Myths

 

When something not entirely true is regarded as an immutable principle a myth is created. Myths are sometimes dangerous, especially when people decide based on them. Generalization of partial truths is a mistake human beings seem keen to make.

 

I think the idea that coming to Africa represents instant richness and abundance is common. From time to time, when things are particularly hard somewhere else in the world, we witness another immigration wave. I think we are now assisting to a new tide of people coming to this country.

 

In reality, people never stop coming and going, but if I look back, without any scientific pretension, I can distinguish three main recent immigration waves: 1) The turn of the century boom, bringing the worst group of myth believers. They clearly believed they could get rich fast. Most of them are now gone. 2) A second more realistic wave characterized by the immigration from nearby countries, people with less fantastic dreams but still believing they could make it here. Most are still around, modestly thriving. 3) We observed a third wave now, hopefully made of hard working people. We recently talked about a few cases and we hoped a lot more would came to change the face of this land.

 

Sometimes I am afraid that I can lead people reading me into the African myth. If you are meant to be wealthy, that can happen wherever you are. It only depends on you, not on a particular continent or country.

 

When we arrived here I had such a perfect life! Paul was professionally successful in Europe, I didn’t have to work and we lived in the Cascais area. He entered in Mozambique as press attaché for the last colonial government. If we had decided to return to Europe we would go on living like that. For us, the decision of staying in Mozambique represented I had to work because one salary wasn’t enough for our needs. It’s evident that we also had a few advantages we would never have in Europe: 1) Space. 2) Tranquility. 3) Good weather. 4) Fantastic beaches. 5) Food not coming from a supermarket shelf. 6) Affordable help to raise the children. Wouldn’t you stay and work for that?

 

I truly think that we would do so well in Europe as in Africa. Maybe we would have more status and cash if in Europe, but then we would have lost so many other things making life worth living. Sometimes we live the myth, sometimes we don’t and sometimes we just live.

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