Yesterday as the sun was lowering its head over the mountains Riems, Emily and I went for a lovely walk on the farm with our neighbours Tarryn and JohnWayne. We wandered through the tall golden grass, hopped over the little stream which has dried up now, watched Lalita (our dog) chase blue tailed lizards as they scurried across the rocks and scrunched our way over the piles of fallen dried leaves on the path. It felt a like the closest thing we’ll get to Autumn and for the first time I had a flash of homesickness for Europe.
Two weeks after Emily’s birthday she started to walk and has been becoming more and more confident. She does on occasion look a bit like an Egyptian mummy as she staggers around the house balancing herself by stretching her arms out in front of her, but practice makes perfect! She has a favourite wooden arm chair she loves to climb up on and recently I found she had dragged it to the bookshelf and had used the rungs on the back of the chair as a ladder and was reaching forbidden books on the top shelf! Her vocabulary has been expanding as well, her favourite word for a time being ‘nee!’ (Dutch for ‘no’) and as a parent you realise that you’ve probably used this word too much in her presence and try to undo this by using more positive language!
Emily overlooking one of the oldest churches in southern Africa at Ilha de Mozambique
Riemer contracted malaria for the first time at the beginning of September. We have home test kits and I did 2 of them on him but both gave a negative result. As the symptoms worsened however we took him to a clinic for a slide test and sure enough, he had malaria. Unfortunately our car chose to break down that day in the blazing sun, so poor Riems has lying there sweating away for a few hours while we waited to be rescued! If the symptoms are picked up quickly, malaria can be treated in 3 days, however Riems took about a week to recover.
It was at this time that our 3 month house share with the van der Kooij family ended and they moved out into their gorgeous new home. It was a bit of a hectic week as I needed to unpack all our barrels and set up home in two days before Riemers parents arrived, while Riems was ill, but somehow we managed!
Riemers parents visited here for 10 days and it was such a special time. Piet and Ineke live in Zimbabwe and they travelled 3 days by car to reach us, so that we could celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary with them!
Riemer with his parents
We whisked them off to Chocas for 3 nights where we treated them to some whale watching in the Indian Ocean. It was incredible seeing the whales blow water out of their blowholes and just before we took the motorboat homeward the family of whales we were following decided to give us a grand finale by leaping in the air, twisting and splashing with a crash of waves back into the ocean!
Our whale jumping!
Emily loved having her Oma and Opa around and enjoyed all the attention. Opa painted Emily’s antique cot which was rather rusty and he and Oma did some DIY jobs around the house which was a real blessing.
Emily playing with Opa
Ineke’s retina which I mentioned in the previous blog post had detached, is well on the way to recovery now.
We have recently hired a home help, Antonia who is with us 3 days a week. She is married with four children, and is very cheerful and a huge help to us. She previously worked for a friend of ours who has now left the country and comes to us with much praise.
Emily trying to help Antonia
Carola van der Kooij went to Holland on a surprise trip to see her family, so while her husband Wilfred was working I have been looking after their youngest daughter Alicia (3) for the past week. Her older brother Thomas and sister Norah, join us from school at 2pm so Emily has been enjoying their company again. As the weather has been slowly heating up 35 degress (approx) the paddling pool has come out and Emily and Alicia have had hours of fun on the veranda, playing in it!
Emily and Alicia playing in their ‘den’
We are in need of much prayer as 12th-14th October we are holding a selection camp for the first intake of students. We have asked the local church leaders to recommend applicants and from these will invite 30 to participate in the selection camp. From these 30 we will choose 5 men and 5 women to join Ebenezer Leadership Training Centre. The criteria for the applicants are that they be single, have no children, be aged 17-25, have grade 7 level of education. We may change these criteria in the future but for now this is all we can manage with. Already we have had some unexpected reactions to this, some saying they will divorce their wife in order to attend or asking people to lie about their marital status. It is heartbreaking to hear this and we realise we must ask God for much wisdom in choosing the final ten students.
The camp will involve team building activities, sport (which will determine their level of physical health), talks, tests and interviews.
