Moçambique, já volto!
It feels so right to return to this space at this very moment, three days before leaving to Mozambique after almost ten years of longing for it. I started this blog when embarking on my big adventure - after quitting safety of my home country and a well-paid promising position at a law firm, to volunteer in Mozambique. Experience that, as cliché as it sounds, has changed my life.
A couple of days ago, while getting ready for the trip, I found my old Portuguese dictionary, that I bought back in 2008 in Copenhagen. Apart from being my daily accessory in Mozambique, for which my students liked to tease me - "senhora formadora Eugenija and her blue bible", it also contains an autograph from the "Backstreet boys" member Brian. As a teenager, perhaps 10 years before the trip, I had a crush on him and covered my bedroom walls with posters and clippings from German magazines for teenagers. And then, if much much later, I saw him in Copenhagen. Meeting, which somehow attested to another cheesy notion "And, when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it" (By P. Coelho). For indeed, I really wanted to meet Brian. Never mind it happened more than 10 years later after my teenage fantasy faded away. And now, I really wanted to return to Mozambique. One day... Which finally came! Savoring the thought of all the things, smells and tastes I have been missing, I also remind myself to never stop dreaming!
The dictionary also contains hand-written additions to local vocabulary, crucial to navigating the every day Mozambique. For example, mata bicho, which literally means to kill the beast, is breakfast. Estamos juntos (we are together) - a word combination quite alien to Portuguese ears, but an important signifier of friendship and good will in Mozambique. Chapa - perhaps the most common mode of transport for people and animals alike. Iwe - hey you! a good way to call attention of children or street vendors, but otherwise can be a bit insulting if used to people you don't know. É pah! - an expression that could mean anything ranging from surprise to anger, or just an exclamation added at the end of a sentence. Maningi nice - when you really really like something!
I am trying to catch up with my Mozambican Portuguese as I begin the last countdown to an epic return to terra gloriosa! Together with the Portuguese dictionary I also uncovered my diaries filled with youthful wisdom and daily accounts of life in a teacher training college. So hold on here - more stories to come connecting 2008 with 2017.
PS: every year as one of the new year's resolutions I promise myself to return to writing and blogging. Perhaps the time has come as I will attempt to finally keep up with the resolution...