Thursday, April 24, 2014

Ao final!?!

On Friday April 4th I took a chapa down to the Tete airport to meet my dad who was flying in from California (by way of South Africa).  At the airport we rented a car and that weekend drove to Cahora Bassa, a huge lake in Tete formed by a dam on the Zambezi river.  We stayed at Ugezi Tiger Lodge, which was a bit lacking in food quality and room cleanliness, but made up for it in great scenery and wildlife sightings.  We went on a boat trip on the lake and saw hippos and crocodiles, watched monkeys in the trees as we ate lunch, and saw a troop of baboons cross the road as we were leaving.
Father and daughter at a photo stop on our way up to the lake.

Lake Cahora Bassa and the Cahora Bassa Dam

A giant moth at Ugezi Tiger Lodge.  We thought it was dead until it abruptly flew away when Dad tried to look at the red part under its wing.  Nearly gave me a heart attack when it flew right into my face.

From Cahora Bassa, we drove back to Tete, returned the rental car, and headed to Zobue.  Dad spent 10 days in Zobue living the village life.  He observed some of my classes, went to the market, and hung out with the neighbor kids on the front porch.  I really enjoyed introducing him to people here--most of them couldn't believe he was my dad, who had come all the way from the United States.  The most common response was:

"Ao final? E seu pai?" Really? He is your dad?
And then, 
"Ele ainda e joven!" He is still young!

It was great having an outsider's perspective on my life here.  Since I've been here for almost 6 months, there are some things I take for granted or don't notice anymore so it was fun to see what he noticed and commented on.

One of Dad's first nights here Leme and his family came for a visit.  I'm posting this because both Leme and Servina are smiling.  If there is anything harder than getting a Mozambican to smile for a posed photo, I haven't yet encountered it.

Three sisters: Sylvia, Albertina, and Celia.  I'm posting this also because of their amazing smiles.

Last weekend we traveled into Malawi together.  This trip was only possible because Dad made a 13 hour trek by chapa to another volunteer's site to pick up my passport, thanks Dad--you're the best!  It was great to finally be able to travel into Malawi.  Since it is a much smaller country than Mozambique, it is much easier to get around. AND there are more police officers that actually enforce the capacities of the minibuses so travel isn't nearly as squished as it is in Mozambique.  That, and the fact that you can travel much more cheaply than in Tete makes it my new favorite nearby travel location.

The first night we went to Liwonde National Park and went on another boat trip, this time up the Shire River into the park.  We saw lots of hippos, many kinds of birds and ELEPHANTS!  The second night we went to Zomba, an old colonial town at a lovely elevation with huge trees and a beautiful botanical garden (I was very surprised to see big difference between Malawi and Mozambique).  The third night we spent in Blantyre so I could head back to Zobue the next day in time for class Monday afternoon.  Dad stayed in Malawi and will head back to the USA next week, again via South Africa.  I was sad to say goodbye to him--it was great having him visit and getting to show him a bit of my life here!


Elephants! Not a great picture, but it was the best I could do...

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Birthday in Zobue

It has been a while since I last published a post, mostly because I've been busy with a very special visitor! Dad has been visiting here for the past 10 days or so! It's been so fun to have him here.  I'll post more about his trip soon, but here I just wanted to share a few pictures of how I spent my birthday yesterday.  

Yesterday I turned 25 in Zobue.  Dad was planning to make me a cake in the morning, but we woke up to no electricity so instead we made breakfast and coffee on the charcoal stove.  The rest of the morning was spent playing guitar and dancing with the neighborhood kids.  In the afternoon we went to Zobue's only restaurant, Quinta Monte with Emma, Albertina, Sylvia, Leme, Servina, and their two daughters Marnela and Suneila.  After dinner the electricity had come back on so Dad made the cake--a delicious Deep South Oatmeal Spice Cake from the "You Can Make it in Mozambique" cookbook.  I'd say it was a great birthday spent in Zobue. 

Sardinho and Celia hanging out for guitar and dancing time.

Celena and Jano being the adorable siblings that they are.

Dance party to Wavin' Flag

Dad in Zobue!

Dinner party--blowing up balloons.

Leme and family plus Emma, Dad, Albertina, and Sylvia.

Suneila! Such an adorable baby--and she NEVER cries!