The other day a colleague and I went to see part of the railway line which is part of our project. Several communities live along this railway line and at any time of the day you will see children playing along side it. The day we were there it was no different as the line was ´littered´ with the usual kids playing along there.
Now, usually when children in Mozambique see white folk (in the city) they ask for money (though there have been exceptions). However here, in the slightly more rural setting we were in, it was slightly different. As we passed the kids, they started saying “Shokolatchi! Shokolatchi!”. The kids were clearly from a very poor background; They were covered in dirt and mud (no doubt from a hardcore day of playing!), however when they saw us, they were smiling and playing up to the camera and all they wanted was chocolate, which we didn’t have on us.
So they posed and goofed around in front of camera while I took some photos. As always kids love to see themselves on camera or on film, so when I showed them the picture, they giggled wildly and started teasing each other! The thing that stood out was that they not once asked for money… only chocolate. It reminded me very much how simple (and hard) life can be for kids in these areas in cities and reminds me very much of the poverty that is very visible here in Mozambique.
Within Beira’s centre you will see many children begging and scavanging for things in bins… Which is why is surprised me that the kids merely wanted chocolate. Though I did have an exception on day in town. I was in the car waiting for my driver and eating some biltong I’d just bought from the butcher when a kid came up to the car and asked me what I was eating. I told him it was meat and he in turn asked if he could have some… That moment heart felt for the kid and I gave him a bag of biltong. He smiled, said ‘Obrigado chefe!’ (Thank you boss), gave me a thumbs up and walked away eating his biltong…