Thursday, April 1, 2010

On The Streets of Luanda

"It is the voyage not the ship that matters" 
                                                        Angolan Proverb
Luanda, Angola 4

Last February, I had the good fortune to travel Luanda, Angola. Although it was a short business trip, I was happy I went. 

This photo was taken on a few block's walk between my two work locations in Luanda. It was one of the rare opportunities to walk on the street because my employer required all employees, especially visitors, not to travel between location without a car and local driver, even if it was for a short distance. Two co-workers and I were walking rapidly when I spotted these two ladies. I tried to slow down to take a picture, but my friends were walking a few steps in front of me and I did not want to be left behind. Especially since I did not know which turn to take after that. All of us turned the corner, and these two ladies started crossing the street while my friends were getting ready to enter the building on that corner. I thought I'd lost my chance. Suddenly, one of my colleagues stopped and turned sideways to take a picture with his phone, and this gave me enough time to snap this photo. 

On the streets of Luanda, you see a lot of these women, wearing vivid colors and selling the best fresh fruit that you can buy. Better and fresher than any supermarket in Luanda. It was shocking to learn later that selling fruits on the street is actually against the law in Angola. Police "raid" the street vendors, who typically run away before they can be arrested.  The police then confiscate as much produce as they can carry, and then smash the remainders on the ground so the vendors can no longer sell it.

One of the most surprising facts I learned on my trip was this. Quoting from Wikipedia: "Luanda (Angola)is the world's most expensive city, ahead of several Japanese & European cities. Around one-third of Angolans live in Luanda, 57% of whom live in poverty. Living conditions in Luanda are extremely poor, with essential services, such as safe drinking water are still in short supply".

Let’s count our blessings, shall we?

Special thanks to Gretchen for her input and feedback

1 comment:

  1. Beautiful picture - capturing a daily moment...


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