Once the final students are selected they will join the Ebenezer salaried team and will work with us until May (when we hope to officially open the Training Centre), building the necessary infrastructure we need in order to start our program.
Miguel (one of our church leaders) and Riemer, sorting the student applications
We still need your prayers for the on-going land issue here. We are still needing to purchase land and the local community are still disputing who owns it, in order that we can pay the correct person to buy it!
Our local church building where we meet in Rapale (the nearest small town) has recently been upgraded to a larger bamboo and thatch structure. This was done for four weddings which took place on the same day, and the service was taken by Scott Marques. It happened to be Scotts birthday that day so we called it ‘Four weddings and a birthday’! Traditionally here a lot of people live together, and there is a lot of unfaithfulness and the importance of marriage is not recognised. It was therefore a very special day and lots of hard work and preparation went into it. Clarence (who leads the church) and Joyce Mutangara did wedding preparation classes with the couples, and people from the church pulled all sorts of things together to make it a great celebration. Here the Uncles ‘give away’ the brides and the Aunts ‘give away’ the grooms. At the start of the ceremony the local woman lay beautiful ‘capulana’s’ (the wrap around skirts they wear) in the dust, end to end, to make a colourful ‘red carpet’ for the bride and groom to walk down, a beautiful tradition.
The brides walking into the church
Scott helping out with the wedding feast, on his birthday!
As you may or may not be aware, Ebenezer is part of ‘Communities of Fusion’ a group of local Christian businesses, supporting one another and wanting to further God’s kingdom here. There is a huge area of adjoining land where these businesses are based: Novos Horizontes (poultry farm), Eggs for Africa (Egg farm), Ebenezer (Agricultural/Bible training centre) and since September, Rapale International School!
Rapale International School
The school ranges from Grade 1-IGCSE level and has approximately 60 students currently. The building work for the school has been going on for some time but they managed to open just on time, which was an answer to prayer! There are plans in place to expand the school already and land has already been purchased for a secondary school with room for sports fields and boarding facilities. Obviously this is a long term plan, but it is so exciting to think of all that has and can be achieved here and of all the students lives that will be affected by this school! Currently a lot of secondary aged children go to a boarding school in the Rift valley in Kenya to complete their education.
I have mentioned previously in a blog post that we had a group of ten Dutch University students here to do a project looking at increasing our water capacity for Communities of Fusion, in loose terms, for the farm. We really enjoyed their time here, and having them involved in our daily lives, popping in for coffee, going on trips together etc. Sadly one night we were woken by shouts for help, only to discover two of the team on our doorstep telling us that the cottage where they had been sleeping, had been broken into by a gang of men with machetes, demanding their valuables.
No-one was hurt fortunately, but the team were badly shaken and some of the computers that the team’s project was on were stolen. After piecing information together, it was discovered that this gang had actually broken into the main offices on the farm searching for money, but on finding none, decided to go for houses on the farm (although no-one else’s house was broken into that night). We are of course on higher alert now on the security front then previously, but ultimately we know these things can happen when we are fighting against the kingdom of darkness, but God is above all these things and we need not be afraid. The Dutch team stayed on and we had a special last few weeks with them in September. Thank you D.D.Gs!!
Carola was in Holland at the time of their University presentation of their project and was joined by Riemer’s sister, Brenda to support them.
Thank you for your continued interest and support.
We always love to hear from you as well, thank you for staying in touch!
It’s the school holidays and all the children on the farm are free. The local international school R.I.S (Rapale International School) ended term by having an Olympic themed sports day and a big banquet. This next coming term the school will move from town (40mins drive away) to the farm where the school buildings are being made ready for their new students so there was quite some excitement in the air.
The new school is 3minutes walk from our latest ‘new house’! There was a sudden descent of more visitors and so we needed to vacate the cottage we were staying in. We moved into the house we hope to be in for the next year. The family who are currently living there (van der Kooij’s) while their house is being completed have warmly welcomed us and we are getting on very well.
