Saturday, June 27, 2009

Three New Kids

Last week an aid worker from Austria brought a small special needs child to the orphanage. She had observed a group of kids living on the streets and could not stop thinking about the littlest one – the others were beating him and taking away whatever he had. There are many aid workers and missionaries who come through Nampula and there are many street kids but only one other time have we ever had someone actually bring one of these kids to us (a great story which can be told another time).

Anyway – because of legal reasons and policies the orphanage could not take this little boy, Jose, when she first brought him because Victor and I were in Chimoio at the time. But she was so determined to help him that she delayed her trip until our return and in the meantime actually found his family.

As soon as we got back to Nampula she brought Little Jose to the orphanage. He is tiny. He is smaller (shorter and skinnier) than our four-year-old but walks around like an old man. His personality is HUGE. Jose appears to be completely in his own world, oblivious to all around him while at the same time it seems he’s in on a joke that nobody else is smart enough to “get.” He is a complete character to say the least. It is impossible to tell his age but he may be between 7 and 12. It is also impossible to tell what’s going on in his head, which may be a new challenge for us.

When the orphanage staff investigated where Jose had come from we found that his mother has severe mental disabilities that completely prohibit her from taking care of a child, his grandmother can not remember her own daughter’s name, and there are two more siblings including a baby sister who is named Covaella, which in Macua translates literally into, “this is what I was afraid would happen.”

After finding the other kids and the conditions they were living in the staff decided to take all three into the orphanage. Jose’s older brother is probably about 12 and is named Jordão. Victor changed the baby sister’s name to Dorcas. She is probably about one and a half years old.

Please pray for our three new little ones. Jordão is easy going and fits in as if he’s always been here. He acts like he’s in heaven now. Little Dorcas will get a check up at the hospital next week – she will probably need a lot of medication to overcome worms and malnutrition. Claudia, one of the older girls, is in charge of Dorcas and all the others take turns helping with her. It seems that they are all excited about having a baby to work with. Little Jose needs the most attention. Because he was living on the streets he can be pretty wild. He has been living by rules of survival, which are contradictory to the rules of the orphanage. But he is also adorable and funny and extremely entertaining. Whenever he thinks of it he bursts into a very serious and deliberate Macua song with a dance that goes with it. Sunny says she can’t even imagine the orfanato without Jose and I think that everyone else is beginning to feel that way too.

One more thought . . . when we were in Chimoio we visited Maforga where they are working with kids similar to ours. One of the people in charge talked about how “we” (people who have had Christianity in our families for many generations) have had people praying for us and the ones taking care of us for generations. My parents have prayed for me since before I was born - my grandparents and even great-grandparents too! And my parents were prayed for and their parents were prayed for. Think what a big difference that must have made in my entire life! Then think about a child who has never been prayed for (and their parents were not prayed for). Not only that but for children here - many kids’ parents did sacrifices to evil spirits on their child’s behalf. Parents and parents’ parents practiced witchcraft and engaged with evil spirits who they believe are angry dead ancestors. Imagine what kind of a difference this could make in a person’s life!

After Victor heard that Jose’s baby sister was named “this is what I was afraid would happen,” he explained to us that many people give their babies names according to how they want “the spirits” to interact with them. Some women believe that they have miscarriages because the spirits ate their baby, so the next time they get pregnant, they immediately name the baby a name that is something disgusting to eat so that the spirits will not find it tasty. For the rest of the child’s life he will walk around with a name like “rotten relish” because of the fear that drives the practice of animism.

When Little Jose was living in the streets he would imitate what a witch doctor does, which was funny and entertaining to people passing by (especially because he is so tiny). This is how he earned money to survive. But imagine what kinds of negative things have had an influence over Jose.

Your prayers for our kids are very very important. Thank you for all the times you have thought of them already and please continue to pray especially for our new little ones – Jose, Jordão, and Dorcas – they have come out of a rough place and they greatly need your prayers.

Jordão, Dorcas, and Jose

Monday, June 22, 2009

Sunny painted all the girls fingernails . . .
which they LOVED.
And just in case you didn't notice the puppy wrestle . . .
here are some close-ups.There is now a puppy wrestle going on in the background (or foreground) at all times.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Trip to Chimoio

Getting on the road – the road is nicely paved about 70% of the way between Nampula and Chimoio.

Mocuba, a large village in Zambezia province, looked beautiful and enchanting along the edge of a river.

The River Zambezi! The Zambezi is one of the largest rivers in Africa but the only way to cross it is on a ferry that only takes 4 cars at a time! Trucks can get stuck waiting to cross for hours or days before getting a turn on the ferry!

Sofala province on the other side.

The drive from Nampula to Chimoio was about 1100 kilometers and took us 14½ hours to drive.

We finally arrived at Simon’s house in Gondola (right outside Chimoio) at 9:30pm. Simon’s brother, Victor, and Simon talking; Alfina sitting on the sofa in the living room.

