) If you're single or a couple, prices are annoying, but for a family it can be horrifying. For better prices, selection and consistent availability, many travel to South Africa monthly and buy in large quantities. (Aseptic package milk being about US$6 a gallon there in 2011.)

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Paper products, maple syrup, diet soda, and lots more spaghetti sauce

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Chain restuarants are few and quite expensive. There are a number of decent restaurants in Maputo, and all typically are expensive. (A simple lunch is US$15 in 2011.)

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5. What kinds of organic, vegetarian and allergy-friendly foods are available, such as organic produce, gluten-free products, meat substitutes for vegetarians, etc?

Cultural and religious practices for some and widespread poverty for many makes vegetarian options quite common.

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6. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Four strains of malaria, ants, termites, spiders, centipedes, giant water bugs (google it), flies, bees, wasps, and, oh, roaches. An entymological wonderland.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

For official Americans, there is no DPO in 2011, only diplomatic pouch with severe restrictions on outgoing items. DHL and FedEx both provide dependable service in Maputo.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

In 2011, US$150-200 a month will get you six days a week of excellent help in the house. Gardeners are a bit less, and pool guys (if you're so lucky as to have a pool) are even less still (but they only work a couple hours a week.)

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes, but expensive. Those associated with the US Embassy can request access to the Marine House.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

This is a cash society, and even among places where you might be able to use a credit card, very few of them leave you feeling your information is being well guarded. There are however many ATM machines, including machines inside both the Embassy and the USAID office areas. Not all cards will work in all machines, but odds are you will find one that will work ofr you. In 2011, ATMs here will let you withdraw only about US$100 a transaction.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

The local language always helps, but neighboring South Africa makes English a language that is widely spoken.

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Extreme difficulties. Sidewalks, when present, are in extremely poor condition and make it difficult for even normally abled persons to move about. Frequent electrical outages make elevators (often quite narrow) a dicey proposition. Housing is often vertical.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Taxis are not considered safe, nor are local buses.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

The roughest roads you will encounter will either be deep in the wilds of Mozambique, or the streets in the city of Maputo. I'm being honest here-- even the dirt roads inside Kruger National Park are smoother and better maintained than the typical street in Maputo.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

There are currently two cell phone companies in Mozambique: Vodacom (part of Vodaphone) and mCel (government owned.) A third company is set to enter the market in the next few years. In 2011, 3G service is offered, but data plans can be expensive. Bring an unlocked quad band phone, and you'll be fine. Dual SIM phones have an advantage, as calling the competitor cell phone company is something like five times as expensive as calling a number on your own network. Locals find it cheaper to maintain two numbers if they must, rather than pay the penalty for calling the other network.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Zero

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Crime is an everpresent threat. Those who experience the fewest problems are those who avoid being out at night, who avoid high crime areas, and who maintain a high awareness of their surroundings.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

There is no local medical care beyond the most rudimentary that rises to Western standards at this time. For anything more than the sniffles, you will have to go to neighboring South Africa or beyond.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Fair. There is a cloud of pollution that hangs over the city and everpresent dust, but the breeze off the Indian Ocean makes things seem fresh. Even still, you will find a layer of grime on your car every morning.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Semi-tropical, with Summer in the 90s and humid and Winter lows in the upper 50s and highs in the upper 70s to low 80s. Pleasant, all things considered. Maputo is as far south of the equator as Miami is to the north.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

AISM is the school of choice among the official Americans here, although there are other options. Expat Americans represent only something like 10% of AISM's population.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

Limited. AISM attempts to meet the needs of all their students, but local resources are extremely limited. If you have any concerns at all, it would be best to check with the school before seriously considering coming here.

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

Yes. AISM has an (expensive) program, and there is a Montessori school as well. With labor costs under US$200 a month in 2011, a full-time nanny is an economical option that many exercise.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

AISM runs a wide range of after school activiites for their students, from arts to athletics and everything in between.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

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2. Morale among expats:

Among the official Americans, the morale is quite high-- higher than a few years ago, owing to good current management at post.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Unless you are into the bar scene, you will pretty much be making your own fun. That said, the almost universally gorgeous weather makes a barbecue with friends a most pleasant way to spend an afternoon, without the distractions you would have in many other places.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

If you don't expect too much from a city-- correction: if you expect almost nothing from a city, it's not too bad a place to live. It will seem like you've run through all the good restaurants the first week you're here, and have seen everything in the city by the next week, but if you make your own fun, this is really a quite nice place to live as a single, couple or as a family.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Maputo is a city built of many cultures, all of whom live together quite well. That said, there are strong racial and gender stereotypes layered upon Mozambican society, including a strong sense of class separation. For example, the ladies that help at our house were amused for a week after seeing their white male employer not only cook (well), but wash his dish afterwards. They had never seen that before.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

Kruger, the beaches, the incredible warmth and friendliness of the Mozambican people.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Kruger Park, the beaches, Nelspruit, hobbies, gathering with friends, cooking out

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

If you aren't crazily going on expensive trips to other places, you can save lots of money, even families can save. (We bank every other paycheck.)