At last our shipment arrived all in tact and we are very grateful to have a few extra things for our home!
In June we had our friend Heather Pritchard visit us from Beira where she helps run a boys orphanage. We originally know her from our previous church in London and it was lovely to be able to share our new lives with someone we had history with. At this time we decided to buy a puppy which would eventually serve as a guard dog. She was named Lalita after the heroine of ‘Bride and Prejudice’, the British Asian comedy.
Heather with Lalita
In July Riemers cousin Floris stayed with us for a month before starting University. He had been to South Africa before but had not seen a less developed country like Mozambique and he adjusted well. He volunteered in different areas on the farm and at the school which he really enjoyed. As we had outgrown our house already, he lived in a tent which we pitched on the veranda.
Floris with his 4 star accommodation
While Floris was with us 6 Dutch Engineering students arrived. They are here for 10 weeks to look at the possibility of building a dam here and are affectionately called the D.D.Gs – Dutch Dam Guys. We took them one weekend with Floris to Chocas, one of the most stunning ‘paradise beaches’ in Northern Mozambique; white sands, clear turquoise waters, palm trees and deep blue skies with views across to Ilha de Mozambique, the former Portuguese capital. We took everyone snorkelling and Emily loved all the freedom that the beach brought!
Chocas with the D.D.Gs
Riemer and Emily at Chocas
At the end of July, the van der Kooij family had a family of 5 visit them from the Netherlands. It was quite a squeeze fitting 14 of us in a 3 bedroomed house but with the tent on the veranda and a neighbour lending out their room we managed well! It was a real hive of activity but a lot of fun too!
Riemer’s parents were due to visit us in time for Emily’s first birthday but sadly Riems mum, Ineke had to be rushed to South Africa for an emergency eye operation so they have postponed their trip. Ineke is back at home in Zimbabwe now and is healing steadily from her Retina detachment,
Riemer had a bicycle accident and dislocated his shoulder badly in June. The journey into town for the hospital, on the untarred road was agonising for him but he was eventually admitted into surgery where they put it back in for him and gave him a very elaborate cast which covered almost his entire torso! The cast was due to be on for 3-6 weeks but it was on day 3 when Riemer cut himself out of the cast, it was so painful to sleep in. He continued in a sling for several weeks and apart from some minor pain is doing very well.
I Jen had my third corneal abrasion this year, but all is well again for now.
Andrew and Claire Cunningham’s (our employer) daughter Zoe came for a few weeks to visit from England. She got engaged to James while she was here and so there was a lot of celebration! They hope to marry here next year.
There has been a lot of fun activities centered around the Olympics here. Our neighbours leant us their satellite TV and we have had fun nights projecting the sports events onto the wall and having lots of people round to watch with us.
At the end of July we had our final playgroup and each child represented their country in running, skipping and sack races. It was such fun!
The playgroup Olympics
Tarryn, our new neighbour on the farm was getting married in August so we had a surprise Hen party or ‘Kitchen Tea’ as they call it here for her. We had a 1950’s housewife theme with cake and tea, aprons and funny games.
Tarryn – the perfect 1950’s housewife
Johnwayne her fiancé had his own ‘Hen party’ as he was dressed in a giant chicken suit and marched up a mountain by the guys!
Johnwayne dressed as a chicken
Emily’s 1st birthday
Emily’s birthday was a fun day. Riemer made her a swing and hung it on the veranda for her, she now cries when we take her out of it! We decorated the house and invited the farm children and the DDG’s to have some birthday cake. We were really touched by the kindness of everyone who came. Emily also took a few phone calls from family around the world wishing her a happy birthday!
Emily in her first African outfit, a birthday gift from the van der Kooij’s
We have progressed quite a bit with plans for the Ebenezer leadership training centre. We had our first board meeting with some board members flying in from Zimbabwe. It was a very positive time and exciting to discuss our future hopes for Ebenezer. We have been in discussions with local church leaders asking them to recommend young, single adults who might wish to join the college as students. We hope to gather 30 candidates for a selection camp in October, where through various activities we hope to choose 10 to join the college. The first few students will work with us as paid labourers to establish the basic infrastructure we need in order to officially open the training centre. These students will then continue as the first intake of the training centre. We are experiencing a number of delays over the purchasing of some land for the Ebenezer but we continue to pray this will be ironed out before long.
