On First Impressions

First impressions are not
necessarily reliable.

Writing about my first impression upon returning to Maputo after several years absence, I posted that things don’t look as if they’ve changed. Well, writing about first impressions can be a mistake.

In fact, much has changed. I listened to United Methodist Bishop Machado of Mozambique brief an episcopal delegation preparing to call on the President of Mozambique. He spoke of hospitals receiving beds and materials in the countryside, and schools being supported by the government. His on-the-ground perspective is a judgment I respect and value. As the episcopal leader of the church in Mozambique he is in position to raise issues to levels of government where they are heard, so his assessment is much more valuable than any outside impression.

Today is an historic day in the country. A major hydroelectric dam is being handed over to the government of Mozambique from Portuguese operators, a sign of considerable progress on many fronts.

So I’m glad I was mistaken. And I’m even happier that Mozambique’s leaders are addressing issues that will make for higher quality of life for the people of this country. They’ve been through the furnace of war and the vast majority live now under conditions of poverty that are stifling to the extreme. The government needs all the recognition it deserves when it does things that make life better. And it doesn’t need superficial critique from folks like me from outside who don’t struggle with these conditions daily. So I’m contrite and wiser.

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