The flower that the general sowed - Plataforma Media

The flower that the general sowed

José Kaliengue, Director of newspaper OPAIS

When I saw that she was calling me on the phone, I immediately thought of a sea of ​​difficulties, I remembered the last time I saw her, I remembered the last time we spoke, then on the phone. Our last conversation had broken my heart.

On our last meeting, I treated her as Amélie Poulain, she never saw the film, I told her a little bit. It was at her house. Of clay and covered with potholes.

I met Amelia on a special night, on the eve of her return to her homeland, Cuito, the capital of the Angolan province of Bié. I met her through her new father, General Traça and his new older sister, Henda.

Amélia had spent six years outside Angola, in Coimbra, Portugal. She was returning for the first time, definitely until now. She came back reborn, transformed, with her new Portuguese accent and stories to tell. The skills she had learned and that would serve for her to move on in life.

In the morning after that night, we boarded a plane and went on to meet him again.

Amélia and Cuito could not have combined better in that 2006 Cacimbo, the marks of the war were evident. The city without a single wall that hadn’t been mortally kissed by a bullet, a mortar, whatever. It was a painted picture of bleeding pain in peacetime. The faces of the people had invented the original sadness, the conversations were sparse, almost inaudible, the eyes were hidden in the depths of souls that were also not there, there were only fragments, spiritual shards.

That’s what I heard from the girl who lost both legs at the age of nine in a war she will never understand

Amelia also had her marks, a confident smile from those who can only spring from the innocence of a child rescued from war and in whom someone sowed the notion of being, a light that is called hope, whose switch is called love. It was what the general had done, it was what the families he had won in Portugal had done. And he also had two prostheses, his two new legs.

Everything about her was new: a new father, a new older sister; a city in rubble that he left at the age of nine and that entered him new through his eyes and heart for the first time, because he had no memory of her in her childhood on the outskirts. And I missed him immensely, he said, of his new coimbrã land.

“When you pass through Cuito, don’t forget Amélia, look for her, buy her a new phone”, her new older sister, Henda, recommended me for years. In 2016 I discovered her in a neighborhood just outside the city, she had two children. Other girls lived in the neighborhood who had also left for Portugal or Germany to be treated, had also had mines to change their destiny, or to make their destiny.

At nine, an antipersonnel mine stole Amelia’s two legs, but not her heart and ability to love. She was now a mother. Single. Two arms, two children, but without both legs. No formal job, but with a stall at the neighborhood market to sell whatever came up.

Months later she called her new older sister, Amélia was distressed because Hendita was sick, yes, one of Amélia’s children is the namesake of the new sister who taught her to make a living too. We moved phone lines with contacts from doctors and contacts from contacts, we were lucky and they were well attended.

Then, when I saw your name on the phone display, with the country in a state of confinement, in an economic crisis for years, I remembered that it had been missing for more than a long time. Naturally, we would talk about difficulties, naturally, we would have to see how to help her. “I called you to see how you are doing and to tell you that Hendita is big, bro. We haven’t talked in a long time ”. That’s what I heard from the girl who lost both legs at the age of nine in a war she will never understand, from the mutilated woman who is a single mother and the love of a general taught her to believe in life, in people and to love a new one. older mana in the daughter he generated. A general was not supposed to sowflowers.

*Journalist and Director of the newspaper O País in Angola

Este artigo está disponível em: Português

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