The argentinian corralito from Mozambique

Hardly knowing about the reality of Argentina in the end of 2001, I thought that, as any Mozambiquean person, I had to wait that local banks free money in the automatic cash dispensers of the city. But, unfortunately, I was wrong…

KM 15,088

When I got to the frontier of Mozambique, I was overcome by a very strong feeling.
Something I could describe as a mixture of conquest, curiosity and respect.

I felt I started a new stage in my travel, and then I looked back and saw all the time and the effort I had invested in the arrangements to reach there. I remembered how many obstacles I had had to overcome, especially in Argentina: a society that was already foreseeing the crisis when I left, and where a lot of people, as a way of surviving, practiced the slogan “every man for himself !!“. Sometimes I felt like mad looking for support for a dream that seemed very incompatible with the reality of the place and the time where I was. But, at last I was in Africa, joining frontiers and on my own.

I entered the continent through South Africa. In spite of knowing very little about this nation, I quickly understood that its reality didn’t agree with the rest of Africa.


That´s why when I entered Mozambique and arrived in the first town, Moamba, where I spent the night, my heart almost stopped: the contrast with what I had seen till then was enormous. I knew I was entering the real Africa, as I was being warned.

Cholera, malaria and aids, the extreme poverty and the after-effects of many wars were in front of my eyes. And I was scared, and full of doubts, and I took my time to assimilate that reality, so different from all what I had known.

Looking for sponsors

When I arrived in Maputo, capital city of Mozambique, I was surprised by loads of garbage I found on the edges of the streets, they were “mountains” I was told had been there for more than 4 months. The cause: a dispute between the government and the garbage collectors that didn’t resolve.

I was also surprised by the great number of people that had some mutilated extremity, their legs, generally. This is one of the most painful after-effects of the civil war there was in this country till the beginning of the 90’s. As I was travelling to the interior, I could see this images more often every time, because all the territory was mined at that time.

In Mozambique there are remains of the communist revolution of 1975, yet.
In its capital city, the most important streets still have the names of the great men and ideologists to whom the revolution paid tribute. Samora Machel, commander, leader of the revolutionary movement in the country; Vladimir Lenin, Salvador Allende, and the ideologists Karl Marx and Frederic Engels are commemorated by the main avenues.

Maputo is a city that has more than one million of people. Its center is divided in up and downtown. There I found a certain movement of tourists that went to the north, the beach area. At once, after my arrival, I was affected by the famous argentine “corralito” that didn’t allow me to retire the money that my sponsors had given to me in my country.

Hardly knowing about the reality of Argentina in the end of 2001, I thought that, as any Mozambiquean person, I had to wait that local banks free money in the automatic cash dispensers of the city. Then I began to borrow some money from any person I knew so I could get something to eat.

When I was informed about the economical and political crisis of Argentina, several days had passed, and my creditors had increased as much as my uncertainty.

I began to think that everything was over. But suddenly I was lucky, and by means of an acquaintance of mine I got to the office of the director of the Mozambiquean petrol industry: Petromoc. This contact, the good local press I had and, of course, my insistence, gave me the chance to get my first sponsor.

After several days in Maputo I could get another three sponsors. While in Argentina, the government put me (and all my compatriots) off going on by appropriating my savings and changing my dollars compulsorily into devaluated argentine pesos, this time Mozambiquean firms were encouraging my dream.

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