I should probably preface this post by saying that this DOES NOT apply to all of Africa, but it is applicable to lots of Africa, especially cities, and we live in the capital of our country. Maputo, Mozambique is by far one of the least progressive capitals in all of Africa, so city life in Nairobi, Kenya or Ciaro, Egypt would be an even bigger eye opener if you still imagine the giant continent of Africa as a place of spears and tribal drums. It's a new day, a different world, and this will hopefully help you imagine our life with more ease.
So, here it is: 3 Things My One Year Old Does That Will Change Your Perception of Africa. (And, I should add, these are things I didn't think my one year old would learn/experience.)
One: Cedar says, "guard." He has seen and met so many guards that it ended up being one of his first words. Never would I have imagined that hearing my innocent babe toddling around saying "guard" would feel so normal, but here in Maputo and in most cities across Africa, guards are very common. Forget the image of a sweet neighbor gardening outside his hut. You are more likely to see a man in uniform with some sort of night stick or gun.
Two: When mini-Matt hears a car alarm he immediately yells, "BIRD!!!" I know, car alarms and birds... sound just alike right?? Listen, my kid isn't dumb, he is just confused because he actually hears more car alarms go off in a day than birds sweetly singing. Trust me, you folks in Arkansas are hearing more "tweet, tweets," than we are. Also, I hate car alarms at 3 a.m. Welcome to modern day life in Africa.
Three: Cedar hates the feel of grass under his feet. Hates it. Give the kid sand or pavement and he's a happy camper, but walking on grass... he looks like a cat in a room full of marbles. It's pretty hilarious. I laugh. A lot. Here in Maputo you rarely see grass. It's not the stereotypical image of Africa most people have in their heads: It's a concrete jungle.
Can you see our world a little more clearly now? We often struggle to paint a picture of our city, so I will be back with more "Cedar views." (See what I did there? It's like "sea views," but only not at all. SO you don't get it. Ok, you're right. I'm lame. We can exit the parentheses...wait I had to google how to spell parentheses.) This is our piece of Africa. I pray you fall in love with it and all it's interesting modernizations just like we have.
I would love to hear any questions you have about our life here. Ask away in the comments. If you have visited or lived in Africa, what surprised you most?