Monday, April 03, 2006

Saudades


One of the greatest things about learning a new language is discovering interesting new words that just don’t really translate well into one’s native tongue. In Portuguese there is a wonderful example of this in the word “saudades.” It more or less means to feel strong nostalgia for a person or a place…something like what we would call homesickness in English but more specifically related to one’s emotional attachment to certain relationships. As a sentimental fool myself, I particularly enjoy this word and the meaning that it has in my life right now.

This past week I have had to say good bye to my best friends here in Maputo as well as my beautiful apartment that has been my first home here in Mozambique. I became incredibly close to Peter, Caitlin and Wes during these past seven months and will look back fondly at the countless memories we’ve shared together in this wonderful country. They have been a constant source of joy and support for me here and a healthy reminder of my homeland that at times seems so very far away.

Together we have explored Mozambique’s pristine coastline and unique cultural mix, grooved to Afro-jazz at either Gil Vicente or Café Camissa, brought down the house at Clube Naval, laughed at each others frequent Portuguese mistakes, shared meals with friends from around the world, tried to solve the world’s problems during our numerous balcony sessions, exchanged multiple stories of happiness and sorrow from life in Maputo and discovered what it means to be white development workers on a black man’s continent. Oh and we also found time to start a band together called Samora Machel and the Revolutionaries. Our first album should be out by the end of the year with a world tour to follow in 2007. We’ll keep you posted.

Of course, nobody can leave quietly from this country so last week we threw Peter, Caitlin and Wes a massive Desperdida, which is basically a big going away party in Portuguese. The night was full of music, drinking, dancing and good times for all, a perfect way to send off my Canadian Comrades. Their house was packed with more Mozambicans then I have ever seen in one apartment and naturally things got a little steamy…a real festa Africano!! This picture above is my favourite picture I have of the "Three Stooges" putting back the pineapple surprise that someone had concocted.

The night also signified the handing over of their apartment to me as I moved into the place this past Saturday. I loved my old apartment but our lease came to an end of the month and we were no longer interested in staying associated with our old land lady. IN my whole time in Mozambique so far nobody has given us nearly as much grief as this lady has in the past couple of months. We have fought tooth and nail over ridiculous things and embarrassingly it has degenerated into a situation where nearly every conversation we have together is confrontational. Cathy and I have felt cheated at every opportunity by this women and have wisely chosen to part ways, both of us learning valuable lessons about renting apartments in developing countries. Our moving day experience was one of my worst days here in Mozambique and I really don’t think that I should dwell on all of the details. Let’s just say that it was an unfortunate ending to an enjoyable stay in a classy apartment.

But as much as it is hard to say goodbye to the old apartment I look forward to keeping the good times rolling in the new apartment, a place that is already full of so many good memories and positive energy from my experience here in Mozambique. And like all friends that come in and out of our lives, I know that Peter, Wes and Caitlin have each left a part of themselves with me to remind me of the many things we’ve shared together


A meus amigos:

Podem suas almas estar livre dançar, seus coraçãos esteja livre amar e suas mãos estejam livres trabalhar em o que lhe significa a maioria. Podemos nós nunca esquecer-se que em Mozambique, em Canadá, e em cada canto do mundo...a luta continua!! Eu vou ter os muitos saudades para voces e eu espero por nossa reunião seguinte em Africa ou o Winnipeg Folk Festival!!


Paz e Amor


Jp

4 Comments:

Anonymous sing song boy said...

I came here on Sean's advice that there was to be good talk of gays and extremist Christians... bastard lied to me!

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Anonymous sing song idiot said...

okay - so it was the post below... I'll comment there now.

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