February 3

This is a country where festive days seem to multiply. Just a week ago I was in Chidenguele, up north, 270km away from the capital.

Chidenguele means the 3Fs (friends, family and food), plus the lagoon (where I had the courage to bath for the first time) and the beach (where I felt puzzled by the lodges that don’t clean the mess some visitors leave behind).

It was also very interesting to see: a secondary street used to train the road construction workers, the Chinese medicine sign in the middle of nowhere, someone recycling bottles (probably those left on the beach), the dogs, the man waving, the red cardinal and the fishermen in the twilight.

Oops! Forgot to post…

Last week was one of those rare weeks I forgot my blogging routine. Consequently, I couldn’t pick a better subject than the reason why. The real reason is quite simple: summer.

Yes, summer is coming and I couldn’t stand my winter wardrobe any more. As I own a lot less than two years ago, changing to summer is taking me half of the time. Minimalism is more an organizational aspect than a visual option or possessing just a few things. You can have little and live in a clutter, and you can own a lot and live a minimal life. It all depends on having the right number of things for the space available and using it in a very clever way. Job done!

Best of April 2015

About the lagoon.
Even though I was told people swim in the lagoon, I doubt I ever will. I am talking about Lagoa de Nhambavale (Chidenguele). I could perceive really small insects I don’t trust. I don’t trust the bottom of the lagoon either. Or the signs of foam on the sides of the water.

Still, it’s such a fantastic place for water sports and sunsets! This is me evaluating the snorkeling conditions. This is someone a lot braver than me. The food was quite good and we had a day to remember at the nearby beach. Having a few days just to relax and enjoy is something really important to me. All in all, I had a very good long weekend.

Monsoon

The strong winds came a little early this year. I think we are affected by the same monsoon causing troubles in countries such as India and Pakistan. For now we just feel the strong winds from the south. Hopefully, we shall escape the flood part. As long as it’s just for a single day, south winds are bearable. If it happens for days in a row, then it’s rather upsetting.

If you feel like reading Portuguese, you can check my main post on the same subject here:

http://apontamentosemsetembro.wordpress.com/2014/09/11/ventos-de-moncao/

Viral

We used to live in an island and I might be the only one insisting on living in that island. But the truth is that no one can stop the changes occurring today. The European crisis and the dispute for economical hegemony affect the smallest and farthest countries.

The food supply is changing to those dreadful products we can find all over European supermarkets, rotting in one day. There’s only one supermarket offering reliable (organic and non organic) food, mostly from the Cape region. However, the demand for quality food in South Africa is so huge that they seem to be facing supplying difficulties. After a decade of relative abundance, we live a supplying crisis. Quality products disappear very fast from the shelves and only the stuff nobody wants remain. In Africa coexist extreme poverty and a great appetite for luxury. It’s almost the same country/city pattern possible to find in developed societies, with the exacerbations we all know. It’s going to be difficult to change this African need for quality. It’s a nouveau riche thing. I don’t know if it’s temperamental or the climate. A couple of days ago, I heard an African lady addressing this question with audible irritation. It must be contagious because I am getting tired of all the rubbish inside most supermarkets. And I am starting to suspect that those in charge of the traffic of goods at the Mozambican borders (Europeans, by chance) are acting on the principle that people in Mozambique have forcedly to consume less and, above all, consume less quality.

A crescent number of people are entering in this country, with more despair than skills. I worry with the mentality they bring along. If they were migrating to Germany, for instance, they would bend their heads and assume a submissive attitude. But here, in Africa, they think they are big and everything goes, racism included. I’ve witnessed children as young as 5 or 6 producing racist observations. If you are so desperate you need to search for your future in Africa, it should be highly recommendable to avoid teaching racism to your children. You are thirsty and spitting in the only water available.

Besides bad manners, some of the newcomers bring all sort of viral diseases. People already died, mainly children. As I told from the first lines, we lived here as if we were islanders. We are fragile and susceptible to the hazards of “civilization”. I got sick for weeks. All my family and staff got sick. It has been very hard and upsetting, since I don’t have patience or a life with room for sickness.

