Did you know I lived in Africa for four years? Yep, that’s right, in Mozambique. Where’s that you ask? Well, its on the southeastern coast of the continent….Northeast of South Africa and Swaziland, east of Zibabwe, Zambia and Malawi, west of the island of Madagascar (and no, there are no talking lions, zebras and elephants on that island) and south of Tanzania. It’s situated on the Indian Ocean and let me tell you, it’s a beautiful strip of ocean! Some of the best scuba diving locations are found off the coast of Mozambique. But it’s also one of the world’s top 5 poorest countries. It is a nation filled with dichotomy….the best and the worst of so many things.
The most amazing people and some of the most disturbed. The greatest beauty and the most horrific despair. Unbelievable wealth and desperate poverty. The most welcoming people and the greatest haters of western white people. Generosity and selfishness. The greatest extremes. I thought it was “just the way Africa is”…this propensity towards opposites, until recently. When I realized that no, that is just the world. Look at any nation and you will see the same extremes. The difference is that in America, we also have a lot in the middle. I don’t just mean class or wealth, I mean “the average”. We have extremes, but we also have the average middle.
That is lacking in Mozambique. There is no middle, just one extreme or the other. Its makes it hard because it forces you to choose sides. You MUST identify with one extreme or the other. And in doing that you often cut yourself off from knowing, experiencing and doing life with the opposite extreme. And that is hard. Especially when you’re an “includer” and “pleaser” like me. Because you just want everyone to be happy and have a place at the table. And in my African experience, that is not a reality.
Right now, this beloved country is experiencing a terrible drought that has been going on for far too long. And the people are suffering and losing more hope everyday that passes. There is an organization called Kurdanza (www.kurdanza.org) that is wanting to help and is offering opportunities for Americans to get involved and make a difference. Would you consider visiting their website to see if there is a way that you could participate in helping Mozambicans find relief? There are all kinds of ways to help...I bet you can find one that is a good fit for you! We are blessed in America, let's share our blessings!
I’m grateful for my years in Mozambique. Grateful for the ways in which that country molded and shaped me into a different version of myself. A better version of me. As a result, I will always love Africa…it’s people, it’s cultures, it’s sights, sounds and tastes. It is true, once you experience Africa, you will never be the same.
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