Lessons from the Wild

A few years ago, during a severe drought, I witnessed the “civilized” way two rhinos waited their turn to enjoy an artificial pool at the heart of a completely dry riverbank – one at a time. The pool was too small for both of them… My comment: And people are fighting over petroleum!!!

If I had recorded that moment, I would post it somewhere, probably here:

He Has Soft Blue Eyes

He has soft blue eyes. He has a gentle manner. He grew up with my youngest son. He was his fishing companion. Then life separated them. My son lives abroad, most of the time. The soft blue eyes young man started a local salvage company. They kept their boats in the same box, at the naval club. While moving in or out their respective boats, they still met from time to time.

Last Sunday my son arrived from the sea while he was drinking at the bar. He insisted that he wanted to drink with my son. To be polite, he accepted a beer and said he couldn’t stay. The soft blue eyes young man insisted and insisted. He was drinking gin at noon. Later, my son explained to me: “He was no longer my buddy, why should I stay with him?”

After making sure that a young marinheiro (club staff) was starting to wash our boat, my son went home, showered and returned to the club to have lunch and check if the boat was clean and parked inside the box.

He was surprised to see that the boat was half done and the box closed. Because he wanted to have lunch, he gave the keys to another marinheiro and asked him to see where Antoninho was or to complete the task himself.

My son was in the middle of the meal at the club restaurant when the mother of the soft blue eyes asked him to open the box because she was worried with her son’s behavior and disappearance.

After getting the keys back from the marinheiro (there were only two sets, one with my son and the second with soft blue eyes), my son walked to the box where he found a body under a pile of lifejackets. There was an inert arm sticking out and a lot of blood. He could see that the arm belonged to the marinheiro who should have cleaned our boat. He didn’t touch a thing. He immediately closed the box and said to the few present: “Nobody enters here until the police arrives. There’s a dead man inside.”

The club security called the police. Examinations were performed. It turned out that the soft blue eyes killed a man the same way he learned to kill fish. He left signs everywhere and confessed. He was caught hiding somewhere in the club. His soft blue eyes and gentle appearance hide, after all, a dangerous criminal mind. Although he is a mental case, we believe he is also a serial killer. He is able to kill for instinct. Probably, he killed an innocent just to prove that he is capable to execute his death threats against his own family.

The problem is that I wake up in the middle of the night with the notion that he intended to kill my son. He talked about killing two people. And at the same time I feel worried and relieved, I learned something: we should never accept to sit and drink with someone that is no longer our buddy. I took the message to my own life. Why should I “sit and drink” with someone that is not my buddy and didn’t treat me the way I want to be treated in a permanent basis?

Tomorrow

Tomorrow is Independence Day in Mozambique. Forty-one years ago there was a big ceremony at Machava Stadium. People still talk about it. I asked a forty something Mozambican how he would celebrate the occasion. He answered: “I’ll work. We don’t feel like celebrating, these days. Only if Samora was alive! He knew how to celebrate. Right now we only celebrate when we earn some money to keep things going.”

Around here, the mood is somber. I think people cope with lots of difficulties and now they have the everyday news about people stealing public money and getting away with it.

For different reasons, I also don’t feel like celebrating. I work hard and the only thing I expect is that people around me don’t make waves. I am not that lucky. Probably, I should just sleep till tomorrow. (The lines “Tomorrow, tomorrow I love ya tomorrow/You’re only a day away” are spot on. Things are changing for the better…)