The land we already have purchased will contain the staff housing and already Riemer and I have found a beautiful spot where we hope to start pegging out our house in the near future. It is under the shade of some large trees and has a number of tropical fruit trees growing there already.
Where we hope to build our house
Riemer continues to work on building a staff house for Alberto our language teacher and his wife and getting stuck into administration for Ebenezer including preparing documents for fundraising. We finished our 3 months of language at the end of July and we hope to continue to grow in our Portuguese through daily interaction on the farm with staff etc.
Our final day of language with our teacher Alberto
I am at the home often, trying to help run the house with Carola van der Kooij and her Mozambican home help, Maria. The houses here do not have glass windows, just gauze due to the heat, so dust and dirt get into the house all the time. In U.K we would clean the house thoroughly once a week, here it is daily. There is no popping down to the corner shop to get some food if you run out, so food shops are planned in town once a week (a 40 minute drive away), and there are few ‘convenience foods’ so planning is required to make meals from scratch with whatever seasonal vegetables are around. We have a lot of visitors here so hosting is a large part of what we do here as well, and we enjoy it very much.
Hosting the opening of the Olympics
Emily is a continued joy. A friend said to us parenting is great at every stage, it just gets better and better, and this has been our experience. Emily is now communicating with us, demonstrating understanding of what we say and it is a very special stage. She is on the verge of walking, but isn’t quite there yet. She is very comfortable around crowds of people now, and seems more and more settledhere. The van der Kooij children, Thomas, Norah and Alicia, shower Emily with affection and she loves them very much.
The van der Kooij children
The weather has been warming up a little bringing out all sorts of creatures from their cozy homes. Ticks on the dogs are increasing, I can easily pull lots of these blood sucking insects off Lalita every day. Mosquitos seem to be multiplying happily as are the flies and finally snakes are popping up everywhere. Last weekend a Mozambican spitting cobra was in our garden, fortunately it was killed before we arrived home. It spat in one of the dogs eyes, but after some treatment the dog is fine now. Then last night we were walking to bible study and I nearly stepped on an unidentified snake, and today Riemer came home with the guts of a freshly killed puff adder on his jeans! Nice!
A very dead cobra!
We are sorry for the long silence from our end; it’s amazing how a month can fly by so quickly!
So what’s been happening in May and early June here? We have moved back into the two roomed cottage we were in when we first arrived in April, after having a month of house sitting at a colleague’s. We have converted the smaller bedroom in the cottage into a kitchen and small sitting area. We have a single camp gas ring to cook on and we have also been leant a microwave. We are discovering all sorts of wonderful dishes you can do in a microwave including roast chicken and cake! As I’ve mentioned before, the cottage we are in shares a garden with Andrew and Claire Cunningham and their nine year old son Zacc. There is a lovely big lawn and a trampoline and Emily has been enjoying the big space to crawl! In the morning Zacc runs over asking if Emily is awake and then covers her in kisses, it’s quite cute!
Riem and Emily having breakfast as the sunrises in our ‘kitchen’
Zacc and Emily on the lawn by our cottage
This past month we have had 18 visitors, overlapping each other!! There was one big team of students from America who came to look at how poultry is done here as part of a summer programme for 3 weeks. All these visitors have meant that our weeks have run slightly differently to usual and it’s been nice to have the change and an excuse to socialise more, with braai’s in the evening and impromptu walks etc. We’ve also enjoyed spending more time with the farm community here.
A walk with the farm community here took us to the dam across the road
For us te Velde’s we have been continuing with our language programme. We are amazed at how much we can pick up now in normal conversations, which is encouraging. I have found myself frustrated sometimes at my lack of progress, but I have to keep reminding myself where I have come from in just a few months.
