It took us five days to get back to Nampula. From Wednesday morning to Thursday afternoon we spent 25 ½ hours flying from Seattle to Atlanta to Senegal to South Africa. We spent the night with the Reymans in Johannesburg and then took a 9 hour bus to Maputo, the capital of Mozambique. On Saturday our flight to Nampula was cancelled but we got a chance to have lunch with Victor’s cousin, Adelina. Then we had to spend another night there before getting our last 2 ½ hour flight to Nampula.
When we finally arrived home at the orphanage the kids were just coming home from church and when they saw us they all ran full speed into our arms, mostly screaming and laughing and then out of breath. The first one was little Caneto who ran straight into a huge hug with Victor! It was sooooo cute!!! The kids even had little balloons and signs welcoming us home. Everyone complimented us on how fat we have become. They keep telling me I am “gorda” with huge smiles! Ha! It’s a compliment but as an American I don’t think this will ever stop sounding hilarious to me (being called fat in such a thrilling way)!
Our reunion with the kids was a very happy moment. We walked around the property and found everything spotlessly clean. One of the best surprises was an amazing new garden of cove (collard greens), planted by Daniel. Last year Daniel tried to plant a cove garden and labored over it for hours. The garden failed, maybe because it had no shade. We found his new garden between the wall and the dining hall. This shaded area must be perfect for the cove to grow. We also found that he has planted lettuce, tomatoes, and mini-potatoes. There isn’t space to grow enough food to feed all the kids everyday but the new garden is incredible and is providing vegetables for meals each week! Daniel has done all of this on his own initiative and the whole orphanage is thrilled with him and proud of the new garden! Besides shade, another way our new wall has made the garden possible is that it keeps out roaming neighborhood children, goats, and chickens. The kids told us that chickens once got in and tried to eat from the garden but our new dog, Simba, chased them out and no chicken has ever come back since. I don’t know if chickens really have a memory like this but it sounds good to me.
For dinner we had a big feast of chicken, rice, and an American-style chopped salad made by Victor. Then we had singing and sharing and prayed before going to bed. During the sharing time all the kids said good things about how well the staff had run the orphanage while we were gone. They also kept telling us about how much the Brazilian missionaries had been helping them during this time – with hospital visits, Bible studies, and many other things. The kids asked about all our friends and family in the U.S. and we gave them a few reports about what we were doing and who we were able to visit. Victor also said that he had become so “fat” because of all the good cooking. Then Mama Maria yelled out that she knew all about it because Victor had called her on the phone and told her that he was eating potatoes made by Christina’s mom. This sent the whole orphanage into roaring laughter for about five minutes. Everyone LOVES it when Mama Maria talks because she is so funny and happy and expressive and even jumps up and down for joy! We don’t know if we’ll get any bad reports later but everything we have seen and heard from the kids tonight is fantastic and we are thrilled and encouraged by their happiness and unity.