The continuation of Alice Pettway's chronicle of her service in the Peace Corps in Mozambique. For previous installments, click here.
The questions of children never fail to reach to the center of things. I realized this anew sitting at my table answering the letters of a friend’s eighth-grade science class. “Are people in Africa poor,” one student asked. I paused. The answer that seemed obvious to me as I wrote by lamplight in the sweltering heat of December was yes, people in Mozambique are incredibly poor. But then I reconsidered.
Yes, it is undeniable that the vast majority of people in Mozambique live in what we, as Americans, would consider poverty. There are many people here who cannot procure enough food for their families. There are many more people who, like my husband and me, live without electricity or running water, who do not own a refrigerator or a television. Here I hesitate, fearing I will sound like the naïve idealist, finding good where there is none. But, I feel compelled to write it anyway: There are many ways I can think of in which Mozambicans are wealthier than Americans.