There are days when I really wish I had a car. Like this morning when I was supposed to meet a colleague outside the office at 7:30 to take a chapa to Macarungo to visit a school. And it was pouring rain. Pouring! Pounding on the roof, soaking our laundry hanging on the veranda, creating rivers in the road.
I would have liked a car today when I couldn’t get ahold of my colleague by phone and imagined he was already on a chapa heading to work, and I didn’t want to be a spoiled foreigner who can’t take a chapa or walk in the rain. So I put my raincoat on over my backpack, grabbed my compact travel umbrella, which is pretty worthless for keeping anything but my head dry, and off I went.
By the time I walked the two blocks to the main road, my denim skirt was already half soaked, and I had waded through several spots on the side road where the water was well past my ankles. Plus I was the only idiot, apparently, out waiting for a chapa.
I stood in that pouring rain watching and feeling my skirt get wetter and wetter, and then feeling is soak through my underwear as well. Surely I couldn’t meet with a school director in that state anyway.
Chapa after chapa for Estoril drove by but not one that I needed for Ponta Gea. After about 20 minutes, wondering how many people would hate me climbing over them on a chapa with my dripping umbrella, jacket, backpack, and clothes, one for Ponta Gea finally did stop. Fortunately, I didn’t have to climb over too many people, but somehow I managed to sit in the seat beneath the leak in the roof. “Rain outside and rain inside,” I told the woman beside me.
So I finally arrived, dripping, at 8:08 with no colleague in sight. I saw on my phone that he had tried to call just minutes earlier. When I called him back he said, “I’m at home. There’s too much rain.” Yes, yes, there is. If I had a car, I’d be at the office dry. If I had any Mozambican sense, I’d be at home dry.