Boom, boom, boom!
At 2 am in the early hours of this morning, the proprietor of the shebeen
situated closest to our bed-room window decided to play his latest music. The speakers on full blast, we sit bolt upright in our bed and listen to him drunkenly sing along to some incomprehensible lyrics from an artist that has likely had his music pirated.
“Eu gostaria que a sua parte inferior grande em minha embreagem”
Translated into English, I think the words are: “I would like your big bottom in my clutch,” or something like that.
But pardon my ability to understand or speak Portuguese at that time of the morning!
We drift back into a light sleep and then Graham’s alarm screeches at 4.30am. It is time to start the day here in Morrumbala, Mozambique.
It’s my birthday today and I wonder if my husband has remembered, after all I did say something about it yesterday.
Just before he goes to work, “Sorry Babe, almost forgot, happy birthday!”
OK, he’s forgiven, he remembered.
My day continues the same as any day here in the lost wilderness in the back of beyond. If it’s not raining, I get out for my early morning walk around the OLAM
cotton gin and factory before it gets too hot.
I spot something lying on the side of the road. It’s Johnny the crow who has been grounded for three weeks with a broken wing and I have made friends with him.
For weeks I have watched him survive, with his other crow buddies looking after him. He hops along on the ground and his buddies perch on branches in close by trees or on the factory roof tops, swooping closely over the heads of anyone or thing that gets too close to him. They even drop scraps of food to help him survive.
I once tried to get close enough to catch him in order that I could set his wing with a brace, but he hopped off into the tall grass before I had to crouch low because of the flurry of wings over my head from his protectors. I decided that he would be fine and live out a reasonable life with the way his Karma had fallen.
Johnny did not mind me. I often brought him stale bread which I’d scatter on the ground for him. I just was not to get too close to him, that’s all.
I walk over to the side of the road and take a look.
Johnny is dead. One of the factory workers has broken his neck and left him lying there.
Poor Johnny, life is cheap here in Mozambique.
There is a horrendous stench as I approach a section of the complex. Huge piles of cotton waste and seed have been burning for days in an attempt to clean up the grounds. Everyone has been running around sorting the place out because the very big OLAM bosses are arriving for a few days. They hail from Beira and Maputo.
I wonder to myself why the place cannot always be so tidy.
When I return to our house, I hear the loud music of the other bars competing with the one that started up with the 2 am enthusiast.
The village has woken for the day here in Morrumbala …
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