Russian Roulette

One week of feeling a wreck was enough. Therefore, I was ready to wellness when one week was just the beginning. It all started sometime ago, but we only got worried when JP developed a nasty fever and had to spend a week in bed. We treated it as a common virus and when we thought it was over we found ourselves fighting a bacterial infection affecting throat and lungs.

The second on line was Paul and I was just humble number six. Getting sick for them is “natural”. Maybe because it’s ages since I was really sick, when my turn arrived they had to find other reasons than the obvious one. For Paul it was kind of a punishment for eating too many mille-feuilles. Andy said: ‘You have been asking for it by spending so much time in our living-room.’

Touché! I do eat mille-feuilles occasionally and our living area is so cold that someone before us thought a good idea to have a fireplace in it, despite living in Africa. Anyway, we all caught this flu somewhere and I don’t believe it was mille-feuilles or cold rooms. Half Maputo complains about this intriguing flu. It’s a subject widely discussed. While the majority blames the local aluminum factory (and I believe the majority can be deadly right), I also find possible that the crowds which came to the World Cup brought a lot more than sport enthusiasm. We are not used to this kind of sickness yet. From time to time there are mild focus of flu, nothing this wide. We do have other situations, being malaria the worst of them all.

Until recently I was inclined to accept the common idea that the aluminum melting plant is to blame. They were superiorly authorized to manufacture without the required safety measures for a period of six months. Can you believe it? Just like so many people living here, I wonder how can a government give permission to put in risk lives and environment!? Just six months? I can only imagine how the next summer is going to be: poisonous and suffocating hot!

I truly believed I was suffering from some “environmental flu” because on July 17 I crossed Matola, a small town on the outskirts of Maputo, coming from Johannesburg. Matola is where the aluminum factory is based. If I remember well, a cloud of pollution was visible and I automatically complained of eyes sensitiveness.

However, two days ago I had to return to South Africa and could perceive that people were coughing continuously. Now I am divided between aluminum and visitors. It’s just like a Russian roulette with only one shot to fire…

(I also thought as a suitable title: The Worst of July 2010!)