Exploring community in Cape Town: a reflection on hospitality

Following our time in Ilha de Moçambique we had an inspiring week in Cape Town meeting lots of really interesting people and having loads of great conversations about community.

I feel the need here to narrow our definition of community a little and that is to say that for us there is something important about physical proximity. Whilst very healthy, supportive and life-enriching communities can exist in other ways (online, for example) we are interested to explore community that involves the daily face-to-face cup of tea-sharing doing life together.

Even within this definition, being intentional about community can look very different to different people, from simply knowing your neighbours better to shared living arrangements. In Cape Town we managed to see a wide spectrum of examples including homes practising open-door hospitality, extended household living, co-housing, and residential eco villages. I thought I’d be able to write about all of these in this single post but alas, there’s too much to write about here. Instead, I’ll split them up over several posts as they all deserve attention and I’ll start with community through hospitality. (more…)

What is it about community anyway? 

In our plan for our Safari we wrote about exploring the the idea of community and I’ve been wanting for a while to start collecting together some of our thoughts around this. This will be the first of hopefully many blog posts as we learn but this one tries to articulate our motivations behind wanting to find out more. (Massively simplified because it’s supposed to be a blog post and not an essay!) The next post will talk a bit more about some different manifestations of intentional community, particularly in reference to lots of inspirational people we have met so far on our journey and based around our time in Cape Town. (We’re really behind, having now been in Australia for a month!)


Hospitality and names

We began writing this in the last few weeks of living in Milange. We had just spent a day driving around Milange on our motorbike, partly in order to collect a number of watch devices that I handed out to people as part of a study on sleep in rural and semi-rural communities (more on that another time), and partly just simply to get out and try to appreciate and remember life there. These goals gave us an excuse to visit some friends houses, just like how you would pop round for tea when you are in the area. (more…)

Ilha de Moçambique: a symbolic end to our Mozambique experience

Week 1 of our safari pilgrimage took us to a place that has been on our wish list ever since moving to Mozambique – Mozambique Island or Ilha de Moçambique. It’s one of the few tourist spots in northern Mozambique, an exception within our fairly rural Diocese. Think of it like a Mozambican version of Zanzibar – an island full of historical buildings, arabic charm, beautiful beaches, with traditional dhow boats patrolling the turquoise waters. (more…)

7 days ago

I spent my last night in Mozambique sat with a hastily tied capalana around my jeans helping prepare food for 70 people. I carried the boiled and peeled eggs in a basin on my head, but steadied by both hands. I collected some water for people to wash their hands in, marvelling at the speed at which it came from the tap, but still unable to carry the not even full bucket the 100 metres to where it needed to be. (more…)

Pilgrims on a safari

We’ve decided to take a break between leaving Milange and landing back in reality in the UK sometime in October, though this is feeling more lame having just read the details of what Tim Peake’s body will be going through having spent 6 months in space. Our ‘re-entry’ will hopefully be a little less hangover like!

It’s not really a holiday (though it will certainly have elements of one) and we’re not ‘going travelling’ so we’ve decided to call it a Pilgrimage, ‘a journey of moral or spiritual significance’. (more…)

On being an object of interest for 2.5 years

“Asa” they cry as I pass them on a bicycle taxi. A word meaning ‘whoa, check that out’ (more or less!). A person with white skin using a bicycle taxi – who’d have thought! When I walk by it’s a similar shout, “Ayyyy, azungu” – “Look! Someone with white skin.” And when I’m on our motorbike? You guessed it. Laughter, pointing and cries of exclamation and disbelief. It’s the same for Andrew, though perhaps being a man on a motorbike doesn’t draw quite the same astonishment. When I’m in a car (with a friend or for work) I have no idea what happens. I can’t hear and I don’t look. Ignorance is bliss. But I have a hunch that that’s how people expect me to travel and so might not draw the same interest.


Limboing our way through the last leg

We are just back from a wonderful, but too short, couple of weeks in the UK. We became Godparents to our beautiful niece, celebrated a wedding of a very special friend, and spent a few days with family trampling around the British countryside getting nice and muddy. It has felt very different returning this time as this is our last stretch in Mozambique. In July we will leave Mozambique, returning to the UK in October time after an extended holiday. We’re now in a strange limbo period where we are concurrently trying to work out the logistics for packing up or selling the things we have here but also trying to live in the now and make the most of the precious remaining weeks. (more…)

Experiencing extremes: from floods to drought

In January 2015 Andy wrote:

“Wells drying up. Crops struggling. Dust coats your hands, the walls of your house, the leaves on the trees. It’s hot. So hot. Everything is parched. No energy to move.”

In 2015 those feelings were quickly replaced by the horror of the constant rain and floods we experienced which washed out peoples farms which had been so desperately needing rain. But not that much.

This year, in complete contrast, those feelings still persist. (more…)

Guest post 10 – on medicine and missionaries

Rachael came to visit us for a week following a trip to a wedding in South Africa at the end of November. It’s the hottest, driest time of the year – she’s a brave girl! She has spent time in Uganda and Sierra Leone amongst other places and it was really interesting to hear her thoughts on the similarities and differences whilst she was here.  (more…)