A Vida E So Uma: MOZAMBIQUE and the SPIRIT of LIFE

When I was in Mozambique (Kenya, Malawi and South Africa), I think two years back now, I went to this little clubhouse kind of place where kids meet to talk about topics of the day, and for community. They also gathered to become more aware of the truths and falsehoods about HIV/AIDS—whose treatment in Mozambique, despite the efforts of many great people, was minimal in terms of reaching the infected population.

For example, for a multitude of reasons—access, education, poverty, infrastructure etc—at the time only 2 or 3% of pregnant women were taking the relatively simple access drugs during delivery (let alone the rest of the time) to help prevent the spread of the virus to the newborn child. We talk about this in Hope In The Time of AIDS (actually, not in this excerpt—but a few of the tragic statistics are here).

Anyway, these wonderful kids at the clubhouse in Mozambique (Moputo) had a guitar and I borrowed it and in this hot little room just started playing.

The resulting music is on film but I don’t have the footage, unfortunately. One day. But the kids, maybe a dozen of them, just started singing along, ad lib counterpoint, and I made up a song on the spot called My First Day In Mozambique. It was rhythmic and sweet, and the experience wildly inspiring and fun. One day, when I find it, I will post it.

Then two of the boys took the guitar (they were about 17 or 18, I think) and sang, which was also filmed. I always wanted to make a video out of it, but I haven’t had easy access to the film. But I do have a recording of it, which I will post here. It was sang with great love and passion—even though the guitar wouldn’t stay in tune! They were amazing—as humans so often are—and I don’t even know their names.

But here’s an mp3 of their beautiful song. The lead singer wrote it. One day, hopefully, there will be a video of them playing, to accompany it. The joy will be clear.

Here are the lyrics in the Portugese original:

A vida é só uma

A vida é só ma
A vida irmãos é só uma
A vida é só uma
Vamos viver a vida
Porque a vida é só uma
Quando ela escorrega não se apanha

Irmãos Moçambicanos dêem as mãos
Sejamos um por todos e todos por um
Unidos ao mundo inteiro seremos fortes
P’ra juntos combatermos o inimigo
SIDA você não tem chance
SIDA connosco não podes


Vamos viver com jeito
Nós amarmos com jeito
Porque a vida é muito bela
Porque a vida é só uma

And in English:


We only live once

We only live once
Brothers, we only live once
We only live once
Let’s live our life
Because we only live once
If you miss out on life there is no second chance

Mozambican brothers, let’s hold hands
One for all, all for one
United with the world we will be strong
Together we will fight the enemy
AIDS, you have no chance
AIDS, against us you can’t win


Let’s live with care
Let’s love with care
Because life is beautiful
Because we only live once

Lots of love to them, and you, and joy, kindness and compassion,

Pete xox

And just because I like to post it, and it reminds me of the wonder of being alive, Wide Open.


2 Responses to “A Vida E So Uma: MOZAMBIQUE and the SPIRIT of LIFE”

  1. Tim says:

    Oh. My. Krishna. That was freaking beautiful Pete. Thanks for posting this you made my night. Here’s to more frequent posting from you now that your pugilism period is wrapping up.

    Sounds like you got Pro Tools working again buddy, nice job!

    …and let’s get that footage!

  2. You rock, Tim. Yeah, ain’t that beautiful? I love that it made your night. It would be even more beautiful seeing their joy, visually…aah, life, though. This mystery we are…The pugilism period continues, but right now it’s music and sound. I can’t wait until you get to see the film. I think you’ll dig it. Petexoxox

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