quinta-feira, 7 de novembro de 2013

My first experience of Africa, working, was Angola . When the plane began to approach the city of Luanda, the window frame made ​​us see a picture almost single-color, homogeneous and dusty.
The image of thousands and thousands of shanties in the mud still is in my memory. When I arrived I smelled Africa. I realized it was another reality . The sticky humidity of the heat coming through the automatic doors of the airport entrance was stifling .

Still inside the airport customs people in a threatening tone muttering some words in portuguese that were almost imperceptible, trying a bribery using psychological pressure in the passengers that were arriving from Lisbon,  "you are coming to work in Angola" as if we were illegal. Was unusual and odd. It was not just  the informal treatment, was the detachment with which they spoke, sounding repetitive and dispassionate, as if they made this more than a thousand times, no further interest besides the money. I understood that the reality was very different. No one greeted us and gave us welcome, no smiles or receptivity to anyone. That's when I thought that a country who supposed to be a brother country, who have the same language, the history intersection, were not.
Already outside the airport, we found that they had forgotten to pick up us. Common thing, the lack of timeliness or performance of the duties on Angola. There is always a reason for these kind of episods, no one prevents anything, everything is possible, everything is normal, everything is tolerable. I had just reached a new cadence, a new pulse.

At the exit of the airport, and on the way to the fate that awaited me, the  streets were crowded of people and cars on top of each other everywhere, intersected people on the streets in all directions, some seemed lost, others were begging, other were sold and passed to a destination hard to realize.The shanties multiplying everywhere, with tin roofs and plastic sealed with loose bricks that made weight for the roof does not come off, windows and doors all with security grills. The filth, garbage, debris all huddled on the edge, in the middle, everywhere, shocking poverty, contrasted with the high motor cars that passed not so infrequently. Candongueiros, the táxis and the only transportation in the city, funneled up the streets. Were the Hiaces in the '70s in Portugal, now blue and white, decorated with motifs rogues  pennants football clubs, stickers, names of football players, beliefs and thanks in large letters.
 
In shaping the infrastructure of the city, with a bump architecture of the 60s, most in very poor condition. Buildings that recall the suburbs of Lisbon, as Damaia, there it was replicated .The megalomaniac construction of the Constituent Assembly in the city center said the grandeur of growth of the country but shocking poverty surrounding. Everywhere it makes exchanges and sales of anything. Everything is sold on the street. The informal market, we do not know the size, should employ more than half of the population, realizing by the amount of unemployed people who came through the applications, almost 100 %. The informal market that should serve the needs of consumer goods a very high percentage of the population of Luanda . Given the scarcity of products and services that the country faces.
 
Begining the work . The contact with the people who came in asking for work contradicted the impression of arrogance felt at the airport. The humility and sympathy existed. They came by the dozen at our door, waiting hours to speak to me, hoping for a job that would give them the prospect of a better life. A life  that forgets more than 30 years of war, which silences the disease, which shut hunger in a country depressed and that seems to have forgotten the people.The mishmash and mess piled up. Purchasing simple things took hours of journey and turned into full days tour through the roads of Luanda, in the intense traffic everywhere. Assaults with weapons on our team, on our doorstep, to steal mobile phones and the few kwanzas went. Although it securely to the door armed with a G3 . Workers who disappeared. Appeared after a few days ... drunk  Other emerging from the death of a family member. Alcohol is a problem with which the country will have to deal in the future. The people, men and women are immersed in alcohol. Submerged in a family disorganization that all women have three, four, five and six children, from adolescence, of different men who do not assume paternity and everyone accepted this without discussion. Are the uncles, grandparents, parents of the woman who assume the role of parent in children's lives, with all the fatalities that can cover the lack of parental role.
 
One day in the evening, we went out for a dinner in the Island of Luanda, famous restaurants that open the island of Luanda,  and I met a new Luanda. With a black bay reflecting a bright light in the water, along with the lights of the new hotels and companies. Discovered a fascinating side of the city, beside the heaving growth of the country. The side that does not let you see the imperfections and difficulties.
 
I'm not the colonial time, do not even know what that means. I do not know what is a country to have dominion and power over others. I'm not racist or chauvinist, I do not have any kind of presumption about anyone, but I have an assumption from my experience, my vision and feel about a country, on a people. I do not know if we are welcome in this country where I worked for a very small period of time, to build a better organization, a better heritage work.
 
Traveling to Lobito , discovered over 600 kilometers, a new Angola . It is not an easy trip between security checkpoints, with their bribes because there is always something that is in violation to anyone who is not in the country. The discovery of a new Africa in their landscapes, from passing through Port Aboim up to Lubango was exciting and overwhelming. But this episode is by Angolan territory for a new story, with a more positive outlook and above all passionate .