#TBT to last week when we went adventuring on our P-day to the Grand Hotel Despedida. It's home to 3500 squatters. It was once dubbed the "Pride of Africa."
Monday, July 25th, 2016
The new "Pride of Africa" - the children.
Some of the Grand Hotel's littlest residents.
Because of the photo overload I thought I should post a little background information to go along with the P-day field trip. The following was gathered from a piece done by the BBC:
"When the Grand Hotel Depedida opened in 1955, it was one of Africa's most luxurious hotels. The structure had three floors, an Olympic size pool, now used to do washing, large staircases, halls, shops, restaurants, a post office, cinema, bars and 122 rooms. It was also supposed to host a casino, but the owners were never able to get permission from the Portuguese colonial authorities."
"This was the start of its troubles as although Beira is a popular Indian Ocean resort, the hotel was never able to attract many visitors. It closed to guests in 1963 and was used only for big events and parties."
"During the civil war which began the late 1970s, it also served as an army base and was a prison for political prisoners. After the hotel was completely abandoned during the next decade, it was looted and people moved into the building, especially those fleeing the conflict."
"For the first time, the hotel reached its maximum capacity. It is way beyond that now as families live in every section of the dark, humid hotel, including the stairs. The only part of the hotel that has electricity is a side section where residents have set up a small “movie theater” - often filled with children and adults watching a small TV."
"Some of the families have been living in the hotel for three generations. Twenty-four years after the end of the civil war, more than half of Mozambique’s population continues to live below the poverty line."
"Because there is no maintenance, there are now problems with the hotel’s infrastructure with plants and trees trying to reclaim the building. The people who live in the Grand Hotel do not pay any rent, but the community has set up its own rules and does not allow new residents as they say the building is full."
I tried to capture this little child's face and the Elder photobombed it.
And now you know a little bit about life half way around the world. Makes our #firstworldproblems seem pretty small.