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11. Can you save money?

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes. If you don't expect much from a town, this really isn't that bad of a place to live.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Wristwatch. Man, are these people laid back.

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3. But don't forget your:

Anti-malarials and roadmap of South Africa.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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6. Do you have any other comments?

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Maputo, Mozambique 05/17/10

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

Yes.

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2. What is your home city/country? How long is the trip to post from there, with what connections? How easy/difficult is it to travel to this city/country?

Brasilia, Brazil.

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3. How long have you lived here?

2 years.

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4. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Brazilian diplomat.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Some big houses around the embassy area. Expect to pay at least USD 2000 a month.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Groceries and appliances, not too bad. Everything is imported, but from their next door neighbor. Furniture is difficult and a bit expensive, though.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Furniture, bookcases.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

Only KFC! Price is low.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

MALARIA! Watch for the mosquitoes. Nets are a must for children, and different neighborhoods have more or less incidence.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Plenty and cheap. Not every worker is good, but with some patience you can find decent people.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Some.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

There are many, and I was always able to draw money from my US account in local currency.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

I know there are plenty, because of the South African community.

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

You can get cable, but is not cheap.

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

My first language is Portuguese, so I didn't have any problems. But I know that in malls and banks you can find people who speak English.

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Many, as you can imagine.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

You should have the phone number of at least 2 or 3 taxi drivers you trust, which are not too hard to find.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

You need an SUV or a jeep.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Same as above.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Buy one there. Getting a pre-paid account is very easy.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

Not in Mozambique. But try to ship them through Lisbon, not Johannesburg, to avoid quarantine in the connecting flight.

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

There is at least one good vet.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

Yes, among international agencies.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Government and diplomatic people wear suit and ties.

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Health & Safety:

1. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Burglaries happen a lot. Find an enclosed area (better) or get an electric fence.

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2. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

MALARIA. They have the necessary medicines, but sometimes the doctors are not too good. Some people had bad experiences with the most recommended hospitals.

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3. What is the air quality like at post (good/moderate/bad)? Are there seasonal air quality issues? Does the air quality have an impact on health?

Good, except in the crowded avenues, where it is moderate.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Wet the whole year, and hot in the summers - though less so than in Rio de Janeiro.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

There are American, French, Italian and Portuguese Schools, and an International one, which is not very good. Also a few small private schools with classes in English, which are a bit better and not as expensive as the American School

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Big. Not only there are many embassies, but also lots of International cooperation.

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2. Morale among expats:

Pretty good, as far as I know. People are not enthusiastic about Maputo, but I haven`t seen anyone who strongly dislikes.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Some bars, one good concert hall.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Mostly yes, though it may get a little boring.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

Not that I`ve seen. Lots of Indian/Pakistani immigrants, and people of Portuguese origin (white), and they seem to get along well. The bantu groups are many, but they have less problems than in other African countries.

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7. What have been the highlights of your time in this country? Best trips or experiences?

I like the old part of the city (the "Baixa") and the Kruger park, across the border.

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8. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Some bars and restaurants, with lots of different foods (though service is slow). If you want to see nature, take the car to South Africa.

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9. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Statues, small craft.

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10. What are the particular advantages of living in this city?

It is very close to South Africa, which has great safaris and very good shopping. The diplomatic passport helps you through the border faster.

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11. Can you save money?

Yes, if housing is covered by your government.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Yes.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Warm clothes.

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3. But don't forget your:

Malaria medicines. Take them as soon as you get typical symptoms, don`t wait a lot for the dyagnosys. If you have been to South America, bear in mind that African Malaria is MUCH more dangerous.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

Anything from Mia Couto.

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5. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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6. Do you have any other comments?

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Maputo, Mozambique 05/17/09

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No, we have lived in Kampala, Maseru, Yangon, Dhaka, and New Delhi.

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2. How long have you lived here?

3 years.

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3. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Diplomat.

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4. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

Via Jo'burg and then direct to destinations in the US or Europe.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Most expatriates live in lovely homes with swimming pools. There are beautiful apartments with views of the ocean if you prefer.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Groceries are readily available but expensive compared to costs in neighbouring South Africa.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Specialty brands that you like, toiletries, bedding, furniture and curtains if possible -- these things are very expensive here for poor quality.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

There is KFC but no other fast food chain. There are some very good seafood restaurants.

