I’m having mixed feelings at the end of my assignment. In Moldolva I was sure I had some kind of impact and that I was appreciated. Here I’m not so sure. Part of the the problem was the nature of the assignment. I had to interview many different types of people in order to assess the entire Beira corridor horticultural value chain so I never really had time to get to know anyone on a personal level. I learned and gained so much insight by getting to know on a personal level my host family, my interpreter, the local extension workers, and the farmers I worked with in Moldova. Here I’ve spent a lot of time observing how things have changed and why they have changed. It was difficult for me to listen to endless complaints when I could see so clearly have much better it is here now in Mozambique. I often wanted to say don’t you remember the war? Don’t you remember how it was? But I always bit my tongue. Previously it seemed to me that people never complained and just worked hard and managed to do so much with so little. This way of being really inspired me and after I returned to the US and completed an internship on an organic vegetable farm in West Virginia I started my own organic vegetable farm in New Hampshire. Whenever things got rough there I remembered all the people I had met in Mozambique and how they just kept persevering with a very practical down to earth attitude. I keep wondering if this spirit has completely disappeared. And this makes me sad. I am sad that I am somewhat relieved and looking forward to going home. Before I came I was sure I would not want to go home to face the reality of my never ending search for employment. A luta continua…
On the other hand, it is still a very beautiful country. And small moments here have brought me great happiness. Hearing the neighbors sing in Chimoio, visiting and talking with the farmers, smiling at the small girl who was staring at me and receiving an enormous smile in return. Yesterday after wading in the Indian Ocean I tracked down a artisans shop in Beira. It was completely unorganized and crammed with wood cravings, beaded jewelry and batiks. I spent nearly two hours there browsing and talking with the owner. I couldn’t have had that conversation a month ago. My Portuguese has improved. Later I returned to the hotel for a beer and chatted with the waitstaff about Mozambican cooking. I am sure now that the best matapa is in the south and it is just not the same in Sofala and Manica.
I head for the airport in two hours and will get through the forty hour trip by visualizing both the beach and Indian Ocean and my own bed in my own house.
3 responses to “Begingings and Endings- Beira, Day 28”
I am sure once you’re home you will still benefit from remembering the good and not so good moments of your trip. You have grown and became a slightly different person just by being exposed to this adventure. You will use this experience wisely to write the next chapter in the book of your life. Which is really what it is all about. Welcome back!
Welcome home! This blog has been a great way to communicate.
I very much enjoyed your blog. I served as a missionary for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints in Maputo for 1 year followed by another year in Beira. I agree with your comments. Stepping foot in Beira can change the perspective of a life. Hopefully we can retain those images and avoid getting caught up in the ever too easy American way. I also found the Matapa recipe and will be experimenting with the ingredients provided here in the United States.