Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Ilha de Moçambique

Ann on Ilha de Moçambique (Mozambique Island).
On Monday we started a little trip to the coast with my sister Ann and cunhado (bro-in-law) Mike. First we went to Mozambique Island, one of the most famous places in East Africa.
After driving onto the island (on a kind-of-scary one lane wide, three kilometer long bridge) we immediately found a gigantic tree that made everyone think they were 12-years-old again. Mike, Victor, and Ann climbing in the tree.

And then they each departed the tree by swinging off on these big Tarzan vines.

After that we went to lunch at a great little restaurant.

Ann, Mike, and Victor all had shrimp in red coconut sauce over rice – they all loved everything about it except for how tiny the portions were.

After lunch I went outside and took a picture of this boat because it reminded me of all the pictures I saw of pirates in the news a few months ago. This water (in this picture) is in the Mozambique Channel between Mozambique and Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.

Victor and me.

Ann, Victor, and Mike walking.

Ann and Victor had many intense conversations and Mike listened “thoughtfully.”

Me in front of some ruins.
The Portuguese came here around the same time that Christopher Columbus first reached America. Then until 1975 (almost 500 years) they ruled Portuguese East Africa (present day Mozambique) from this island. They did a few good things (like pretty architecture) and tons of bad things (like slavery and killing and exploitation). I won’t go into details about all the bad stuff they did on the island but basically the Portuguese built up this island with magnificent grand palaces, a massive fort that they even had sea battles against other European countries from, churches, houses, mansions, and everything else. They ruled the whole country from here and made Macua people work for them as slaves (in Mozambique and shipped to Brazil). The Portuguese probably imagined what they had built on this island would be indestructible and ruled by them and their ancestors for hundreds of years more. I’m sure they imagined that after their time here passed people would be in awe of what they left behind. But now, a few very short decades after Mozambique won independence from Portugal, everyone and everything that had ever been on the island before the Portuguese got here is right back on again. Now it is as if the Portuguese had never been here at all. All the grand stuff they left behind is still there – but the people are living how they always used to live right on top of it. I kind of like that.
Besides the ruins there were a lot of things on the island that kept reminding me of Rome, like this.

Ann, Victor, and Mike.

Look how pretty people paint the boats!

A dramatic cross next to a church on the island.
It seems that we can not go anywhere without it being way too “eventful.” We planned to only go to Mozambique Island for a few hours and then go to Pemba for two nights. But while we were on the island the alternator on our car stopped working. So we had to spend the night there!
Mike and Victor relaxing at the really cool hotel that we wouldn’t have been able to enjoy if our plans had gone through.
The next morning we got up and had a great breakfast of omelets and bread with ginger papaya jam. Then we just prayed that our car would still make it off the island (on the one-lane wide, three kilometer long bridge) before breaking down.

We were relieved and thrilled to make it off the bridge and then we followed directions to a “mechanic,” which was basically eight little boys playing one-on-one-on-one soccer under a tree between the local opposition party headquarters and a mosque. Mike and Ann just want every experience to be as adventurous as possible so they loved the whole thing and were immediately in the soccer game.
Victor called the orphanage truck to come get us and several dozen people came to “help” get our car in our truck.

This is how we had to ride back to Nampula.

The view from our seats. Getting in our car IN our truck was funny enough. But I could not stop laughing my head off the entire three-hour drive home, imagining everyone we know in the streets in our neighborhood in Nampula seeing us riding in both our car and our truck at the same time.

Here is where they get salt. The ocean water comes into this shallow place divided into sections and then when the water dries up only the salt is left.

Unloading the car from the truck back in Nampula.

Ann and Mike were pretty disappointed to miss seeing Estefano and Pemba.

But they were happy to resume their playing with the kids back at the orfanato.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Ann and Mike

Mike and Ann (my sister) are here!!!

The second Mike arrived at the orfanato he disappeared from our house and we found that he had gone outside and gathered a little group of kids to start the first of many, many games.

The first game involved throwing discarded tile chips at bottle caps. It became so serious that a white board had to be set up outside to keep score (with Virginia as the score keeper).

The second game is Ann's game (retrieved from her childhood) and is basically dodge ball in a circle – very wild and funny.

Ann's next game was jump rope. Ronilda could hardly even keep twirling the rope she was laughing so hard at Mike’s jumping!

There are no limits to the number of things that can be played with a jump rope.

Then there was Night Frisbee.

A fire occurred next-door.

When you see a fire you should go get a stick and then rummage around in all the dry grass right next to it. Why? Because if there were any snakes in there they will be coming out. Yes – fire, dry grass, snakes, kids with sticks, rummaging around, and flip-flops – all combined into a very appealing activity option.

A group of snake hunters (Mike included) searches the shrubs for snakes fleeing the flames.

The more sensible people watch from the wall. (Isac, Dorcas, TJ, Isac Pequeno, Jordão, Samito, José, Clara, Ronilda, Ofeita, and Ann.)

The snake hunters with their sticks.

After not finding any vipers, spitting cobras, or mambas in the bushes they give up the snake search.

But everyone gathered and ready with sticks in hand can not be wasted so they begin hunting for gigantic bugs instead.

Bugs like this . . . (Felix)

are supposedly very tasty. (Clara)

Finally after enough bugs were caught to satisfy all, everyone was ready for another gigantic game of circle dodge ball.

Claudia, Ann, and Clara.

Isac Pequeno fractured his arm at school today. They gave him this plaster cast at the hospital. He is supposed to stay in it for 30 days. Please pray for Isac Pequeno and the healing of this injury.

Friday, August 14, 2009

CD Launching

The kids at the orphanage are really really good singers. To make a long story into one sentence – the orphanage has a band, last December we recorded their songs, and this past week (thanks to help from the OCC team and many others) we had a big concert to “launch” the CD here in Mozambique.

After some final tiling, . . .

digging, . . .

“Joy Ride” around Nampula, . . .

awesome dinner with the Woodrows. . .

and rehearsal at church the night before . . .

it was finally time to load up the trucks and head to a theatre in town.

Arriving at the theatre.

Different groups practiced. (When people launch CDs in Mozambique they have a big concert and invite lots of other groups to perform too.)

While everyone else was (very seriously) watching the final rehearsal on stage, a group of boys were up in the back of the theatre trying to copy the ballet moves they had seen Nicole performing (nobody here had ever seen ballet before now). (Filipe, Nicole, Felix, Rock, Gabriel, and Jorge.)

These pictures can not capture how outrageously funny this was (so please just try to imagine it). (Felix, Jorge, Nicole, and Gabriel doing a big leg stretch.)

The OCC team performed. (Ashlie, Sarah, and Michael (Josh was playing the piano off to the side and Nicole was dancing in the background).)

The group from the Congo singing is always a highlight of any event.

Grupo Coral Tcharuwani was also launching their CD with us this night.

And finally our kids sang and they were amazing! (Jeremias and Ruben on keyboards, Gil on drums, Felix and Sara on guitars, Domingos playing saxophone, and Clara, Graça, and Anabela singing.)

The kids’ band is simply called “Banda Orfanato Evanjáfrica” (Evanjáfrica Orphanage Band) and their CD is called “Kinetta Na Yesu,” which means “Walking with Jesus” in Macua. They have seven songs and six of them are in Macua and written by the kids. I love the kids’ music SO much and their music has become beloved to the people here in Nampula. Every time the kids sing people here can not stay in their seats and not one minute passes before almost everyone is dancing down the aisles.

We are currently working on making the kids CDs available in the U.S. and will post information about it here on our blog soon.