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5. Are there any unusual problems with insects or other infestations in housing?

Malaria, bring your bug spray!

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

Mail service is very unreliable. We only use the diplomatic pouch.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Domestic help is available - nannies, cooks, drivers, cleaners. Each costing between $150-$200 per month.

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3. What kinds of gyms or other sports/workout facilities are available? Are they expensive?

Yes.

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4. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

ATMs are readily available and big stores accept credit cards.

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5. What English-language religious services are available locally?

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6. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

No English-Language newspapers but there is DSTV from South Africa (which has many English programs) and TV Cabo which has some.

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7. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

It is very helpful to have some Portuguese.

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8. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

There are many potholes and the sidewalks are often non-existent. It would be very hard for someone with a wheelchair.

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Transportation:

1. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

Not safe.

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2. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

4x4 if you plan on traveling outside Maputo

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Available but expensive $100/month.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

We do not have a landline at our house but have provided cell phones for our children and house staff -- as they are more reliable.

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Pets:

1. Are qualified veterinarians and/or good kennel services available? Do animals need to be quarantined upon entry to the country? Are there other considerations regarding pets that are particular to this country?

If you are coming through South Africa this can be a problem.

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2. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

There is one good vet in town that everyone seems to use - personally I have no experience.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

This is quite difficult if you do not have a strong language ability in Portuguese. There are teaching jobs available at the international schools for certified teachers.

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Smart casual at work and very casual socially and in public - anything goes!

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Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Good, you are living on the ocean.

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2. What immunizations are required each year?

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3. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Carjacking, house robbery and mugging on the streets are concerns. They seem to come in fits and spurts. Robbers are armed with guns.

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4. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Medical care is a concern in Maputo but South Africa is only 2 hours away and the care in Nelspruit is very good.

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5. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

The weather is very hot during the months of January and February and incredibly pleasant the rest of the year. Sweatshirts are necessary in the evenings from May - Sept.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

AISM - American International School of Mozambique is an IB World school offering a high standard of education. They are currently running wait lists for many grade levels. There is also MIS - Maputo International School -- but I understand it is going through some administrative probelms at the moment

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

There are no special-needs services at AISM other than ESL for students in the early primary years.

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

There are a few different options and most people have fulltime nannies.

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4. Are local sports classes and/or activities available for kids?

Only through the after-school-activities program at school. Swimming and sailing are available outside school.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

Growing bigger every day with the increase in aid money flowing into the country and foreign investment.

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2. Morale among expats:

Excellent.

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Many dinner parties, jazz clubs, pool gatherings; it is a very social and relaxed community.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Excellent for families as there is the beach and sailing clubs. Much socializing happens around the school. For couples there is a lively jazz music/bar scene and some good restaurants.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

No.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

The beaches are beautiful and their are many you can reach in a regular weekend. There is also very good diving. Kruger Park in South Africa is also just an hour's drive away and is fabulous.

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

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9. Can you save money?

It is expensive here for rent and food, so it truly depends on your package. We know people who are saving quite a lot and some who are saving nothing.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

Definitely, it is a wonderful posting for families with young children .

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

winter clothes and formal wear.

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3. But don't forget your:

sunscreen, bathing suits, mountain bike, sailing equipment, BBQ tools, camping equipment, and sense of adventure.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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7. Do you have any other comments?

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Maputo, Mozambique 12/23/08

Background:

1. Was this post your first expatriate experience? If not, what other cities have you lived in as an expat?

No, Pretoria S. Africa, Kenya, Mombassa, Congo.

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2. How long have you lived here?

6 months.

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3. What brought you to this city (e.g. diplomatic mission, business, NGO, teaching, retirement, etc.)?

Government.

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4. Travel time and best routes to this city from Europe or the US:

19 hours from DC, switch planes in Jo'burg.

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Housing, Groceries & Food:

1. What is your housing like? What are typical housing sizes, locations, and commute times for expatriates?

Huge houses, usually two or three story, small yards, some pools, each has a guard 24 hours; conveniently located close to the Embassy, shopping and schools.

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2. How would you describe the availability and cost of groceries and household supplies relative to your home country?

Double what you'd pay in S. Africa or the States.

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3. What household or grocery items do you wish you had shipped to post?

Ketchup, maple syrup, salad dressing, Christmas decorations, clothes, shoes.

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4. What typical restaurants, food delivery services, and/or takeout options are popular among expatriates?

KFC but it's not very fast. Zambies and the Meat Company.

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Daily Life:

1. How do you send and receive your letters and package mail? Are local postal facilities adequate?

I have pouch.

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2. What is the availability and cost of household help, and what types of help are typically employed by expatriates?

