Traveling through the endless undulation of Mozambique’s east coast we finally came upon a town called Xai-Xai (shy-shy). It was considerably bigger than the hamlets we had past through over night and through the morning. It had fuel and some more elaborate informal street trading that offered fan belts and long life milk under one small tin roof. One of the larger stalls with walls, had a single railway track running from one wall to the other. Behind the small counter ran the other. It seemed the stall had been built on top of an old line. I followed it out and to no surprise it continued out from under the wall and into the open marshlands. About a half mile off one could see the old water filling station for steam locomotives. Knowing there to be land mines left from the civil war I was sure to stay on top of the line as I walked toward it. A further distance on from the water filler there was what looked like an old warehouse. Inside the warehouse I found over a thousand teak sleepers under wafer thin canvas. Just touching it it crumbled. The locomotives were rusted. Tools of the yard lay strewn everywhere as if one minute it were laboring with the heavy steel and the next to have vanished. It all slept in dust. Slabs of sunlight fell through the broken roof. It was a treasure chest.
Original Oil on Canvas