When less is more, sometimes it really is still less
The last few days have been good, even beyond Mozambique standards. Part of living here means learning to take pleasure in little things. Often, the major issues are just so massive that they are paralyzing, and frankly a little depressing. My long lost packages actually arrived last week, bringing me my much beloved and missed movies. (Hey, living alone without a TV and furniture is a little rough!) And I am not ashamed to say that I did a little of a happy dance when I brought them home. I am also going home for the holidays, so I will get to see family and friends. I also get to not cook for myself for a little while 🙂 Today, I even bought a blender after having a nice conversation with my doorman.
So this afternoon, I felt pretty good about how the week started off. This is until I resumed my daily battle with He Who Shall Not Be Named aka my landlord over repairs that still need to be made in my apartment. I futilely called him this morning and send a text message. This afternoon I texted both him and the owner of the apartment. She seems to be the only person concerned with how things are going. Her heart is in the right place, but it’s a shame she can’t get the landlord to do anything of substance. This afternoon, he actually responded and sent over two of this men to pick up some of the bills from before I moved in. And then they dropped the bomb that I knew in the back of my mind was coming.
The repairs will not be made because there is no money left and apparently, the water heater problem is actually in the walls as well. What seems to be a minor leak is symptomatic of a major plumbing problem. I have three options: I can live here and do nothing; I can pay for the repairs myself; or I can break the lease and find another apartment. My first thought was that the lack of money bit was so he can get rid of me. By either doing the repairs or moving, he can stop the daily phone calls from me. And even now, I am sure that is the case. Knowing how little he has actually done in contrast to the several things that he is contractually bound to complete in the apartment gives me no incentive to stay here. I also don’t want to deal with plumbers and handymen to break into the walls to find where all the problems are coming from. Therefore, I think I may move when I come back in January.
The prospect of never having to speak to my landlord again is appealing, because he is by far the rudest and most conniving person that I have met since I have been here. However, this joy has been replaced by a little anxiety at the prospect of apartment hunting again. Having the ability to get out of my lease is a mixed blessing. It is difficult to find reasonably priced apartments in this area and most prefer that you sign year-long leases.
At least I have a little experience on my side with having a better idea of what to expect and what to demand. Getting anything here accomplished requires a directness that does not come naturally to me, but I am quickly catching on. I guess that I should have realized that any country that has police officers carry Kalashnikov rifles as a daily sidearm would engage in more direct conversation and negotiation.