Mozambique is the vital proof that mere material poverty is not enough an excuse to justify the endemic problem of the sickly demands of money to the white man (assumed rich by definition) that happens invariably in almost every country of sub-Saharan Africa. Mozambique, is one of the poorest countries of Africa and consequently of the world. However, there seems to be an inherent dignity in Mozambicans what keeps them away from being immersed in that constant obsession of believing that every white man must give them money and stuff. Neither they appeal to the image of pity because of their material lack, not even to the infamous resort of generating guilt for the atrocities that white men have done (and still do) in Africa against their people, the black people.
The lack of education, even though it constitutes a true valid argument, is not enough for itself to explain the whole problem. The education in almost all of Mozambique is reduced to the most basic. There are rural schools in every village and that’s very positive, but it still is generally very limited and not all children of rural population can easily access it. As a result their progress possibilities are equally limited. Even then, Mozambicans are inherently respectful and educated people.
Brutal colonialism, decades of civil war, famine, destruction, lack of infrastructure, they all have been part of the recent past of Mozambique too, like the rest of the most long-suffering countries of Africa and even so, Mozambicans reflect a serenity and a peace towards life that I find, at the very least, worth it of my utmost admiration. It seems as thought nothing could really worry them, or be a good reason for giving up their human warmth. Spending time here, knowing about their conditions and their history makes me look back to terrible experiences like Ethiopia, and I convince myself that those have no excuse to behave the way they do.
So how is this possible? Is it possible that dignity is an intrinsic value in some cultures and in some others it is not, and it needs to be cultivated through education? The answer is not very clear to me yet, but people like Mozambicans (and like Tibetans, on the other side of the world) make me suspect that there is a sort of "gen" that precedes the social, historical and geographic circumstances that mold a culture.
Just as much as when I left Ethiopia believing that maybe there was a kind of “evil” gen in the nature of their people, I leave Mozambique believing that there can also exist a gen of inherent dignity that comes before the aforementioned experiences which determines the characteristics of people, that is the "gen"I feel mozambicans have.
I leave with Mozambique and Mozambicans in my heart; I’m leaving with the feeling that I should have spent more time in this enormous country where I’ve felt so comfortable, where I’ve been treated with deep respect and human warmth. Mozambicans can have just some material things to offer, because their possessions are so minimal, but a lot of teachings to give with their sweetness and that omnipresent serenity which they seem to keep in front of the adversity of the life they live; or either teaching us something very different: like making us think that regardless of the easy times or the adversities that affect us, life is as hard (or as easy) as we want it to be. Yes, yes, Mozambique is high up on the rank of places that I’ll return to, because of their people, because of their idyllic spaces and because of their mangos.