I’m back in office after a rather rough return to Maputo. Suffered from some sort of fatigue and breakdown in Joburg and couldn’t do all that shopping I was hoping to do. Instead, I went to the bus station and slept on my bags the entire day while kind strangers brought me fruit and water. At night, the ten hour busride to Maputo was spent next to a very inspiring, happy and energetic lady who wouldn’t stop talking.
Her name was Viola and she was 52 years old. She got married at the age of 14 with a 17 year old boy who was serving in the military at the time and they spent the next five years apart, writing love letters.
She had the time to obtain a University degree, he became a doctor, together they got nine children. They are still childlishly in love and all of their children now have a higher education, some are doctors, some lawyers, some sociologists. They live all over the world, in Italy, Norway and Algeria. And whenever possible, last time for Christmas, they all meet. The parents, the children, their partners, and the 8 grandchildren – and together they read those old loveletters and laugh. Apart from that, this lady educates young people about domestic violence and premature marriage, and teaches both girls and boys about how important it is to finish school, truly fall in love and trust a partner before marrying. Viola seemed genuinely happy and kept repeating how lucky and thankful she was. And when she used my cell to call her husband to pick her up, she giggled and used that sweet kind of voice, you know which one.
Back in Maputo my very dear supervisor from work took me to a clinic and after many hours of questions and confusion and a significant dose of persistance I found out that I didn’t have malaria but some sort of infection in the body that they couldn’t yet define.
“Your blood test results? Who are you? Oh, wait.. they should be here somewhere.. uhm.. okay.. so, we made a mistake and you will have to give us another blood sample. Yes. And wait for another two hours. And oh, yes, you will have to pay again because we will have to run another test.”
I didn’t pay anything extra. Nor did I give more blood. But I did go “Excuse me for being rude now but you do see how incredibly outrageous this is, don’t you? Please use the blood I gave you earlier, run the test you’re supposed to, and please give me the results that the doctor needs. Oh, and I’m very sorry but I will not pay again, I am sure you understand that it’s not an option to charge me for this confusão.” and got my results within fifteen minutes. A true T.I.A* moment. I got a prescription for antibiotics but decided to wait a day, listen to my body and see if I can handle this without having to poison myself.
Today I’m not yet completely back on track but at least back on my feet and back in office. I’m feeling tons better compared to yesterday and the day before, so it might be that I will survive this fight on my own, and become more resistant to whatever it was that provoked this breakdown.
*This is Africa