House Shadows


Having an idea that a problem exists is totally different from facing it. I heard countless times people complaining about how difficult is to find a decent place in Maputo, but that was just an information until it became a close reality when my divers decided to find cribs of their own.


The first diver to show signs of independence was NB. Mostly, he has been sharing houses and moving from one roof to the other. Now he settled down in Catembe, on the other side of the bay, a spot so remote and depending on moody ferryboats that I cannot think of a worse place to live.


During the last seven months, Andy and JP divided their time between home and a place they used to call “House 2”, a sort of garage without the minimum requirements, but where they had the privacy they need.


They moved recently to a new place they call “The Beach House”, due to the fact of being situated at Bairro do Triunfo, a sea front neighbourhood. In reality they moved from hell to half-hell. Besides the four main roads composing that residential area, the rest is genuine chaos.


If we compare what they pay with what they get, there we have a notion of the big issue housing is. That house is a typical Mozambican construction, all about paying and no niceties. Before Andy and JP, it was rented by an Italian lady who recently left the country.


We worried because they live a very different reality, but at the same time we try to understand their need of space and the consequent process of slowly improving their living conditions.


They are lucky young ones because they can afford a house when the great majority cannot dream of a place at all. And some, like diver Jo, insisting in a proper house, work hard just to pay their rent.