Wednesday, December 31, 2008

8 Photos from 2008

The Train to Cuamba

If anyone is interested in reading my perspective of the train experience here I can email you a copy of my 11-page letter about it.

Mena and Me

Mena is the youngest child at the orfanato. She came here at age one and is now four-years-old. She is probably the one who spends the most time with me. She helps me cook, has cinnamon toast and tea with me on the porch, takes naps with me (and Simba) outside in the shade on a little bamboo mat when it’s too hot, and sits next to me in church. Mena is one of the funniest kids because she often says things you would expect to hear from an old lady, not a three or four year old. Everyone loves entertaining each other with stories of things Mena says. Yesterday I gave her a piece of bread and after taking a bite, in a very stern tone of voice, she said, “Mana Christina, this bread is dry.” (This might be a normal thing for an American child to say, but you will never find a child here who will say something like this.) I told Victor and he said at least it shows that she is used to eating fresh bread here.

Anamuculama Jumping

Last year we took the staff to Nacala, a port city on the coast, 200 kilometers from here. It was SO fun. Most of those with us had never seen the ocean before and were able to play in water for the first time. We are hoping to take the whole orphanage to Nacala next year. There might be only one or two kids who have ever seen the water before.

Victor Before Church

This is our little church which is about a mile down the road from the orphanage. It's made out of mud and has a grass roof which is SO nice for staying cool in the heat.

A Door of No Return
Some people only learn about West Africa when they study the history of slavery. But East Africa had the same horrific story. Here is the Door of No Return on Mozambique Island, the last door that mostly Macua people stepped through on the African continent before being forced onto ships headed first to Arabia (before the Portuguese) and then to Brazil (after the Portuguese). For me, there is a lot to think about when I look at this photo.

Me and Victor

Nampula is surrounded by huge dramatic rock formations that are unique and beautiful. Whenever I see this picture it reminds me of this day – I saw these rocks, I saw pineapples growing for the first time, we had ice cream at a little Portuguese restaurant, and we drove home on the bumpy red dirt roads in a huge rainstorm.

Victor and Mia

I loved playing with my little niece Mia this summer and I loved seeing her playing with Victor. Every time she would find me alone, she would immediately demand, “Where’s Dictor?!!!” I can’t wait to have Mia here playing and dancing with the kids and singing in the children’s choir in church! The kids have heard me talking to her on the phone and now whenever they see a picture of her they all say, “Mia!!!”

Mama Maria

Mama Maria is one of our cooks and she lives in a little house on the orphanage property. She is fun and funny and is like a grandma for all the kids. Her personality makes everyone happy no matter what. She grew up in a remote village where people were still wearing clothes woven from tree bark when she was little. Her husband died when her only daughter was still a baby. Today her daughter, Estalinda, is married to Victor's brother Charles. I love this picture of Mama Maria wearing the dress that Trish sent her.

There are many Macua games that only girls play and this is one of them (it’s fun to watch what happens when a male tries to join in). It was really entertaining watching Jenni play games with the girls because she always got SO into it and would be screaming and laughing the whole time, which made it SO fun for everyone.

The Road to Our Property
Daily life here is quiet. When you first come here from a fast-pace place it takes a while to get accustomed to it. But once you do you will find great enjoyment in little things that would go unnoticed somewhere else. I love watching the kids play.

Going Home
All the chapas (mini-bus public tranportation) stop running when it gets dark, which is around 6pm during the lightest part of the year. If you don't have a car (or it's not working) and you need to go somewhere (without walking the whole way), you have to be REALLY creative and willing to ride in almost anything. This was riding home with all the kids from the recording studio in the back of a truck that I thought might collapse any minute. Apparently I am the only one who is scared of standing in a speeding truck on half paved, half dirt roads with ten billion pot-holes in the dark with no street lights because everyone made fun of me for wanting to sit down. But now I'm glad because I like this picture.

(Sorry for the misleading title to this post. Half the pictures are from 2007 and there are more than 8 of them but I just really wanted to write that title.)


Anonymous said...

Ha-ha-ha! The last line of this post is Hilarious. Thanks for sharing these great photos!

momsi/Nonni said...

Title or no title, I love these stories. It makes me smile and my heart joyful to learn of these different things that happen in a place I love to hear about and tell about. Thank you, thank you thank you for sharing about life at the orphanage. Ashley and Family are here and she loves your writing. Happy New Year,Momma Nichols

Anonymous said...

Hi Christina,

Its wonderful to see the pictures and read the commentary about what you and your husband are doing. Congratulations on your wedding and thank you so much for the invitation. It reached me quite belatedly, so I apologize for not sending you any acknowledgement sooner. Its been too long since we've spoken or seen each other, but its wonderful to see that your natural vivacity is bringing happiness to so many. Best wishes and Happy New Year 09. Your friend, Todd Meyerding. ps. i'll send you an email so you have my details.