International Children’s Day and Nampula gets together for yet another national holiday affair. The standard routine is followed. In the week leading up to the holiday, the city starts putting up their trusty wooden platform in the central park, sets up some loud speakers and organises a speaker. Meanwhile the military band gets to practice. On the day, starting early everyone gathers at a central meeting point – this day it is all the school kids, overexcited about time off from school and the opportunity to spend some of their energy. And the march begins, military band leading with the same tune they always play. Kids follow, their voices only threatening to drown out the band but the band knows the routine well and the trumpet players have learnt how to blow harder and louder. The festivities move in one wave to the park where, while everyone hops about hapzardly and stragglers run to catch up, the speaker begins – a mumbled speech that goes on for a while, someone else says something, everyone cheers and it is over.

Meanwhile, there have been queues for the bank ATMs as desperate parents who have been waiting for pay day to get the funds for gifts begin the long march to cash in hand.

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