Three Friends from Nampula: Gracio, Felisberto, and Victor. Gracio and Felisberto are two young guys who became Christians through Evanjafrica after hearing Victor preaching in Nampula about seven years ago. They were in the group of the first young people to get involved in Evanjafrica Ministries. After discipleship training Victor saw great potential in them and sent Gracio and Felisberto to bible school in Manica province. During this time they felt called to different ministries. Gracio remained at Simon’s orphanage where he is still on staff today. Felisberto completed his studies at a bible school in Beira and is now the pastor of a church he has started here in Chimoio.

Felisberto, his wife Sara, and their baby girl Loide, with Victor and I at their house in Chimoio.

Sunny and Peter (my brother) are finally here!!! On Friday afternoon we picked them up from the airport in Beira and then ate lunch at the beach before returning to Simon’s orphanage where Peter has been coming for almost ten years now.

Monday, June 8, 2009

Busy Week

Staff Breakfast

Visado, Helder, Daniel, Silva, and Marta. We had quiche, breakfast potatoes, cinnamon toast, and tea. Nobody had ever had quiche before – they liked it, were all calling it pizza, and thought it must have more ingredients than any other food.


There has been a lot of painting going on. After our staff breakfast in the blue room we turned it into the yellow room.

Goat Update

Sorry people who thought the goats were cute. (Helder and Dionisio cutting up the raw goats meat . . . yummy!!!)

Hanging Out

There’s always a lot going on.

Boys Dorm Construction Update

Finally ready for the roof!

Constructing and placing the rafters.

Older boys doing the electrical wiring. Felix is in the green shirt holding the hammer. Zaqueio is in the blue shirt standing up on the scaffolding. Zaqueio understands and is in charge of all the electricity in the orphanage.

The tin roof starts coming on!

Visitors from Germany

On Friday we had a great day with a visiting team from Germany. There was a lot of hair braiding, a very lively soccer game, a good lunch, and a massive amount of multi-language translating (Macua, Portuguese, English, and German) – very fun!

Grass Comes Off Tin Roof In Our House

I could make this into a ten page story but instead I’ll just try to sum it up very quickly: Tin roof makes our house unbearably hot so we cover it with grass. Grass awesomely cools house down by at least ten degrees, ends indoor swimming pool formations during rain storms and makes it possible to hear another person talking over the sound of a rain drop. Everything is fine and wonderful for many months. Then rats discover space between tin and grass on roof is their ideal climate/house/playground. Rats multiply. Rats stop being scared of humans . . . etc. etc. (If you want all the gory details you can email me.) Anyway - it suddenly became very urgent to get the grass off the roof.

On Saturday all the girls were inside our living room watching the Parent Trap when Victor spontaneously decided it was the perfect time to take the grass off (without telling us). One drop of rain on the tin sounds like somebody is hitting it with a baseball bat so imagine what it sounded like when there were suddenly 10 teenage boys up there dismantling a bamboo and grass structure. Every step they made resulted in a huge deafening crunching sound and you could see the tin denting underneath. All the girls looked at each other and looked at the tin. Outside the window we could see the younger boys catching bamboo sticks and heaps of grass being thrown off by the older ones up above. We started gathering up our stuff to go outside when rats started raining down from holes in the roof!!! All the girls are Mozambicans so they didn’t start screaming and running around hysterically but there was still a commotion and we all ran out of the house one at a time, dodging the debris being hurled off the roof.

I tried to take a picture of the scene outside but it was kind of hard to capture everything in a photo. I think now all the rats are gone.


Man using divining rods to detect whether or not we have water under the orphanage property. (There will be a big story about this later.)

Girls On Their Way To School

Terçia, Graça, Virginia, Anabela, and Cocas leaving for school.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Dia das Crianças

June 1st - International Children’s Day - is a really big deal here in Mozambique!
The night before we started a big cookie making production. (Cocas, Estela, and Mena.)
I was amazed and impressed with Mena’s determination to do every part of the dough mixing on her own!
Thanks to left over decorations from the Christmas box from Utah the cookies were very colorful and extra tasty looking!
Little V and Zaqueio bringing water into the house (we’ve been out of water for two weeks because of a broken pipe somewhere in the neighborhood).
Hair braiding and coconut rice making. (Nolita, Gizela, Minoca, Graça, Silas, Terçia, and Anabela.)
Helder, VoVo, and Marta preparing lunch. It seems like they’re enjoying what they’re doing.
A visit from Dr. Ferrão and his staff. Dr. Ferrão is the president of Lúrio University – a new medical school here in Nampula. He and his family have visited the orphanage many times and they really care about the kids. They have given the children special meals, provided the teenagers with computer training, invited us all to educational events in the city, and sent wonderful visitors our way. For Dia das Crianças Dr. Ferrão and his staff brought cake, apples (a great delicacy here), orange sodas, notebooks for school, colored pencils, and a huge bundle of clothing!
The girls with new notebooks and colored pencils!