The night has fallen. By the window we see nothing more than darkness and the lights from a truck that passes by. We suddenly spot a post of the national army which is checking random vehicles. We turn on our video camera and Hanaffan keeps it in a hidden position so that it passes unnoticed.
Our bus stop and a army private enters. A tall, slim, serious man. He takes a look at all the passengers and stops his eyes upon us that are very close the door. With a demanding tone says: “passports”. I calmly handle them to him. He vaguely checked them and then tells us “vaccines”. I Do not understand what he just said in Portuguese, so i make poker face. He with a sudden gesture, mocks himself to be vaccinated in the right arm, while repeating in more demanding voice “vaccine, vaccine against ebola,” I answered: “ahh… vaccines”…but against ebola?. He says in Portuguese “where is your vaccine card, why didn’t you bring it?“ Hanaffan intervenes and says that we don’t have it because we live in China (what he wanted to say is that people coming from China are not obligated to bring the vaccination card to enter Mozambique). The guard interrupts him saying: “all Angolan, South African or foreign being coming here, must have his carton of vaccines because the mozambicano does not go out there without his vaccination card”.
I tell him that we are vaccinated but we have not brought the card. He then makes me a gesture with the hand to accompany him out of the bus. He turns around and exits. The driver quickly recommends me to let Hanaffan to handle the situation, but it is better that I go because I can discuss calmly without causing more problems.
Upon leaving, I make a reproduction of the conversation, where the army private always kept a defiant look and a threatening tone of voice:
Private: why you both came to Mozambique?
Hudie: to visit our Mozambican friends in the North of the country and to deliver a help in clothes, seeds and toys.
Private: You do not have the vaccination card with you
Hudie: We don’t have it here, but we are vaccinated.
Private: (losing patience) that is even worse because is illegal travel without it. Therefore, you both have to come with me.
Private: to my Superior, to report you.
Hudie: Okay we go (with my best face of patience)
Private: (with a voice of impatience) That’s going to take long time for you two.
Hudie: what can we do?
Private: give me something to buy a snack.
Hudie: a snack? are you asking me for money? Then we go to where your superior is, so I can tell him this.
Private: (low voice and now calmer) what did you say was the reason why you are in Mozambique?
Hudie: to help the Mozambicans and if the aid we are bringing does not arrive on time is your fault.
Private: go (he made a gesture so I made my way back to the bus while he turned around to disappear in the darkness.)
When I turned to return to the bus I see that the driver is just behind me. He was there all the time listening to the conversation or maybe checking that the private didn’t do anything inappropriate to me. The driver looks at me with a puzzled face and without saying anything.
I go on the bus and tell Hanaffan what happened….we feel disgusted. The journey continues. Let’s see what is next.