Instead of writing a lot about my weekend, I’m going to direct you to Brooke’s post because she was there through it all and writes far better than I do. But here is my brief description:
According to anyone else’s perception, there was nothing beautiful about the weekend. And yet sometime between 10:00 and 11:00 on Saturday night, sometime between dashing from the car to the stadium entrance in pouring rain and peeing in the horror-movie bathroom with policemen peering in through the windows, sometime between the coffee and the Coke to keep me awake for the mythical Oliver Mtukudzi’s appearance, sometime in between all of that, as I sat on the cement step, watching the rain come down on the very sad-looking football stadium that was probably beautiful when it was built in 1924, in the dark and sketchy neighborhood near the port, and watching the final set-up of the sound system on the wooden platform under the tent down on the field for the concert that was advertised to start at 8:00, I turned to Brooke and said, “I am so happy right now.” In that moment, surrounded by the cement block ugliness of Beira, wondering why any singing sensation would show up in such weather to entertain a “crowd” of about 50 rain-dampened fans, I felt strangely content. It’s a feeling I haven’t experienced in a very long time, and there was no rhyme or reason to why I should suddenly feel it then, except I did. Maybe because I saw Beira or Mozambique or Africa clearly in that moment, in all its imperfection. Maybe because I stepped back and saw myself sitting comfortably on that cement step, laughing, feeling at ease and even enjoying the imperfection. Maybe it was simply because I was out late for a change, doing something different on a Saturday night. Maybe it was because I was there with Brooke, who was also loving the moment. Maybe it was because where else do I get to hang out with crazy Zimbabweans who laugh far more than Mozambicans, even though they have little reason to. Maybe it was because I saw how absurd it all was. And I was fully present in that absurd moment.