Emily continues to enjoy her two hours each week day with Hortensia our language teacher’s wife, while we have our lessons.
Emily on Hortensia’s back in a ‘Capolana’
Emily is now confidently crawling, standing up in her cot and pulling herself up on furniture; she can also stand by herself for a few seconds! She has never been a great sleeper but this past month has been pretty bad with her sometimes waking up 8 times in the night, leaving us exhausted. I was trying to come up with a reason for this behaviour, I couldn’t see any teeth coming and I was beginning to wonder if it was her Malaria prevention medication giving her problems with sleep. Any way just a week ago two teeth finally made an appearance and we now have a happier daughter!
Emily asleep on Riemer’s shoulder!
Riemer has been busy with building a new house for our language teacher Alberto, who is now on the staff with us for Ebenezer. For some reason building projects go very slowly here so using the experience of the managers here Riems has managed to help motivate the brick makers to break a record for the number of bricks they make per day. For this particular house design we need 13, 000 bricks made, so the challenge to the brick makers has been to make 1,000 good bricks per day and they will then be rewarded with a higher salary. In the first 2 days 4 men made 750 bricks, so Riems explained to them the mathematics of how much money they could be making, and suddenly the next day the same men made 1,060 bricks! It has been encouraging to see this change of heart, even if it’s due to a reward of money! Riem has also been helping to design/improve on designs for our local churches new building and other staff housing, and he’s really enjoyed this challenge! Riems has also been introducing the ‘Freedom in Christ’ course to our Wednesday night Bible study, which he did at our old church in London. So far it seems to be going well!
I, Jen, have mainly been looking after Emily. It can be challenging sometimes running after a crawler who is putting everything into her mouth – paper and mango leaves are the current favourite! I was trying to do something the other day while keeping an eye on Emily only to be alerted by the gardener that Emily was happily tucking into a pile of newly laid horse manure which was on the lawn!!
Emily considering a Mango leaf
Emily eating her Uncle’s birthday card!
My big challenge has been trying to do ‘camp cooking’ while keeping Emily inside away from the mosquitos at dusk. I finally resorted to wearing a ‘Capolana’ (sp?!) which is basically a 2 metre piece of cloth which I tie in a knot across my shoulder and carry Emily in, local style. She’s getting rather heavy, but it seems to work for now!! I have also go involved with the small playgroup here on the farm, we have 8 children on average and I take it in turns with Carola (Dutch friend) to take this. We have been learning about shapes this month and recently we took the kids to collect eggs from the chicken coups, to help them learn about ‘ovals’! The kids loved it!
Me teaching ‘triangles’ at playgroup
In May I had a corneal abrasion again, but I am pleased to say that the treatment here at the hospital was excellent and I am doing well!
Riemer and I have been attending the local village church with a number of other staff here on the farm. The church is small, but growing. We currently meet under a rustic open air thatched roof and sit on wooden benches. We can’t follow the sermons completely yet, but we usually can get a feel for the theme, which is encouraging. Sometimes in the evenings we go to S.I.L in town (an American mission organisations compound) and they have a small English speaking church meeting there. It’s been good to get meet other expatriates there and to get some teaching in our own tongue too! Recently at S.I.L they had a jumble sale and we were able to pick up some bits and pieces for our new house, we were also offered a female puppy (German Shepherd crossed with 2 other dogs!) any way we had a look at her (very cute!) and are still considering whether to take her as a guard dog (you really need one for security here, and Mozambicans on the whole are very scared of dogs). Our only hesitation is that there are no vets here to get her spayed and there is a pack of wild dogs in the area whom we are sure would be very interested in her when she comes into heat!
We are still awaiting our goods which were shipped from the U.K and were due here on April 10th! The good news is that the goods are in the country and have been cleared by customs, the bad news is that there is a dispute over who should pay the storage fees as the removals company last minute requested extra paperwork which originally had not been required, thus holding up our shipment and requiring our goods to be stored for some time! Please pray the removals company recognise their responsibility and pay the fees!
