Saturday, May 14, 2011

The ephemeral life of a baby in Paradise (tourists)

Alberto and sweet, with two companions, rise to the motor boat that takes you from Vilankulo to Berenguerua Island, Mozambique. The couple has been in her arms a baby just five months that she, her mother, protected by a blanket. "It's a little sick, we have been in hospital a few drugs that we have to give," says Dulce.

What do you have? "We do not know, we do not have that," he replies. The group is incorporated into their weekly shift at Marlin Lodge, a luxury hotel. Come happy, dying of laughter, and he, the father, not for showing off wife and son. "It's the first thing we have" an impact, while hugging.

She just looks at the child and caregiver. Berenguerua island paradise is a strange chiselling. An island of 11 miles of idyllic nature has a freshwater lagoon and a huge sand dune more than 30 meters. In this space coexist three hotels and a community of 1,400 people that has about 400 children.

At dawn, on the spectacular beaches, begin to appear old sailing wooden boats that go fishing, women who carry their babies on their backs and bolbolsas or buckets on their heads, shell collectors. Life, full of life. The appearance of the hotel has changed to a community accustomed to subsist, without further, for years.

"Before they came they were ignorant," said Edmund, a native. "We have to all well done, open a school and now we plan to do a clinic," says Peter, the director of Marlin Lodge (a South African doctor who came to this place and decided not to go). Then comes Alberto, who joins work at the bar.

How is the child? "He spent all night crying. Dulce Vilankulo has again to be told that it" answers. The idyllic island has at its heart, outside the hotels, the shared problems of Africa miserable. Three totally drunk elderly welcome us in the first village they encountered. They drink a lot, under the shade of a large tree.

The alcohol breaks here, as elsewhere in the continent, the equation between the lack of activity and time. Most houses are of wood and straw. We also see some half-built brick. "They ran out of money to finish them," explains Adolfo, who has offered to teach the community. "The power for the chief, who is the patriarch of one of the two great families of the island.

His fishing dominates and the other is devoted to agriculture. When you get here, if you want to stay and live, he must approve . To build, however, the power lies with the Government, as part of a Berenguerua National Park. " The head of the island is also talking to the hotels and sends a quota of workers agreed that everyone should have some income.

"Before the crisis, which so far has come the word, the agreement was to hire 45 extra people per month to clean the beaches and do unskilled jobs are now agreed on a number close to 30", explains Adolfo. He decides the distribution of income after hearing everyone's problems. There is also a local police force.

Are exactly three agents led by the guard of Hotel Azura. "Sometimes there are disputes in the villages because people sing very high at night and annoys customers. Then he calls the police to put control. The agreement is not to disturb the peace of the island." In the endless road of sand and stone, it takes more than two hours to travel the 11 kilometers.

Just before arriving at school, we see one of the few concrete houses. It is the residence of the five teachers who teach nearly 400 children. What they need most at school?, Asked one of the teachers. The guy sighs and smiles. "In all, we need all, but perhaps more serious is the problem of water.

When we have water we can not open. Children can not be here for hours without drinking," he explains. "The problem is that when the sea is stirred salt water enters the wells, which are useless for a while." The list of needs is endless, as evidenced by Douglas, a young man who claims to have 21 years (his name is art for South African tourists and is likely to have neither 18).

It is dedicated to fish or carry on his grandfather's boat tourists. "I left school because he had no money to pay for my books and pencils, while here it revenue." Completely drunk. The truth is that most school supplies are also donated by the lodges. The school in Mozambique is compulsory for children.

"The law says a parent who does not take your child to school could lose their parental rights or even go to jail." Theory than in reality it is a dead letter. "It is a threat to frighten. The Government has no place to put those kids," Adolph replied. On marriages, polygamy is permitted.

"You can marry several times, but is forced to build a new home for every woman." More theory. Finally, Adolfo explains a funny sort of initiation rite for new hotel workers. "When I arrived I was excited to eat a real meal. My colleagues said I was going to try a great menu. I thought of chicken, beef or fish.

Then I served salad, mushrooms and stuff. To you I like these things, but for us a meal is chicken or fish. If I return to my village and my family took me throw some mushrooms. Vegetables and fruit and we can take the field, "he laughs as night falls perched on the unexplained enormous dune from which to contemplate the paradise.

The next morning Alberto appears in the bar. Smiling, helpful, but look a little lost. Suddenly, abruptly, said: "The baby is dead." He says shyly, in a low voice, without losing the half-smile, and his hands trembling so that she can barely hold the tray. Why are you still working? "Tomorrow I will return to my family home, now I can not.

Moreover, and buried him yesterday," he replies. Do not lose your sweet gesture, or sheds a tear. You can still shaking hands compulsively while replacing the bar after the body somewhat shrunk. Your child will not have time to enjoy paradise. Probably born in he has killed.

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