This summer wasn’t fun. Actually, it wasn’t summer at all. We have pollution with new factories and all the cars constantly roaring the streets. The weather changed and so did our mood. It started last summer. I blamed my brand new spa and a few other life contingencies for the lack of sun and stamina. Now I believe it’s a bit of this and that, a bunch of reasons for fun not being so fun as it used to be. And even though by nature I fight back, there’s always some reason (a flu-like reason) knocking me down.

I am where I want to be. I like to travel so that I can return to the place where I live and feel happier to live here. I always feel puzzled with the offer of citizenship cards from developed countries. They must have a completely distorted idea of the image we have of the “civilized world”.

If people had decent jobs and hope, no one would want to move from their own places. Every time I see one of those citizenship cards offers, I think: “No, thanks. I don’t want your food. I don’t want your noise. I don’t want your rules. I don’t want your somber crowds. I pass the notion that people are nothing but credit cards, mere pieces of the consuming machine. The western civilization is viral. I am not a troglodyte but recently I discovered I was feeling a sort of happiness for not having to rush to cinemas to watch the latest movies or attending the fashion shows or queuing for trendy exhibitions. Instead, just give me quality, flip-flops and a bit of sun.

1, 2, 3…

Three seems to be the right amount of cold in Mozambique. It used to be three months: June, July and August. This year it resumed to one week of July and two of August. A week ago people where already “celebrating summer” with temperatures reaching the 30ºC. I told they should expect a surprise.

The surprise came with the first day of September. The tide at Costa do Sol was so high we had to cross the car-racing track to make it back home. Strong south winds (suladas) mean rain. The showers arrived right after the second sulada. It has been raining for two days now. The result? Goodbye summer. The winds brought a lot more than rain. Cold, for instance. An imperative need of change in a capsule of wishes. I had already started a timid move towards summer by trashing most of my collection of nail shades. It’s too easy to be triumphalist.

Finally, a Throne!

Happiness is a fascinating subject, don’t you agree? We feel unhappy because we want things that we don’t have or cannot have. In alphabetical order, those things usually are:

fame

health

love

money

power

self-accomplishment

I suppose I named the important ones. Now the question is: if they are equally important, how can we feel heavenly happy when it’s almost impossible to score maximum at the six of them? Bliss seems to be reserved for the gods while mortals are happy for very short periods, when scoring maximum at one or two modalities allows them to forget less successful areas.

I trust a lot more in what I call “little happiness”. This kind of happiness is not little at all. On the contrary, it can be an amazing strong feeling. I just call it “little” because it is caused by little events, things that we are not aware most of the time. I discovered “little happiness” when I was walking home and a gentle breeze played with my hair and my skirt. That moment was so perfect and symmetrical (breeze & I) that I remember to feel happy all day long. If we want to cultivate such happiness, we have to be attentive to positive signs around us. It’s not that difficult.

I also trust in the kind of happiness that lives inside of us. Sometimes more evident than others, it never fails. Maybe “resident happiness” is fed by the “little happinesses”. I cannot be sure of that aspect. I just know that it’s always there.

It’s funny to be talking about happiness when my first intention was talking about power. From the above list I am attracted to health, love, money and self-accomplishment. Power and fame (the excessive attention of others) don’t belong to my wishing list. even though many people use money, love and self-accomplishment as means to power and fame (and vice versa), I don’t see it that way. I only relate money with fun, self-accomplishment with inner struggles and love with pure happiness (preferably plenitude, the perfect side of happiness).

A throne is automatically associated with power. I believe some people feel happy because they are powerful. They find happiness that (silly) way. As I am indifferent either to power or fame, in the sense that I would feel miserable if I had to make a living out of one or the two of them, I thought I would automatically despise thrones. I am not so sure of that since I found a few seats I call“thrones”” owing to their privileged position. I’m fond of 4 thrones with strategic views over the bay. And I know I love those thrones because, instead of power or fame, they give me the sort of happiness I found when I am synchronized with nature.