Every time I see these guys I have to buy something. Being able to get fresh fruit right outside your door is just one of the many random things here in Maputo that I consider luxuries. I’m in one of the world’s poorest countries, there are holes in the roads and I pass by at least one person every day that is eating from the big trash containers. Sometimes it smells bad. People sleep on the streets, small children come up to you begging for just a little piece of bread.
I have decided to never stop noticing these people, as is the tendency after being here for a couple of months. It’s natural. You block things out, you get used to them, you stop seeing them – you can’t do anything about it anyway and you don’t want it to make you feel bad. I’m not criticizing that, it’s the only way for many people to be able to bear with their daily life’s here. There is no simple solution to Mozambique’s problems and one can’t cry about them every day.
However, I have actively chosen to do my best to never stop seeing the things that are wrong around here. It’s difficult also because it’s just natural to start taking things for granted, a week is enough for the brain to automatically merge that man sitting in the corner every day with the façade of the building. So I’m trying hard to stay focused on the details, I look at the trash, I try not to look away when spoken to, I do my best to answer kindly. I say hello.
Then, at the same time, being aware of all this, I have to work hard to allow myself to enjoy the things that I know most of this country’s population never will get to experience. I am justifying little luxuries with the fact that it won’t help anybody if I feel bad about myself and stop consuming things. I’m not going to starve myself and eat nothing but the corn paste xima during my stay here just because that’s what many people’s reality looks like. I’m not going to stop doing things that I like doing. It wouldn’t make any sense. My aim is to do my best to contributing to somehow improving other people’s quality of life, not to lower mine.
So, I’m in Mozambique, one of the world’s poorest countries. But this is also the country that has been providing me with a very high quality of life. It’s not only the fresh fruit and cheap cashew nuts on the street that I buy almost daily, it’s the amazing seafood, the very calm and kind people, the way things always work themselves out, the peaceful athmosphere, the music, the beaches and proximity to great places.. and as I don’t have a beach or park to go to here in Maputo, I sometimes walk over to the nearby hotel where I buy a drink, sit by the pool, and allow myself to feel like a princess.