European football fever has reached the farm and the Dutch community here! Last Saturday we managed to set up a big sheet and project the game Netherlands vs Denmark onto it! We all donned our orange clothes and ate burgers, but sadly it was not Hollands night!:( Riemer woke up the next morning and asked me if it was just a bad dream, or did they really lose!:)
We were thrilled to hear the news that our dear friends Colin and Hannah Syred (Hannah was our bridesmaid) had a little girl, Nancy Lydia on 9th June. We are also so proud of our wee niece Rebecca who yesterday held the Olympic flame, in her village in Scotland- go Rebecca!!
Looking ahead we are hoping that by the end of June we will move into Scott Marques home, where we will hopefully stay for the year! We also are looking forward to having our friend Heather Pritchard stay for 4 days this month. Heather works at an orphanage in Beira (2 days drive from here) and we know her from our old church New Community, in London! In July and August we will have Riems cousin Floris stay for a month and hopefully ‘Oma’ and ‘Opa’ will visit for their granddaughters first birthday!!
P.s For those of you who heard of yesterdays drama, Riems is out of hospital having gone into theatre for a dislocated shoulder (he fell off his bicycle on the farm). He was in agony and the 1 hour drive to the hospital on mainly dirt road was very laborious as we had to drive at a snails pace to help him manage the pain of the jolts in the car. After approx eight hours he went to theatre and he is in a very elaborate cast now for 3 weeks. While he is still in pain it is nothing to what it was yesterday, thank you for those of you who knew and were praying! Our friends here have been very supportive! God is good!!
Bom dia from the farm! I have just returned from tea and cake with the small group of ladies that are living here, seven in all; we climbed a hill and had a great time praying and sipping tea together! The outdoor advantages of living on a farm, are fantastic and Riems, Emily and I have been out for walks most days now.
Since we last wrote we have moved into another house as we are house sitting for a month, which is lovely; we have a kitchen now and more space to entertain so it’s been such a blessing to be able to invite people round and get to know others working on the farm a bit better
Our ‘house sitting’ home
Our routines have changed somewhat since coming to Mozambique. We make fresh bread everyday, we bleach our fruit and vegetables from the market as Cholera is around; water needs to be filtered; if you don’t have a machine, clothes need to be hand washed (but they dry so quickly in the sun here, which is fantastic!). Food shopping is so different here and can take us up to 3 or 4 hours to do including the drive into town. This is partly because we are not familiar with the shops, but also because you have to drive from one shop to another as there are no big supermarkets….that is until this week! Yes! Hot of the press, the news has spread like wildfire across the expatriate world of Nampula that a new supermarket has opened in town! Imagine the conveniences of having all your shopping needs met under ONE roof, truly incredible! It really is amazing how quickly you appreciate things that were once taken for granted.:)
Streets of Nampula
Riem and I continue to enjoy our daily language lessons and now our boss Andrew is back from holiday we have started meeting with him to make things start to happen for Ebenezer. We are currently looking at what minimum infrastructure needs to be in place before we can officially open the college and so Riem has been working hard on technical drawings for student accommodation. We also had the privelage of going for a 2 hour walk with Andrew and his wife Claire last weekend to explore the Ebenezer land and to see a potential site for our home to be built on. The land is truly stunning with waiving head high grass, banana, mango and cashew trees, 3 small rivers, large rocky outcrops, and towering mountains as a backdrop.
Exploring Ebenezer land
I have been enjoying taking Emily on a Wednesday to my friend Carola’s house, where she runs a small informal playgroup for the farm children. This week I will be leading it – help! There is also a bible study that day where everyone from all the different businesses join in and it’s good to touch base with folk.
This week we were invited by the Dutch embassy to celebrate ‘Koninginnedag’ the Queen mothers birthday, which is a huge celebration in Holland. It was a good opportunity to meet other people and we went with the van der Kooi family (who also live on the farm) to a restaurant in town for the celebration, where we ate raw herring and cheese etc and met lots of other fellow Dutchies.
Internet has been better recently so it’s been great to be in touch with some of you again!
