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…)
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…)
“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.
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…)
“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…)
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…)
In October university friends Will and Emily came to visit for a couple of weeks and we put them to work finishing the pizza oven! Actually they were a great motivation for us and really encouraged us to finish some projects that had laid dormant for a while and for that, and for their endless energy and willingness to join in, we are so grateful. Will also got us started on our new hobby – yoga! Will is an engineer and Emily is an architect so their skills were very useful. I think there’s a joke in there somewhere: 2 engineers, an architect and a research scientist are building a pizza oven… [suggest your ending in the comments]! Here’s Emily’s blog… (more…)