“It’s a human right to have a smallholding!” Teresa doesn’t doubt that the right to have a piece of land on which to grow should form part of one of the 30 Articles in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. The document, adopted by the United Nations in 1948, says that every human being should have access “to a standard of living adequate for the health and well-being of himself and of his family, including food, clothing, housing and medical care [...]”. But Berta, Teresa and Arminda can’t imagine how this can be possible without first guaranteeing the ground from which everything else can be obtained: “The Land Law was created so that Mozambicans could exploit their own lands and now we are going hungry. Before, we ate four meals a day - mata-bicho [breakfast], lunch, afternoon snack and dinner, but now we can’t. We are wasting away,” they complain.
Berta believes that the antidote to break with the “curse” that fell on Ruace is within Mozambique, at the hands of the President Filipe Nyusi, rather than in universal solutions, or in faraway voices: “If he were closer, we could go on foot. We would sleep on the way until we got there, to where our President is. That way, we could tell him what is happening, what we have seen, what we are feeling.”