From London Airport to Mozambique Village

By Karoline de Gier
“At London airport I really feel like a hick country girl from Alberta. The rushing European travellers look like they just walked out of Vogue magazine. Women are in their short skirts, high boots and trendy scarves. Men wear their fitted pants and ironed shirts under heads of gelled hair. Duty free flashes: perfumes, a good deal on a bottle of alcohol, souvenirs and postcards of the London Eye. People are rushing to catch the next plane after using the bathroom with an automatic toilet flush and warm air that blasts your skin dry after a good wash.

In a Mozambique village I really don’t feel like a hick girl from Alberta. There I feel like more of a celebrity; a type of princess – with fair skin and fancy shoes. The Mozambican people look like they’ve just stepped out of a TV documentary. Except now they’re real people standing directly in front of your face. The dress code is flip flops and a baggy t-shirt that should have been washed out last week. Body odor is the predominant smell. Skin is not so smooth; scabies and fungal infections are clearly visible on children’s skin. There are no bathrooms in sight – not the kind we know anyway. Just a lot of dirt, dust, heat and sweat.

London Airport and a Mozambican Village – worlds apart in every way…

But underneath gelled hair and scabies

fancy boots and flip flops

perfume and body odor

ironed shirts and baggy T-shirts

lives the same beauty and dreams.”

Karoline is a nurse currently serving on a six week short term trip in Mozambique where she is participating in several of the mission’s programs.