Two weeks ago days ago I celebrated my first six months in Beira. I say, in Beira, I was actually in South Africa on that day. I have spent twenty-three days of the last month on South African soil. This time away from Beira has been good for me for various reasons including seeing my family and friends, however the overwhelming reason it was good for me, was simply because it meant I was not in Beira.
When I accepted this posting in Beira I was full of excitement and hope which new beginnings usually provide. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy as I had left a project in Libya in really enjoyed; I was part of a good team with people who became more than just colleagues; I was enjoying life in Libya, despite the difficulties of living in the country. I knew I would be difficult starting from scratch, but I always accept new challenges with an open mind.
Initially, things looked good. I liked the feel of the city and the weather. My initial posts were very positive. I was enjoying it here. As in any jobs it takes a while to get to grips with the work itself and was only when I did that I realised that things weren’t as rosy as I thought. Below is little timeline of my post about living in Beira, with the smileys showing that I went from very happy to ambivalent in four months (with periods of unhappiness in between).
One Month: One month in the Land of Smiles
Two Months: 60 Days later… A Beira da tristeza?
Four Months: 120 Days: A Beira* da Normalidade?
The one way road to Hate
The factor responsible for this decay in happy thoughts towards Beira is solely the job here. This blog has never been platform for me to talk about work and that won’t change, however not since I started this blog has work had such effect on my expat life. Why has it had such an impact? Well unlike Libya, I don’t have the distraction of a good support network and colleagues to alleviate the stresses of this job.
The lack of this support network has definitely not helped with regards to being away from Raquel as here I spent much more of free time thinking about Raquel, than I did in Libya. As I don’t really have a social life here and no real friends to speak of, all my free time is spent either talking to Raquel or waiting to talk to Raquel. Yes, I’ve become anti-social.
The final thing about this job which is also having a negative effect is that I simply don’t have the time or energy to explore Mozambique the same way I did with Libya, which is a pity as Mozambique is blessed with some beautiful beaches. I can always say that I will make time for this, but knowing life, things change unexpectedly and you never know for how long you will be based in country.
The scenic road to Love
This feeling of ‘hate’ is only with this respect to the project. Beira itself has been a fantastic. As I’ve said several times, it’s a small city which in no way is a “heaving f*cking hole” as many other developing African cities. It chilled out, the weather is great and living right by the beach has been fantastic. Waking up to waves crashing onto the beach is one of the highlights of my Beira experience.
Once again I have to say something positive to say about Mozambicans. They are extra-ordinarily friendly and a very accepting nation (the ones I’ve had the pleasure of dealing with). Unlike places like Angola where there is some ‘issues’ that locals have with foreigners, here I have never felt any animosity from Mozambicans towards the expat community.
There was another big plus to life in Beira is that I’ve finally the side of my company which initially attracted me to them: Community care and social development. The company is well known in Latin America for it’s socio-economic development programmes, so it was nice to finally see some of these principles in action. My first contact with these programmes was IT literacy project for youth in Beira. We had four classed of twenty children in which offered basic IT lessons. It was a short (two months) but successful programme which had very positive results. I especially enjoyed the classes and being able to transfer knowledge to eager minds.
Another very humbling event was a visit to an orphanage, which I posted about in my photo of the week post for last week. It was truly an experience that made me value even more what I have in this life and it also made me even more determined to consider adoption one day.
These six months have been a rollercoaster ride and even though things haven’t always been rosy, I have still enjoyed this move for other reasons, which is why I chose Def Lepards song as the title of the post. This has been a very valuable experience thus far and one with a positive future if various things go according to plan, so here’s to a better six months.