Saturday, July 31, 2010

Turning Lager into Water

As I sat interpreting the life of this man and his son, I sipped on the cold beer that I had just purchased at the dilapidated stand in what posed as a village square. A beautiful old hotel was the backdrop for my setting, but it had been abandoned long ago. It seemed just like so many other  aspects of Mozambique. All forgotten to the world.
The cold amber liquid poured down my hot throat, quenching the fire that simmered there. The beer was a luxury that I had allowed myself on this scorching day, as we lazed beside the ocean. I sipped at it, then returned to the writing in my journal. A shadow fell across the beach in front of me and I looked up to spy the man that was gracing the pages of my writing again. He had returned from delivering the fish we had offered him home. Now his gestures told me of another want. He had a thirst as well. I handed him the bottle expecting him to take a long pull at the contents. I was mistaken.
I sat up, perturbed at his retreating figure. He had walked away! He had taken my almost full beer and departed.   I had been willing to share, but still wanted more of the lager that had only begun to quench my thirst. With a sigh, I acquiesced that perhaps it was a luxury that he needed more. Something that he did not often get a chance to afford or enjoy. I chalked it down to a lesson learned that in this land, perhaps when you gave something to someone they kept it until they have had enough, then they too pass it on. Different lands hold different cultures.
Before I had a chance to think much beyond the incidence that had just occurred, I spied the man coming back again. To my surprise and delight, he carried with him a pail of water. It was a pail of fresh, clean drinkable water. He was returning the favor that I had offered to him, unbeknownst to myself. One good turn deserves another. As we were not camping in anything akin to a formal campground, we had to walk down to the village square to get our water at a communal tap like anyone else. It was a good sized walk and alien activity to our foreign ways. This man’s gift of water was worth much more than the humble beer that I had shared with him. My soul was uplifted by his simple act of sharing and kindness that I had not expected. I felt small in his presence of generousity, but awed by the beauty of it. Here was a spirit of sharing and community. Items were freely shared amongst the people and it was an understood thing amongst everyone. The beauty of Mozambique lifted to the top of my destinations in this simple, yet unforgettable moment. I was in love.


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