Our IWitness trip started when we arrived in Luanda, the capital of Angola. The first stress disappeared right away as we passed the exit doors from the airport and saw the big smiles on the faces of UNICEF Angola members, who came to greet us with a big sign.
We had a few hours to rest and then had the first briefing about UN security warnings. We expected that to be quite boring but it surprised us. It was very funny, thoughtful and helped us to understand the day-to-day situation in Angola better. Angola is multicultural place. Even if you have blonde hair and blue eyes you are not recognised as a foreigner right away. If you behave naturally and are self-confident you should be safe. A good tip is to always smile and be polite to the security guys who are staying in front of every building, because they are the watch of the street. After this advice, we smiled at guards – maybe a little bit too much!
After many years of war, Angola is considered to be a high crime country, so behaving the right way is necessary. You should never go for a walk alone, or go out at night and you shouldn’t use your phone or show your belongings in public. And especially you shouldn’t take pictures without permission anywhere outside, because people here are very sensitive about that. That’s why there are not many photographs included.
But what surprised us most at the end was finding that we are totally safe. One member of UNICEF told us that nobody would attack our colleague, Dana, because she has dreadlocks. So the best recommendation is to always bring a Rasta guy with you when travelling in Angola!