What was I doing when most Mozambicans were celebrating the brand new bridge over the mighty Zambeze, whose running waters separate this country in half? In fact, I was visiting a factory and, because of that, I couldn’t share the general optimism.
The factory is a wreck. A ghost of industrialization. A collection of dilapidated buildings looming out of nowhere. No word could paint the reality of the private sector better than the images still haunting my mind: unlimited sky, useless structures, living shadows, humble presences, another time, no break for poverty and no more doors to open.
From that day and that place I still gather the impression of how nice and deserving of a better life those factory workers are. Owners live in despair. Workers live in extreme poverty. Owners have no clue of what to do next. Workers are sadly marginalized from most of the things making life worth living. Inexplicably, they both seem united inside the same capsule of oblivion and hopelessness. The only reason they might have to celebrate about their lives is the air they breathe. (It is becoming clearer and clearer that Maputo is a very polluted city these days.)
Because of all that, I wasn’t that optimistic about the bridge. It has been presented as a key factor for development, especially of the Northern region. As far as I know, no mighty river separates that factory from the rest of the country. Still, it’s a ruin.
Maybe I’ve been very pessimistic lately. I cannot shake from my head the empty, dilapidated factories across this land. The jobless crowds. The tasteless shops that keep doors open in expensive commercial areas, though we cannot see a single client inside for months or even years…
Anyway, I don’t intend to analyze. I don’t pretend to criticize either. I rather say that I don’t get how the economy of this country works. It just puzzles me.