The recent violent protests in Maputo were predictable and changed our routine. The risk of a reaction to the new fare was clear to everybody, except for the government. With great incredulity, I heard the minister of Transports speaking of the government surprise with the escalation of violence. With great amusement, I heard someone from the crowd telling that being against the owners of buses or the government was the same, once the government workers own most of them.
Despite living on an “island”, far from daily hardships and commotions, we can never be completely divorced from what is happening around us.
The first change we felt has been the absence of my “chef” Tieta, once she lives far and there are no buses, here called chapas. I’ve been the one cooking lately, as it is usual when she doesn’t show up. Yesterday Tieta had to walk 24km to my house (48km daily). George has been walking 12km daily. Albert is the lucky one, with just 5km between his place and our house. Our lift has been declined for safety reasons, as they like to stress. Cars are queuing for gas, but apart from that all is quiet now. The government has done the only possible thing to stop the impasse: subside the costs.
The events affected Andy’s mood. He drove through this town and was shocked with the scale of violence. He understands the reasons, not the means.
Another result of the unrest has been an increasing alertness of our guards, George and Albert. A concerned George watched us going out for a very short walk, after describing what was going on and what we could or couldn’t do.
The next day, Albert showed the same concerned reservation. He knew that the facts had already been colorfully described on the news or by someone eager to tell. Notwithstanding, he felt compelled to alert us before we left for Miradouro.
“Out there, people are still very angry. You know what they have done?” and he stopped, clearly trying to figure out some terrible doing not yet advanced. “They cut the Marginal palms in half!”
He saw the horror written on my face. I just can’t believe that such thing could have happened! During my walk I tried to confirm the barbarity from above, but I couldn’t.
Happily, I met Max, the playful black Labrador, and his very young companion.
“How come Max grew up so much during a month and you don’t?” I asked pretending a genuine surprise.
“I don’t know! I don’t know!” answered my very young friend with a shrug.
In that same moment I remembered the palm trees. Why the palms? Sometimes, we just don’t know the answer.