What do you do when you have two team mates on a plane to South Africa and another team member stuck in Mozambique with no clue if they’ll be able to join them? You pray, a lot, alongside many frantic phone calls home and emails, of course.
Let us explain… There we are at Beira airport, filled with excitement as we prepare to fly to South Africa for 6 days to sort our visas – but unfortunately not all of us made it past the check in desk.
Rhiannon: We got to the check-in desk and everything was going well until the man held up my passport and asked who it was (I think because he was struggling to pronounce my full name) and we knew something was not right. It turns out to fly into South Africa if you are under 18 you are considered a child and need parental consent and many accompanying recognised documents to allow you entry- none of which we had to hand. So after a very panicked phone call home we decided it was best I flew out tomorrow, so I sadly waved Iain, Ellie and Sergio goodbye not knowing when I would see them next… maybe that’s a bit dramatic but still kind of true.
Ellie: Feeling really worried about how Rhiannon is doing back in Mozambique.
Iain: Buzzing, freedom at last!
Rhiannon: One of the men who comes to our english class, very kindly took me home and even made sure to send a picture of me to the whole class group chat saying “She does not go.” But after a hectic 24 hours of getting documents organised and sent over from the UK (shout out to our families back at home, BMS and our supervisors who helped us sort everything – what would we do without you guys?!) it wasn’t actually looking likely that we would make it in time. As the UK were two hours behind, the place my parents were getting the documents notarised opened at 9am which is 11am here, and my flight was at 1.30pm which was definitely cutting it very fine – but with much prayer and a very hectic morning for my parents (sorry guys) and Liz, we made it! It was such a relief to finally get there, and be re-united with the team who had an airport sign made from a pizza box with ‘welcome little Rhiannon’ on it!
Apart from the little mishap arriving – we all thoroughly enjoyed our time in South Africa! After we visited the Mozambique Embassy on our first full day we went to see the Union Buildings in Pretoria and we were amazed at how big the Nelson Mandela statue was, and how beautiful the surrounding gardens were!
We also visited the Menlyn Shopping Mall which is one of the biggest in the whole African continent, then another afternoon we visited a craft market where we saw lots of beautiful paintings, ornaments and jewelry!
The biggest highlight for all of us though (apart from the excitement when Sergio came to the car and told us we had our visas) was visiting the Lion and Safari Park! We were so blessed to have been able to spend the morning playing with baby lions (what?!)
We then drove round the park, and had lions coming up to the car, zebras blocking the roads, and giraffes coming up to the restaurant at lunch! It was an incredible experience for us all – and the scars, scratches and bite-marks from the lion cubs were well worth it!
Prayer Points –
- Thankfulness for Rhiannon getting to South Africa!
- Thankfulness for our visas getting sorted so we can continue our work in Mozambique
- For our projects as our schedule changes because of the summer holidays.