Last Saturday I was so glad to return to the Marginal! Everything was working for me: good plans, good mood, good everything… Even though I couldn’t see a single cloud over my head, they were steadily gathering.
As I have more than one reason to celebrate, we had decided to go to a tapas bar after the walk. I was carrying my camera to capture a few precious last moments of the afternoon. Usually, we have a rule: Paul walks behind me for protection. Sometimes it is a little funny, because he looks to be a bodyguard. Unfortunately, I stopped to take a picture of one of the “traineiras” (fishing boats) against the pinkish sky while Paul walked just 15 to 20 meters ahead of me. That was enough for disaster.
From my back came a strong young individual, I would say with 18 years old. He gave me a blow on the kidney area and almost at once tried to grab the camera. I think I have done all that I could to stop him. When you have tae bo classes, it is almost instinctive. The camera went to the ground with an unpleasant crack. It hurt just to hear it. It was a Cyber-shot DSC V1. Paul brought it 5 years ago in Singapore but I was only using it since last year. In reality, I was starting to learn how to use it with a “how to clean it” first lesson.
The moment I saw the camera down I knew it was lost. The strength used to take it away from me was too strong. My reaction could only stop the criminal from taking it with him. Between two opposite forces, the camera ended up on the ground. I saw the open lenses breaking with the impact and a couple of components fly away.
The robber run from me, to find himself between Paul and I. He stopped for a moment and decided to turn back in my direction. By now I was leaning over the broken camera. He approached and tried to grab the iPod without success. He left the phones white cord and turned to the broken camera, escaping with it through the traffic and then up the hills. This all happened in less than two minutes.
The result of such dramatic and risky situation was: a bitter feeling about a lot of things, numerous bruises on my arms, pain on my back (how could I dance the next day?) and 4 injuries: two on my left hand and one in each knee, three of them from last week previous accident – now open and soar again.
When I told Andy about this sad episode, he just looked at me and said: ‘You are very lucky to be alive.’ He also told me about a couple of violent incidents that took place in the same area.
I don’t now why but I just couldn’t feel lucky that day. At least one feeling stood out: bitterness against institutions that should be working to avoid this kind of danger against peaceful citizens. I wonder if there is a true will of writing the name of Mozambique in the tourism map. I wonder if there is a will at all. Authority around here, most of the times, is only felt against decent working people.
The result of the incapacity of putting some order in the society is the killing spree of criminals in the poorest areas around Maputo or other kind of vigilant groups.
Can you believe that from now on I can only photograph in Maputo near someone carrying a gun as if I was living in Irak? I truly hope that someone comfortably sitting on the “power chair” reads this and feels really bad. Actually, I hope that he or she, or they, can’t sleep well at night and wake up with all the pain I felt and still feel.
To be continued…