I thought it would be interesting to end by letting you read an entry from Emily (our 8 month olds) perspective:
“I wake up at 5 or 6am most days, mummy doesn’t seem to mind me waking as early anymore because she and papa have lots of things to do. Mummy gets me out of my mosquito net and dresses me and then I eat my breakfast. My new friend Ortensia comes at 7.30am to look after me while mummy and papa do Portuguese lessons. She doesn’t speak much English (just like me) so we communicate by singing and making funny noises at each other. She sometimes takes me to see the dog, Duke or the kittens in our garden. We play as well, and I can now clap my hands, and am almost crawling except I often fall flat on my face and then I cry until I am distracted.
Ortensia’s son, Habukuk
I love anything to do with food and will eat ANYTHING you give me! My favourite food is a peanut butter sandwich! I am getting very good at holding my spoon the right way round now and like to soak myself in water from my cup.
Emily eating pancakes!
Whenever we go outside mummy is always putting some sort of cream on me, for the sun or mosquito’s, if she makes it a game I really like it but if she just rubs it on I don’t like it.
There are lots of children on the farm, and I am the youngest, but I don’t mind because I get lots of attention. The friends I know best are Zacc (he and I like to bounce on his trampoline together) and Thomas, Norah and Alicia. Thomas and Norah are big and sometimes ride their bikes over to my house, their little sister Alicia is fun too and we sometimes play “Peekaboo’. They speak the same language as my papa. I have to decide which language I want to speak in first, English, Dutch, Portuguese or the local language Makuwa; sometimes I get so confused thinking about it that I think I might take my time and wait a while before I start to talk!!
Norah and Emily
I like it here, especially now it’s cooled down a bit. I like being outdoors and being held by lots of different people. It’s nap time now so I think I’ll say good bye! Bye, bye!”
When we last left you we were on our way to Harare, Zimbabwe’s capital, to stay with our close friends Mark & Laura Albertyn. Just before we left Bulawayo, our car was delivered safely from Mozambique, a Toyota Hilux, king cab, so plenty of space in the back for our luggage.
The Toyota Hilux!
It was so good to see the Albertyn family in their own home; Matthew and Zoe have grown up so much and were really sweet playing with Emily, and Ella is such a content little baby fitting in so well into the family. As Mark is a teacher and it was nearly end of term we were able to grab some precious time with the Albertyns going for coffee, ordering in pizza etc. They are such an inspirational family!
Mark and Laura run the charity Makomborero (http://makomborero.info) which helps disadvantaged sixth formers complete their A-levels. The Albertyn’s are currently urgently searching for an experienced sixth form Physics teacher to volunteer for next term, so if you know of anyone who is interested, please contact them/us!
We left Harare for the Mozambique border on 5th April together with the Marques family. It was great to travel with them as they have made the trip many times. Over 2 days we travelled 16 hours! We finally arrived in Nampula at dusk on the 6th and the Marques’ helped us settle in to our new (temporary) home. We have a little cottage with one bedroom and ensuite and a room next door which will become our kitchen/living room.
The cottage where we’ll be staying for the next few weeks
We have been made to feel so welcome on the farm and we’ve visited the various couples and families who are all involved in different projects under the umbrella of “Communities of Fusion”. The main venture on the farm is “New Horizons” which produces Broiler Chickens, then there is “Eggs for Africa” (no points for guessing what they produce). The buildings for “Rapale International School” are rapidly taking shape. The school currently meets in Nampula town (10km away) but pupils and teachers alike are looking forward to moving into the new buildings by September. The Ebenezer Agricultural College land (where we’ll be working) has been earmarked and over the next few weeks we’ll be praying, planning and thinking about the infrastructure and things like that! It’s great to be involved in this dynamic community and Emily has plenty of kids to play with although she is the youngest at the moment (but only by a few months).
We’ve been getting to know the farm by going for walks, there is so much to discover around here and it really is beautiful here.
Ebenezer land with our very own table mountain in the background!
