Once in Cabeceira Grande, and after being informed that Dona Lisa now lives in Mousuril, we decide to continue the march to find her. But how? Is there any transportation?.
We ask the boy walking on our side and who traveled with us in the Dhao. He tells us that it was too late to take the popular transportation and that it is difficult to get a truck on the way willing to give us a lift. Then, we walk a bit more and arrive to the village where he lives. It has rained, the sky is gray and partly cloudy. The red Earth is swampy and there‘s an aura of sadness in the environment.
There are a few men gathered around a radio. We come very close and our young companion approaches them to ask for someone who is willing to take us in his motorcycle to Mousuril. They seem excited by our presence. However, the energy of the environment keeps me tense. They don’t look at us as friends, as people… for them, we look like money, an opportunity.
People approach and surround us, they speak loudly offering to accompany us and explaining excuses why the motorcycles cannot travel (they have no gasoline, are damaged, it has been raining and they cant drive like this). Two fat men with certain status within that population, offer to bring us in their motorcycles for 200 meticais each. I don’t like the offer nor the look in their eyes. Then, almost immediately, among all the loud voices, two youngsters jump and offer to take us for 200 meticais each. Of course… on foot. They can only show us the way. Hannaffan, already does not tolerate more extortion, and in a burst of anger shouts them that they are abusing only because we are foreigners.
As I can, I try to calm everybody down by talking in a sweet and nice voice. I say: “oh sorry, we are tired, please allow us to be alone to decide what to do”. We walk apart and call the young man that we have known in the Dhao.
I feel that we should leave that place as soon as possible, so I face the young man and say: Can you take us there? I prefer you do it.
He accepts without doubt and I am not sure out of where, another young man appears. He is introduced as the brother…. We begin to walk. Our young friend is called Esufo and his brother Ariki. Esufo insists on helping me and carry my luggage, I let him. Feels good to get rid of this weight.
The environment is moist, humid, hot. It has been raining and everything looks sad. We pass by Esufo’s house, he opens the door and a couple of kittens of not less than 1 month old, are dying of hunger. Esufo tells me that he had not been at home for two days because it was in the funeral of his 10-year-old nephew who died of malaria. He tells me of his misery and the poverty of their lives. We had several houses and only see sad faces, elusive, dirty children. Some doors of the huts are open. Big white eyes overlook, many in number… they are all children.
I get to see some crops. They are small in quantity, mainly corn as far as I recognize. The truth is that the sensation that this people have giving me is terrible. An image of Africa as fatalistic as in the news.
We walk up to a road full of holes. Soon reaches us another young man asking if we are going to see Dona Lisa, we say Yes. He asks the other two boys to leave us alone because he is in charged of us. The confusion extends for a few minutes. We say that Dona Lisa is not waiting for us, and that we do not know him. At the end, I understood that he works to the Guest House where we are going to stay and which is run by Dona Lisa’s husband. This means that if we had accepted to go only with him and let the other two boys go away, we would have been very comfortable just going without paying anything… However, we didn’t do wrong. The five of us keep company for two long hours.
We are jumping puddles, shooing the flies away, and listening to the stories of Esufu who is only 21-year-old, but has already experienced great tragedies.
He tells me that he wants to study, but that the Turism College closed few years ago and that he has not been able to raise the money to pay the tuition in the other new College. He tells me that his wife abandoned him once they had twins and a few months later they died of malaria. I advise him as I can…trying to bring some light to his life.
It is 7:30 p.m. and we finally arrived in the lodge, which is owned by the husband of Dona Lisa. With great pleasure and affection we said goodbye to the two brothers Esufu and Ariki. As a tip we give each one 200 meticais. They receive the money with much appreciation, so much that they hug us. The other guy who works at the lodge, tells us that we are out of season and that the place is lonely but we are welcome to spend the night.
After contacting Dona Lisa, he informs us that we will meet her tomorrow because today is already too late.
I’m here, in the dark, only with candles and a beer. Hanaffan is watching the stars next to me. This back yard helps me to relax. There are friendly dogs running around in the dark, nocturanal animals and noises. We have a shower and a nice modest room… Let’s see what happens tomorrow.
Good night, Cabeceira.