There’s a character in a Jorge Amado novel called Tieta (Tieta do Agreste). Even though my cook has her own proper name, for some unknown reason she is called Tieta. She has been cooking and doing things in this house for almost two decades.

Last week, she was peeling sweet potatoes for a soup when she started mourning with pain. I rushed from the living, deeply worried. My first thought was that she could have seriously injured her hand or fingers with the sharp Swiss knife she likes to use. I run to the kitchen and asked. No answer from her side. She was bend over the sink, her arms hanging motionless and producing frightful noises. As I looked around and no blood was visible, I decided to give her some time to express the pain or whatever she was feeling. I looked at the time. It was just a little past 9am. I returned to the living.

Then I remembered Tieta’s mother. She is an old lady and something could have happened to her. Believing that such pain could only come from losing her mother, I returned to the kitchen and asked her again. As no signal came from her side, I decided to conclude that I was right. I approached a chair, where she sat, and rubbed her back. I left her on the chair, still mourning.

A few minutes later the mourning turned into a more strident noise, forcing me to see what was happening in the kitchen. It sounded like the fact that I knew about her mother was making her vocalize her pain with more intensity, what I believe to be the usual behavior of someone in shock. I found her twisting and yelling on the floor, between the chair and the stove. I told her: “Don’t you think you would feel more comfortable on the chair?” As she didn’t had a visible reaction, I went to the front garden and asked the guard to go around and see if he could help her, since all my efforts seem to be in vain. In fact, I was getting worried with the house routines. I had been waiting for her to calm down for more than an hour. I couldn’t even do her job, since she was blocking my access to the sink and stove.

Half an hour later, he succeeded in removing her from the kitchen and making her sit in a sunny place outside. I do believe the sun has curative powers over depressed people. It was almost 11am, nearly two hours after the mourning and yelling started, when I grabbed a less sharp knife to finish her job.

Suddenly, a very composed Tieta entered the kitchen and said: “I can’t work today. I am not sick but I have to go home. I don’t even explain what happened since you, white people, don’t understand our ways.” Her voice was firm and her tone was even of defying superiority. After being reassured that her mother was okay, I told her to go.

As soon as I could, I called the guard Sansão, whose real name is Samessone, because that’s how they pronounce around here, in Portuguese, the actual English version Samson, and asked: “After all, what on earth she had?” It was then that he, very respectfully, confirmed what I would never have guessed: “She had been possessed by a spirit.” 



I don’t feel like talking a lot about me. I am in the process of moving from one job to another. Still, my main goal is to find some security that will allow me to do the things I really like. Writing, for instance. Cooking and spending my time doing things around the house.

My mood is somber. Predictably somber… No sun, no smiles. The sun appeared in the middle of the morning, too timid to change my mood. I’m sure I’ll feel much better tomorrow or even today, after my usual long walk. 

Loving the Bad


I am like any other human being. I have good and bad in me. The good is very normal: diligent, inventive, persistent, responsible, organized, friendly and a few other aspects I cannot recall.

Probably, the only difference in me is the bad. I not only love the bad, as I consider it the best part of my personality. I love being proud and stubborn. I love being judgmental. I love being right and even being wrong in any judgment. I love the fact that I am sickly focused. I love my emotions. I love my mistrustfulness. I love my intuitiveness. I love the fact that I don’t need but one to feel happy. I love my sadness.

To ignore the bad in me is to ignore myself. It’s dying a little. Even so I am willing to welcome death, just to discover whatever there is to be discovered.

Work Changes

I’m trying to change the way I work so that I have more free time. I began to worry. When someone is used to work the same way, year after year, changing is hard.

I want more time for myself. I even want more time to enjoy the work I do. Time and quality would be great. I just have no idea about the final result. I have no idea about my next step. Scaring…

Best of March 2017

Movies Online and Diving Sites
I don’t have unlimited internet and I’ve been watching movies on-line. As a result, limited access. No blogging, for instance. Movies on-line are highly addictive. It’s the availability, the coziness and the stopping or restarting whenever I want. No wonder the studios are planning “to release movies on-line just 45 days following its debut in theaters”:

(By the way, I suppose the internet is a mean of communication (a tool), as the telephone or the facsimile. Then, why should I write Internet (capital letter) and not internet? I don’t get it. If it were about somebody’s name, I would agree. Consequently, I’ll keep writing internet.)

Recently, I read about the ten best diving sites in Mozambique here:

I had just returned from two of them: Mamoli and Ponta do Ouro. As a reminder that there’s plenty more than watching movies on-line…

Far and Away

Yes, I am back home. To my ordinary life. What I really crave (about far and away) is the stress free feeling and the pictures boyfriend and I take.

I’ve been trying to figure out how to live like that (without stress and taking pictures). Time is scarce. Money is a problem. No one gets rich out of a salary. Makes sense to question the order of the things…

Best of February 2017

Summer in Four Takes
I enjoy my summer holidays in four takes. The first one is when summer comes. I even used to celebrate its arrival by going to a nearby beach and toast. Things are different now. Sometimes, to celebrate, we have to have time to organize the celebration. Anyway, we still do different things when summer arrives to these southern shores.

The second coincides with Christmas and New Year. Usually, we go to a nice place like Ponta do Ouro or Inhambane. I suppose this is the central part of my summer.

The third is in February, when we usually travel to nearby Johannesburg. Right now, South Africa is a bit expensive to Mozambicans. I heard about a couple who stayed a week in Johannesburg and concluded that they had spend as much as in Europe. Anyway, we have been there and survived. Basically, we watched movies and went to good restaurants and shops. “Lion” is moving. “Manchester by the Sea” is painful. My favorite, so far, is “Arrival”. It’s different, in its kind, and has a very powerful message.

The fourth and last part of summer, still to come, is an escape – when time, weather and money conspire for it – to a nearby beach. It’s our summer goodbye.