President, dancers, crowds welcome Pope Francis to Mozambique
Greeted with full military honours, traditional dances and huge crowds lining the streets, Pope Francis has arrived in Mozambique at the start of a weeklong trip to Africa.
Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi and two children offering flowers welcomed Pope Francis as he stepped off the plane after a flight of just over 10 hours.
The sun had already set as the pope’s plane made its final approach. The official portion of the welcome ceremony was brief, and there were no speeches.
But several groups of dancers and drummers began their numbers when the pope was walking to the popemobile, and women in the crowd began ululating, so he paused to watch and wave encouragement.
Some of the dancers were dressed traditionally – grass skirts and leopard-print costumes predominated – but one group wore white t-shirts, white shorts and white tennis shoes.
Young men played the ‘xigovia’, a traditional woodwind instrument made from a gourd; its sound was similar to that of a kazoo.
Thousands and thousands of people lined the streets from the airport to the apostolic nunciature where the pope was staying. Most stood in the dark unless they were at an intersection, which is where streetlights are more common.
As is customary during the flight from Rome, he greeted members of the media traveling with him and thanked them for the work they would do over the next week as he visited Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius.
“Let’s hope this long trip bears fruit,” he said.
Picture: Pope Francis looks at a tree as he walks with Mozambican President Filipe Nyusi during an arrival ceremony at the airport in Maputo, Mozambique, on 4th September 2019. The pope will also visit Madagascar and Mauritius on his sixth foreign trip of 2019. (CNS photo/Paul Haring).