Readily available at a reasonable cost.

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3. Are credit cards widely accepted and safe to use locally? Are ATMs common and do you recommend using them? Are they safe to use?

Accepted at the stores.

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4. What English-language religious services are available locally?

Next to none.

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5. English-language newspapers and TV available? Cost?

Very few.

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6. How much of the local language do you need for daily living? Are local language classes/tutors available and affordable?

As much as possible; best advice I can give is to learn Portuguese before arriving.

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7. Would someone with physical disabilities have difficulties living in this city?

Not very many accomodations for wheelchairs or people walking with crutches.

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Transportation:

1. Do you drive on the right hand side of the road or the left?

Left, sometimes the middle, there aren't marked lanes in most areas, lots of merging.

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2. Are local buses, trams, trains or taxis safe and affordable?

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3. What kind of car do you recommend bringing to post, given the terrain, availability of parts, burglary/carjacking risks, etc.? What kind of car do you advise not to bring?

Four-wheel drive is best due to pot holes and parking on curbs, sidewalks, etc.

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Phone & Internet:

1. Is high-speed home Internet access available? How long does it typically take to install it after arrival?

Yes, very expensive and not always reliable; must be able to speak Portuguese to order and understand the service.

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2. Do you have any recommendations regarding mobile phones? Did you keep your home-country plan or use a local provider?

Buy one locally and then purchase minutes from vendors on every street corner.

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3. What is the best way to make phone calls back home?

Skype.

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Pets:

1. Quality pet care available (vets & kennels)?

Low quality for kennels, vets speak Portuguese but are caring.

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Employment & Volunteer Opportunities:

1. What types of jobs do most expatriate spouses/partners have? Locally based or telecommuting? Full-time or part-time? Can you comment on local salary scales?

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2. What is the typical dress code at work and in public places? Is formal dress ever required?

Casual and less casual.

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Health & Safety:

1. Pollution index (Good, Moderate, Unhealthy, or Very Unhealthy)?

Lots of burning fills the air with smoke at various times.

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2. Are there personal security concerns to be aware of at this post? Please describe.

Some while walking on parts of the Marginal and at night.

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3. Are there any particular health concerns? What is the quality of available medical care? What medical conditions typically require medical evacuation?

Water is unsafe to drink, fruits and vegetables must be washed before eating, poor medical care with Portuguese speaking doctors only.

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4. What is the overall climate: is it extremely hot or cold, wet or dry, at any time of year, for example?

Cool nights and winters, blistery hot summers in December, January and February with cooler temps in March.

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Schools & Children:

1. What is the availability of international schools? What has been your general experience with them, if any?

American International is the best; offers all three levels of the IB program, small class sizes but growing each year.

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2. What accommodations do schools make for special-needs kids?

ESL, literacy specialist and guidance counselor.

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3. Are preschools available? Day care? Are these expensive? What has been your experience with them, if any? Do the schools provide before- and/or after-school care?

American International School and several other local preschools; no experience with them.

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Expat Life:

1. What is the relative size of the expatriate community? How would you describe overall morale among expatriates?

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2. Morale among expats:

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3. What are some typical ways to socialize, either with local people or with other expatriates? Are there groups or clubs that you can recommend?

Clubs that serve all ages, no drinking restrictions; house music.

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4. Is this a good city for single people? For couples? For families? Why or why not?

Yes.

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5. Is this a good city for LGBT expatriates? Why or why not?

Yes.

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6. Are there problems with ethnic, race/racial minorities or religious prejudices? Gender equality?

No.

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7. What are some interesting/fun things to do in the area? Can you recommend any “hidden gems"?

Eat at the Meat Company and go next door to the Casinotravel to nearby islands, beaches, Kruger Park, S. Africa.

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8. Is this a "shopping post"? Are there interesting handicrafts, artwork, antiques, or other items that people typically buy there?

Cashews locally grown, wooden trinkets and masks.

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9. Can you save money?

No.

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Words of Wisdom:

1. Knowing what you know now, would you still move to this city?

For a short visit.

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2. If you move here, you can leave behind your:

Pedicures, the dusty roads ruin them.

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3. But don't forget your:

Sunscreen, mosquito repellant, and anti-malaria meds.

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4. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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5. Do you recommend any books or movies about this city/country for those who are interested in learning more?

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6. Recommended movies/DVDs related to this city:

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7. Do you have any other comments?

It's best to keep an open mind about Maputo and look for the positives. It's a city that's been through a revolution and the people just want peace so they are very relaxed and slow-paced. The signs of war are very obvious in the road conditions, litter and general dirtiness. The weather is pleasant, it's close enough to S. Africa to find familiar comforts and the people are very accepting of foreigners.

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