Last night I spent a wonderful day with Wayne Mudekwa and the good people of the Port Selao Standard. The office is small but inviting. The front room holds all eight employees crammed together, desks jammed side by side. Even Wayne’s space is squeezed tight in a corner of the office. The back room is a windowless space that holds the printing presses. I was impressed by the team’s ability to manage such a large circulation (50,000) from this little office. Wayne has assembled a strong team of believers. They’re invested in the good work they’re doing and hold dearly their role as the voice of a nation in this time of crisis.
I was invited to Wayne’s home to spend dinner with his family. I can’t begin to tell you the joy that filled my heart…and my stomach. For the past 3 weeks, I’ve survived on the drab offerings of the local cafés. But nothing can replace the comfort of a home-cooked meal.
And of course, Wayne’s family was a joy. His wife, Adela, and his two boys Jason and Thomas, share that ‘joie de vivre’ Wayne embraces. It was the most relaxed I’ve felt since I arrived in the country. All the horrors of the outside world seemed banished from their home.
I confessed to Adela that I was surprised to see her and the boys still here. She said that in fact they were packed and ready to leave the country in two days. A trusted friend was due to escort them through the mountains across the border. Wayne was noticeably saddened by this prospect, but he’s a wise man. Later as he and I shared a cigar on his porch, he told me, “Our country is in chains, and the Standard is a weapon against those chains. If we’re to wield this weapon freely, we must know our families are safe.”
I asked about the risks to his own life but he seemed truly taken aback, “My life? Look through the archives. Great men and women have given their lives in service of this country. Like you, I’m here to stand witness to the horrors. I don’t want to die, but the cost of abandoning my duty is too great.”