We thought it would be interesting to mention the few cultural things that first hit you when you move to Mozambique:
• Every metre of road seems to have bicycles or people walking on it
• No-one has glass in their windows, just gauze as it’s so hot here (including us)
• A lot of things sold here are from China, so cheap but easily broken!
• In town pick pocketing is common place and you must also guard your car so that your car emblems, hub caps etc don’t get stolen (and sold on in the market!)
• People are very friendly
• A lot of stuff is imported in Mozambique, so very expensive eg packet of 80 wet wipes $7
• Some woman wear the local skirt wrap with Barrack Obama’s face printed on it
• Work stops here between 12-2pm
• Malaria is a big problem here and at 4pm every day we pull out the mosquito repellent and hose ourselves down and usually take Emily in for the day.
We’re all doing well. This week the weather finally cooled a bit to 28 degrees, which meant the trousers and the duvet came out…I can’t believe I am saying this! Emily had been sleeping only in her nappy with a fan directed onto her mosquito net, and was still sweating some nights, so we’re glad it’s cooled down.
We enjoyed an Easter sunrise service with the team here this week, we climbed an out crop of rock with a stunning view over what will be Ebenezer and heard the Easter story and praised God! Pancakes were cooked on top and an Easter egg hunt topped it all off!
We were really sad to say goodbye to the Marques family this week as they set off home for Zimbabwe. They were such a blessing to be with and helped us very practically with settling in from babysitting Emily, to finding basic furniture for us and introducing us to the team here. We miss you guys, come back soon!!
Riemer and I have started language lessons (Portuguese) and are really enjoying it! We have 2 hours 5 days a week, plus homework and our teacher Alberto’s wife is going to look after Emily during this time.
Our boss, Andrew Cunningham has been away on holiday with his family since we arrived but returns tomorrow which means that Riems will start increasing his work load which he is very excited about. He took a walk over the land for the college this week, and it’s potential is incredible and so beautiful, surrounded by mountains and rock outcrops.
Internet has been hard to come by since we arrived, but thanks for all your emails and news!
The last 2 weeks
The last 2 weeks have been fairly low key. Riems had a lovely birthday which we celebrated by going to a local café run by an old friend. We’ve also met up with a few other old friends enjoying their company alongside a braai.
In Zimbabwe there already is an Ebenezer Agricultural College which we volunteered on a couple of years ago. Last week we visited for the day and Riems and I found it so helpful hanging out with the staff and picking their brains on how to set up and run the sister college in Mozambique. Emily was adored by staff and students alike. We saw a Black Mamba snake about 1.5m long while up there. Fortunately we were in the car when it crossed our path!
Last night we got back from Diana’s Pools, which is in the rural areas. There are natural pools carved out of the rock which flow in small waterfalls from one pool into the next and are great for swimming in. Riems parents have got 2 simple cottage type lodges out there and so we stayed one night there. Emily loved swimming in her orange ring in the pools.
We found out this week that we will be initially staying in a small cottage attached to our boss Andrews property for a couple of months, before moving into a larger temporary house. Andrew and his wife Claire have a lovely big lawn and trampoline so Emily will love this and it’s in the hub of things so hopefully we’ll have some more people contact. Unexpectedly a few months ago we found out we will have a car provided for our use. Andrew has kindly arranged for the car to be delivered to Zimbabwe for us to be able to drive across the border. We are going to travel next Monday to the capital Harare to stay with our wonderful friends Mark and Laura Albertyn and their 3 kids (they used to be at our church in U.K) and then travel on 5th across the border with Scott Marques and his family who are going up to Nampula as well for Easter holidays.
Emily is making lots of progress; she’s nearly 8 months now. She unintentially will say the occasional “Mama” and when you hold her standing she makes the most exaggerated steps lifting her feet to waist height while walking forward. She’s enjoyed sitting in the dirt and attempting to eat sand and dried leaves and is getting very good at pulling her sunhat off!
We’ve all been recovering from colds/coughs but am glad to say we’re all feeling a lot better.
Well I think that’s most of our news for now. Thank you for all your comments/emails etc, we love hearing from you all.