Our family made it back home Saturday afternoon, a few days later than I had intended due to some auto servicing (yes, of course it was suspension-related; we do live in Mozambique after all). Safety is a commodity here often lacking as we well saw on Saturday morning.

As we were about to leave Blantyre, our last stop was a shop called Saver’s Choice. To get there, we head towards Limbe and go about 1KM past the shop, take the roundabout, then head back towards Blantyre. (A bit convoluted, but that’s how the roads work there.) About 1/4KM before Savers, there is a turnoff to a dirt road that runs parallel to the higher main road. This will all become important in just a second.

As our family wandered the aisles, I heard a family speaking Portuguese and thought it sounded Brasilian. Being who I am, I had to ask them and yes, it was true. They were a family from Sao Paulo living in Malawi. We hit it off and were happily chatting away when we heard a loud sound and saw a massive cloud of dust appear just in front of the shop. As that is where I had parked, I quickly went outside to see what was going on, assuming a dump truck had accidentally dumped a bunch of dirt (hey, I was grasping at straws; what else could I come up with on such short notice?).

In front of me lay a smashed up car, topside to the ground. It had flown off of the highway above and smashed into a metal gate at the entryway to the shop and slid a few meters. A crowd immediately appeared and began to push the car over so that they could extract the driver and whoever else was in the car.

Standing next to me was an Australian friend who had just pulled into the parking lot. She had been sitting where the car now sat just seconds ago pondering where to park as there were no empty spots. Just as she found a space, she got out of the car and this BMW literally landed where she had just been. She was speechless and clenching my arm. As I watched and wondered what to do, the crowd had ripped away the shattered windshield and pulled out the driver and perhaps a passenger. Blood covered the one guy all over.

Within seconds of finding his freedom, he was gone, running down the road. Why? Stolen car? Stolen goods in the car? Borrowed car? Didn’t want to be held responsible for fixing the smashed gate? Didn’t want to be taken in by the police for questioning? Drunk driving? Who knows. I’m just a bit shocked that the driver was able to run away at all. I wonder what happened to him.

This is only a week or so after a pretty major disaster that happened in Blantyre at a popular restaurant called Kips. It’s a place we’ve been to often, run by Asians of Pakistani origin. While they were renovating, the whole place (several stories) collapsed and killed several people. Fortunately, it wasn’t opened for business at the time. The accident has called into question the stability of a lot of buildings created several decades ago before the building codes required reinforced concrete. (This was a building marked for demolition just before Malawi gained its democratic freedom and it was promptly forgotten as everyone moved towards their first election.)


Source :  The former optimist

Optimism is good, except for when it’s totally unrealistic. But why not give it a shot anyway? Thoughts from one family trying to make a difference in rural Mozambique.

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