Student - April 16, 2015

In little huts in the back gardens

Amy Jansen

Who? Atti Muriricho, BSc International Development Studies
What? Elective research
Where? Moma, Mozambique.

‘To fill a bit of a gap in my studies, I was keen to do some research. Thanks to an acquaintance of my parents – who have been back in Mozambique for a few years – I was offered an internship in Moma, a small village in Mozambique. I did research on the economic impact on a mining company in the region.

The village where I did my research did not exist before the mining company started. When the company established itself in the area, they built houses around their site. They moved the residents of a nearby village, where there were about 150 houses, to the new village. The old houses no longer exist. The remarkable thing is that the people of that village do not work for the company themselves. They don’t live in the newly built houses but in little huts in the back gardens. They rented the houses to people from the city who do work for the mining company.

During the day I spent a lot of time at the company talking to the employees and their supervisors. Even though I was quite familiar with Mozambique – I visit my parents there every summer holiday – I found it very interesting to talk to people in this village. When I lived in Mozambique I went to an international school and did not see much of the ‘normal’ population. For that reason the interviews did not always go smoothly, because I didn’t speak the local language. Fortunately there was a man who helped me out.


Before I started my research I visited my parents. My father brought me to the research location by motorbike: 330 kilometers on dirt roads. The motorbike broke down along the way and we had to walk back to the last village we had passed. There was a very kind man there who was willing to store our motorbike until we came back. When my father and I went to pick up the bike after I’d finished my research, it was still standing in the middle of the living room. As if it had been there all that time.’