BLUE & BAGLESS IN MOZAMBIQUE
Matt Phillips Destination editor for SubSaharan Africa @go2mattphillips
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.