Bravos do Zambeze: Disaster Risk Drama

Characters

JOSE RAPOSO: 23 years old captain of the local soccer team and Suzanna’s boyfriend. Very rational, team oriented, and hardworking. He has dreams of becoming and international superstar. A natural born leader and a seeker/disseminator of information. Sometimes, however, when under great stress, he can become hasty and jump to conclusions.

SUZANNE VERDE: 22 years old girlfriend to Jose. She is a teacher in the local primary school. Her strong leadership streak is what draws her close to Jose, but at the same time creates a bit of friction between them. Disciplined and highly energetic, the locals see her as a voice of reason and respect her, though her single minded determination to accomplish some tasks sometimes make people uncomfortable and think of her as domineering. When it comes to people she loves, she goes extremely soft. She is hopelessly romantic around Jose, and alternates between being the doting daughter to her father Domingo and protective love to her 6 years old niece, MARIA.

DOMINGO: 60 years old shopkeeper, and father to Suzanne. He can be stubborn, and still believes in confronting troubles head on, not running away from them. He is a relatively successful shopowner, having one of the only shops in the community, a few livestock, and a beautiful house in the plains, with what he calls “a nice view of the river”. He loves Suzanne and is torn on how to let her go now that she is about to be married. He sometimes praises her aggression (when it bears success and praise from villagers) saying it’s inherited from him, but when Suzanne turns the same firmness on him, he dislikes it as too abrasive for a girl. He takes care of MARIA, one of the daughters to his son, who died in a road accident.

MARIA: The 6 years old granddaughter to Domingo, and niece to Suzanne. Happy girl, full of bubbly enthusiasm , and brings sunshine to everyone’s life. She is in love with reading now that she has just started school. The floods disrupt her bubbly life.

ALBERTO ‘COBRA’: Alberto is the comic character. He fails in everything he tries to do, simply because he wants to be everything. The only good thing he is good at is stealing, which he always manages to get away with since people don’t think him clever enough to do it. He normally hangs at the sidelines of the soccer pitch pretending to be a continuity announcer and/or cheerleader (when the team is playing a foreign team.). He likes taking credit for the team’s success (since he is their number one, one-man cheering squad) and they too like having him around since he makes them laugh. However, he is very shrewd, and regularly comes up with money making ventures, even when it means taking advantage of people in a

PEDRO: 23 years old team mate to Jose. He has a crush on Suzanne and wishes he can convince her not to marry Jose and get married to him. He also wishes he could be the captain of the soccer team since he is their most prolific striker, scoring in every game. Soccer-wise, he is better than Jose, and their rivalry plays out on and off the pitch.

Bravos

Storyline season one

The story centres around Jose, a rural soccer team captain, and his girlfriend Suzanne. Jose and his team are practicing for an inter-district championship. It has been raining, and Jose becomes so concerned about flooding that he leaves the game to find out if there have been any warnings. He discovers there is severe flooding upriver and its heading toward his village. He and his teammates rush to warn the community, but their warning comes too late for many people to properly prepare or save their property.

In all the confusion Suzanne cannot find her niece Maria and heads off alone through the rapidly flooding village to search for her. She finds the young girl, but they both become stranded in the rising waters, forced to wait on a rooftop for help. Jose’s friend and teammate Pedro, who is also interested in Suzanne, finds them and brings them to the temporary camp the community has made outside of the floodplain.

Meanwhile Jose’s friend and the team’s unofficial commentator and number one ‘cheerleader,’ Cobra, has been making the most of the flooding by stealing goods left behind by the villagers, in particular foodstuffs from Suzanne’s father Domingo’s shop. He begins trading and selling the goods to the villagers, who have little choice but to buy his goods, as they were inadequately prepared and did not take much with them.

Suzanne tries to make the most of their situation and goes to collect firewood and water so her family can eat. On her way, someone attempts to rape her. Fortunately, Cobra hears the commotion and scares of the rapist. He brings her home to Jose, who jumps to conclusions and accuses Pedro. The two begin to fight. Eventually Cobra and Suzanne break them up, and Jose realises that his friend would never do something like that. It is jus the stress of the situation that made him react badly.

In the midst of all this, little Maria becomes ill. Suzanne recognises the symptoms of cholera and fears for her niece’s life. Fortunately, aid workers from the Red Cross arrive at the camp just in time and Maria is given medical attention. After a community meeting about sanitation and preventing further cholera outbreaks, an aid worker tells Suzanne that the community will have to make a tough decision – relocate to a resettlement area or attempt to rebuild their village outside of the flood plain. The villagers decide to rebuild.
Morale within the camp is low as everyone takes stock of what they lost and how much work they have ahead of them. The soccer team is also frustrated at missing the inter-district championships. Jose and Pedro decide to hold a “Floodplain Final” to help boost the community’s spirits. The series ends with the cheers and excitement of a world class soccer game which everyone – even the aid workers – has come out to see.

Season 2 storyline
In this season, the community begins to rebuild their village. There have been no new soccer matches, and just as the Bravos are starting to become tired with training for nothing, Cobra comes back from a trip to the nearby resettlement centre with news of a tournament between 5 villages in the area affected by the floods. They are registered to play and the team must focus on getting in shape. Jose and Suzanne have become very close, and Suzanne starts to pressure Jose to negotiate lobola. Jose slots online avoids this because he knows he has no money and no job. Tension between them rises as Jose spends more time focusing on the tournament and Suzanne feels increasingly ignored.

While helping Domingos clear land for the new village, Pedro is bitten by a snake and passes away. Mama Pedro is devastated and Jose nearly pulls out of the tournament. Max convinces him to continue in Pedro’s honour. Cobra moves from commentator to mid fielder.

Maria has recovered from cholera, but the experience has left her terrified of water. She hardly drinks anything, and becomes severely dehydrated. Cobra uses his sense of humour to convince her to drink some soda, and the two become friends.

Domingos has taken charge of the rebuilding, and resents the presence of Amelia, a young NGO worker who tries to encourage Domingos to build in different ways that are more resistant to disasters. Domingos is stubborn and doesn’t want to change. Tension between them rises.

Mama Pedro mourns her son, and passes her time listening to the radio. She hears a programme on agriculture that inspires her to get back into the fields and try some new ideas. Suzanna helps her. The mosquitos are very bad, and Suzanne falls ill with malaria.

The Bravos make it all the way to the final game, despite having a hard time without their star striker, but when Jose finds out about Suzanne’s illness, he apologises for not paying attention to her and again nearly pulls out of the tournament a second time. Cobra manages to bring some medicine from the resettlement centre and she begins to recover.
Domingos and the men at he building site have decided to make an emergency evacuation plan so that they don’t get caught unprepared next time something happens. Unfortunately, their plan is full of holes. Mama Pedro steps in and helps Domingos develop a solid plan that they can bring to the community.

Jose and Max know they have no hope of winning without a solid striker. One day they overhear Maria and Cobra playing games – Cobra is getting Maria to drink more water by doing soccer tricks for her. His aim and footwork are impeccable and Jose and Max convince him to be their striker in the final match.
The villagers decide to test their evacuation plan. The test is the same day as the final game, so the Bravos are not there, but it goes very well. At the soccer pitch, the Bravos need only one more goal to win. Its all up to Cobra, but the pressure is too much and he freezes. Jose convinces him to take the shot and the Bravos win the tournament in the final seconds of the game. Senhor Mendes, the tournament organizer, takes Jose aside and on the basis of his skills as coach and captain, offers him a part-time job coaching a children’s league at the resettlement centre. Jose is thrilled, and the season ends with cheers and jubilation.

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