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ozambique, which was ruled by the Portuguese for about five centuries, got its independence on 25 June, 1975. After independence, a severe drought and a prolonged civil war from 1977 to 1992 hindered the countryís development. In 1989, Marxism was formally abandoned and the following year, on 30 November, 1990, a new constitution with a multi-party election was adopted. In 1992, the United Nations successfully negotiated a peace agreement with the rebel forces, thus ending the fighting. Heavy floods in 1999 and 2000 further hit the countryís economy. Cashew nuts constitute the bulk of Mozambiqueís exports, and the importing country is India.

Mozambique is known as Mocambique in all official boards and notices in the land and has an area of 8,01,590 square kilometres of which 17,500 square kilometres is under water. It borders Malawi, South Africa, Swaziland, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe, and has a coastline of 2,470 kilometres.

Mozambique has a population of approximately 18 million, 99 per cent of whom are from different tribal groups. These include Shangaan, Chokwe, Manyika, Sena and Makua, among others. The remaining 1 per cent of the population consists of Europeans, Euro-Africans and Indians. Approximately 50 per cent of the people follow indigenous beliefs, 29 per cent are Christians and 20 per cent are Muslims. The official language is Portuguese, though indigenous dialects are also in use. The currency is the Metical ($1 = approximately 24,000 Meticals).

Currently, there is political stability in the country with sound economic policies in place. The President, Joaquim A. Chissano, had made a state visit to India last year. Javin P. Oza, a Partner of Office Mart Ltd., accompanied the President as a member of his delegation.

Some time ago Office Mart Ltd. opened a large showroom in Maputo and displayed Godrej products there. They bought a container-load of safes, locks, filing cabinets, etc. from us. They hope to make more purchases for sale to customers soon. In fact Oza is also in touch with the Bank of Mozambique to find out what their security equipment requirements are.

Recently K. Sravankumar, Deputy Manager (Exports), Prima Division, in the course of his tour of a few African countries had also visited Maputo, mainly to meet end-customers for the typewriters that have already been supplied in Mozambique. He was successful in getting more orders from Office Mart Ltd.

In March 2004, Naresh Tahiliani, General Manager (Exports), Furniture and Interiors Group, visited a few countries in Africa, and I accompanied him on his tour. The itinerary included Mozambique. It was difficult to communicate with the locals there, as hardly anybody spoke English. I had to use sign language to find the location of a Catholic church! We visited some prominent furniture dealers and gathered important information from them. We introduced ourselves as prospective customers, wanting to start an office in Maputo. When the dealers asked for our business cards, we said we had not had any printed because we had not finalised the premises. Fortunately, in the showroom, there were sales people who knew English, though they struggled with the language, and we got information on the prices of their various tables and chairs, the brand and the delivery period.
Catholic Cathedral

Santo Antonio de Polano church

A Catholic Cathedral in Malhanga, Maputo.

Pews lined up in Santo Antonio de Polano church.

At present, Office Mart Ltd. markets Chinese furniture (since their prices are very low), but we have convinced them that there is a slot for Godrejís quality products. We have received positive feedback from Office Mart Ltd.

Apart from the products of our Furniture and Interiors Group, we also discussed the dealers?requirements for our security equipment, typewriters and refrigerators.

Another Partner of Office Mart Ltd., Mohamad Ashraf, also owns Cannon Impex International Ltd. This Company deals in various consumer products such as soaps, (manufactured by Godrej Consumer Products Ltd.), stationery items, refrigerators, etc. He makes quite a few purchases from Mumbai and is in touch with H.N. Patell, a retired employee of Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd., whenever he comes to the city. He has also visited our premises on a few occasions. In recent months he finalised the supply of two container-loads of refrigerators.

While I returned to Nairobi via Johannesburg, Naresh headed for Mumbai via Dubai, as he had to visit our Branch there. All in all, it was an interesting trip, definitely worth my while.

Fredrick Correa/H.N. Patell
Godrej, Kenya/Ex-Employee



The Essence of Good Friday

hen someone dies, their death is mourned and yet the day that Jesus ?who is exalted by millions ?died on a cross, is called Good Friday. This is strange, surely.

Christians believe that when God created man (Adam) and woman (Eve), He had given them everything. All He asked of them was not to eat the fruit of a particular tree. The devil, however, tempted the two into eating the fruit of the tree, telling them that eating the fruit would make them like God. Thus he led them into sin, since by eating the fruit they not only disobeyed God, but in fact obeyed the devil.

God knew that Adam and Eve had sinned because they had been tempted by the devil, and their descendants, that is all mankind, would continue to sin. However, due to the immeasurable love that He had for mankind, He promised to save them through a Saviour in due course. That Saviour would have to represent all mankind, but without any shadow of sin. God therefore sent down His son, Jesus, to be born without sin, to become a man and live amongst men. Jesus, though born sinless, had to take on the sins of all mankind and suffer and die for these sins. When the appointed time came, Jesus showed the depth of His humility by washing the feet of his 12 chosen disciples, one of whom had betrayed Him. He instructed his disciples to go out and serve others with the same humility.

Jesus was tortured, blindfolded, beaten and pierced with a crown of thorns on His head. In those times, people who were condemned to death were not tortured before their deaths. Jesus was scourged (whipped), because the then governor, Pontius Pilate, thought that the crowd would pity Him after the scourging. Pilateís plan didnít work. The crowd asked for Jesusís life and Jesus willingly gave it. All His life, He preached forgiveness. When He lay dying on the cross, humiliated and insulted, He pleaded with God, ďFather, forgive them, for they know not what they do.?Though He was sinless, He carried all of mankindís sins on Himself and died for mankind on that day and thus restored mankindís relationship with God. Hence, the name Good Friday. This, however, is not the end of the story. Jesus rose from the dead on the third day and appeared to His followers before ascending to heaven.

Catholics all over the world have special prayer services on six Fridays during the season of Lent (approximately seven weeks before Easter), called the Way of the Cross. This consists of 14 stations that cover Jesusís last journey to Calvary, where He was crucified. The solemn, final Way of the Cross is held on Good Friday.

Last Good Friday, I went to Mater Hospital in Nairobi to visit my Sunday school student, Pauline. She is 11 and was recovering from heart surgery. It was then that I found out that the Way of the Cross would be held in the Hospital. It was truly a beautiful experience. For each station of the cross, we visited a ward and said prayers there. Most of the patients got out of their beds and joined us for two or three stations.

Good Friday is known by many names. Some call it Long Friday, some call it Godís Friday or Holy Friday. However, the essence of this day is that God showed His love for the world by dying for it so that all of mankind could have eternal life.

Fredrick Correa
Godrej, Kenya