Matt Phillips Des­ti­na­tion editor for SubSa­ha­ran Africa @go2­mattphillips

Lonely Planet (UK) - - Journal -

I had just crossed from Malawi into Mozam­bique and was feel­ing some­what dis­ori­ented when I at­tempted to change some cur­rency with a lo­cal black-mar­ket dealer. Moments later, just af­ter I had placed my bag on the back of a flatbed truck that I was about to ride east for more than a hun­dred miles, I re­alised that I had been fleeced out of $20. I quickly tracked down the dealer and as we had a po­lite dis­agree­ment, the truck – and my bag – pulled away. I chased it, but the driver didn’t stop. De­jected, I sat on the curb and won­dered what more could go wrong. Mirac­u­lously, the truck re­turned with my bag 15 min­utes later. It turned out the driver was just pa­trolling for more pas­sen­gers! Elated, I hopped onto the truck’s flatbed. My re­lief must have been ob­vi­ous to the other pas­sen­gers who, sens­ing my stress­ful day, went above and be­yond to lift my spir­its. As we trun­dled to­ward the coast with arms locked and legs dan­gling over the sides of the truck, they of­fered me su­gar­cane, along with a vi­tal les­son on how to cor­rectly chew it, and when we stopped at a road­side stall for roast chicken, a fel­low pas­sen­ger paid for my meal. From feel­ing ex­ploited to feel­ing like part of the fam­ily, it was quite a day. Since then, the gen­eros­ity and hos­pi­tal­ity of African peo­ple has never ceased to amaze me.

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