This is the first of a Wanderlust series.
In September, I embarked on a six-week trip to Angola, Germany and Spain. I spent two weeks in each with no purpose other than to experience these new places before I entered the real working world. During the trip I blogged about my travels and the people I met. I also came up with five generic questions, printed them on a business card and asked participants to pick three and answer them on camera. Why? To see how people from such different walks of life would answer the same questions. If the people I interviewed are any indication, despite our cultural differences, we're all very much alike.
The flight to Angola's capital city Luanda took 20 hours. Due to the oil and gas industry, the city is mostly populated by locals and expats, including my sister and brother-in-law. But it isn't really a place for tourists. It's rife with poverty, corruption and poor infrastructure due to the civil war that ended in 2002.
Francisco was one of the drivers that worked for my sister and brother-in-law, as they couldn't drive for safety reasons. He was the first Angolan I met, and he was one of the only locals I knew who spoke English. Despite being a little late for every shift, he took pride in his job. He regularly washed the car, never complained about the traffic and was always in full uniform. In his off time, Francisco read a Portuguese-English dictionary and wrote in his notebook.
Before he took me back to the airport, I asked Francisco if he would answer a few questions. Without hesitation he said he would, so we sat on my sister’s back patio and he answered my questions. I'm not sure he fully understood me since he answered all five of them. He was open and honest, and his answers were both heart-breaking and inspiring. He and I talked often during my two week stay in Luanda, but I never expected what came out of the interview. Watch it in the clip above, or read it below:
What does love mean to you, and when have you felt it?
For me love means everything, I mean, without love no life. For me love is life. I feel when I was 15 because I lost my father here in life, it was about 33 years ago, he was sick and after all he died. Since that time until now, my life feels empty because I didn’t receive any love from him.
What is your biggest fear in life?
My big fear in life is to be lonely because in life you need to stay with someone. Maybe with your friend, wife. Stay alone is over for me.
What are you most passionate about?
My biggest passion is knowing anywhere, perhaps another place. I go to England, United States because it is an industry country and you can find everything. I myself didn’t travel to anywhere unless going to Namibia, South Africa for me. But I’m pretty sure it would be nice for me knowing for instance, United States.
What is the hardest part about growing up?
In Africa it’s difficult to grow up and be old because of the world and other things we can find difficultness, is the way of learning, the government even president, sometimes the way of ruling is not good. For me it is really hard to try to save your life, try to work, find a job, studying for yourself, it is really really difficult in Africa. At least for Angola. because corruption is everywhere. You can find difficultness to survive.
If you could choose how and where you die, what would you choose and why?
My land. Because I was born in Malanje province—it’s a Palanca Negra province. It would be nice because my father was buried there so, for me I choose to stay there in maybe, in my old age. Why? Because my parents, even my mom, she still lives there. It would be nice for me, yeah it would be nice for me.