Poverty is everywhere. In some states is more hidden than in other states, but we can’t really escape poverty. For example, when we think of the United States and Mexico, we automatically think of the United States being more safe and a better political structure. We think of having to follow the law and just having a better life in general. When thinking about Mexico, we often think of freedom, corruption, exploitation, and being able to get away with things that we wouldn’t really be able to in this country. The more unstable a country is, the more poverty and corruption there will be due to not having a balance of order, which is exactly what Fiston Mwanza Mujila talks about in his novel Tram 83. Mujila talks about Democratic Republic of Congo, and explains the how the political system works. The message is not only about Congo, but how all Africa is seen and the reasons why. Mujila uses Tram 83 to portray a form of neocolonialism and how exploitation happen all over Africa.
The novel focuses on the lives of two men, Lucien and Requiem. They both try to survive City-State, a very dysfunctional non-working nation, “the City-State was written by her gigolos, her baby-chicks, her diggers, her four-star whorehouses, her dissident rebels ready to imprison you, her prospectors, her semi-tourists” (96). Throughout the text, we see how there’s a lack of jobs, prostitution, no order whatsoever, but even the, Lucien and Requiem deal with life in Congo differently. Life in a dysfunctional nation is dealt differently by people. For females, some seek prostitution and more males, some seek robbery, sale of drugs, crime, etc. That creates chaos, and the only thing that belonged to the residents was the Tram. The only place where they can escape reality and find what they needed for the moment.
“As soon as the announcement of the Tram’s destruction was heard, the inhabitants of the City-State headed for Tram 83. For Several reasons, of course: some ––”Do you have the time?” ––to lure potential clients, others to protest against the prohibition on excavating, still others to block the imminent destruction of Tram 83, for the Tram was the only thing that was really belonged to them” (206).
It’s not easy to leave behind the life you’ve adjusted to, but when the life you live isn’t safe, it’s important to take action and try to change the life you live, “the iron road appall me, the disgust you feel after having gone with a baby-chick who explains during the act that she is in this no man’s land of existance because her life equates to the fifteenth commandment: you will eat by the sweat of your thighs––sta horny and persevere!” (153). The reality of life is that, if one doens’t have an education and/or a stable job, they won’t leave the life they are living. Having an unstable world is not only about having an unstable governance, but it also means an unstable indivdual life. We all live in one world, but we each live a sepearte life in where we encounter different life experineces in different period of time.
Tram 83 is a great example of having an unstable individual life and an unstable country in where noone really has an option, but live with the life they have.