Tuesday, November 04, 2008
US Election fever has struck big in Mozambique. All of the front pages of the local papers today featured Obama and McCain, and the election was the topic of choice in offices and restaurants throughout Maputo all day. I've never seen so much interest in an American event in my life. It is really incredible, though perfectly understandable. What a historic moment, regardless of the outcome!
This evening, the US Embassy sponsored a big party complete with mock voting, a student debate, biographies of both candidates, and lots of snacks and drinks. Rico and I went by early in the night, as our election strategy is to be in bed early and wake up in the pre-dawn hours to watch as the polls close (there is a 10-hour difference between Moz and the West Coast). We thought the party would be a little lame at 7:30pm, but boy were we wrong. It was packed with people, most wearing funny plastic hats, palpable excitement bubbling through the conference center. Rico and I still ended up leaving early (we need our rest to be coherent tomorrow at such an early hour), but most people are planning on pulling an all-nighter to watch the results.
The crowd at the party was very mixed - lots of Americans, Mozambicans and people from dozens of other countries: India, Brazil, Nicaragua, UK and more. Very exciting. The majority of the people were clearly supporting Obama, but there was some Republican representation just to remind us that one of the beautiful things about the US is that we can clearly express our views in public, in the same venue, and not suffer any serious conflicts.
Tomorrow morning I am dragging Rico to our friend Sheila's house for sweet buns and coffee. We will watch the end of the poll closings together, and hopefully celebrate what I hope to be a win for Obama. :)
I am on SMS duty starting at 3am, meaning I've promised to text message regarding important developments with the following people: one of the Marines on guard at the US Embassy, our downstairs neighbor who is from the Sudan, several American friends, and my Moz/American girl N. I'll likely also call my parents, as the time difference will be in our favor, and I'm sure that everyone will still be awake!
After months of feeling apathetic about the election process, I'm finally in on the excitement! Very cool that I'll be able to look back and tell our kids that I voted for Obama via absentee ballot all the way from Mozambique!