Aparna in Mozambique

Sunday, May 04, 2008

The Past, Present, and In-Between....

Its that time again. Time to get packing. I leave in a week from Maputo and head back into the bigger world beyond this wonderful little gem of a city. And part of leaving for me is being confused. Or maybe conflicted is the better word to describe how I feel. It has come out for me in different ways. Last week for example, we wanted to go to a restaurant for a football game as my friend's going away party. They were charging what I felt to be a prohibitively expensive amount to get in because it was crowded. To me that meant, they wanted to keep it an expat place. Sure, we could pay. But, I was too offended for other people to be a part of that. Also, I've been running again in the mornings. And I noticed that all the beachfront properties are owned by individuals. Ok, not all, but at least the ones that I run by. Swimming pools, multistory homes with electric fences and single families. Nice for them. Meanwhile, on the outside the beaches are littered with garbage, waste, and are overpowered by the fishermen. I'm upset that places that are meant to be public, that are for the public's enjoyment, are not at all public. And the last thing that set me over the top. Today we went to a fancy hotel in town to have a coffee. We arrived, and not surprisingly things were three times what they would have been outside. Of course, I was offended, because I looked around and saw a scene I didn't like. A huge plot of land with the most beautiful views available only to a handful of people. As non-guests we were pushed to a side bar so as not to be visible. I politely told the waiter that we would leave. He told me, don't worry. It is very expensive. But, you can sit here, its no problem. Its only by the pool that you can't sit. And that sent me over. The man working there as a waiter felt bad for us that we didn't want to pay for a meal which we could afford. Or maybe he realized that we just wanted to see the view. Anyways, it also upset me.

I'm rambling on. But, mostly what I feel is that I (and we) are sometimes things that are meant to be enjoyed by everyone. That are not necessarily for "us." And it makes me feel uncomfortable. The same thing happens in the U.S. of course, or probably in any other place in the world. But when spaces that are meant to be public (not the hotel, but more the beach for example), become very very private, it just seems so unfair to me. And maybe this isn't important. But, I can't get over the fact that in someone else's country, we can enjoy things that people who live here never ever get to enjoy. Un-equalness is hard to digest, especially when you are an active part of it. But, what happens when you are trying not to be a part of it and can't get out? It makes you very very uncomfortable....and then, what to do with that?

I am stuck on this thought for the time being but happy thoughts to look forward to this week with the production of my report, plans for the next 3 weeks of the new study, and many celebrations of food this week before I set off to the upper regions...lots of good thoughts from me to you.....


Blogger pragzz said...

Hey, you've just hit on something that bothers me so much too. This ex-pat community that is so elitist. They are mostly in the development field which is just SO ironic (except for the South Africans who are just there to blatantly exploit). I got really annoyed with the same thing as well. And I was annoyed with the government (the poster child of the WB) for not standing up and doing something about it. Anyways, I should shut it too...who knows I might become one of those awful individuals. And if I do, come kick my @$$..

12:43 PM  
Blogger Aparna said...

Thanks Pragzz!! Its so hard and it makes no sense, but its the "system" right. How do we change it? And I feel like its been talked about so many times, its just that I never thought I'd be thinking of myself inside of it!!

9:51 PM  
Anonymous Victoria Tai said...

Hey, so, I bet you didn't know that UCLA researchers found a strong biological link between "Happiness" and "Fairness" and your brain is wired to experience "moral disgust."


9:24 AM  

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