Don’t worry, the rest of the post is in English – our Portuguese isn’t that good yet!
The journey from Britain was far from straightforward. We spent over a day travelling, and plenty of things happened on top of having to catch three or four different flights to get to Beira (Alex and Andrew had to fly down from Scotland first). To start with, Andrew’s flight from Aberdeen to Heathrow was cancelled at the last minute, resulting in him having to rush to Glasgow (around 2 ½ hours’ drive) to catch another one. Alex was also told at the check-in desk at Heathrow that she needed her birth certificate to travel as she was under 18, although after a quick phone call it was sorted out. Rebekah was sick at Johannesberg airport after a turbulent landing, although fortunately, she was fine on the last flight to Beira, which was in a tiny plane with only 45 seats! Finally, two of the team’s suitcases were opened in Beira airport, but by this point we had met up with Sergio, one of our supervisors, and he was able to smooth the whole thing over with the airport staff. After our long journey, we drove back to his house, where we met his wife Liz, our other supervisor, and their two children, Chloe and Joshua ages 6 and 2.
Settling in to our new surroundings has been a challenge because almost everything is completely different. The shower is cold because there’s no hot running water, which is a bit of a shock first thing in the morning! We also have a small menagerie of different creatures that frequently visit us, from a frog in the shower and geckos that run up and down the walls, to less welcome visitors like cockroaches and a giant millipede that Jack found outside the house.
It costs the equivalent of 8p to catch a chapa (minibus) in Beira. That’s twenty-five rides for the price of one in the UK! What a bargain! However, you’re certainly not paying for comfort. Chapas have little regard for safety, and the number of seats doesn’t matter – if it’s a twelve-seater that means it fits twenty-five.
One of our projects is helping at a church run by Wagna, a Brazilian lady, and a leadership team aged between thirteen and twenty-one. We had great fun making bread with the young people and are working on repainting the outside of the church – we’ll let you see the finished design soon! Seeing a church run by young people really encouraged us to redefine what being a leader means.
What have you really enjoyed?
ALEX – During our time teaching at Rei dos Reis school (King of Kings) I was helping a group of girls ages 20-24 to write a CV in English. From this, the topic of university courses came up and I found out that a few of them also want to study Law which lead to one of the girls shaking my hand in delight. She pointed at our joined hands and said; “No discrimination. Equality.” This was a real inspiration and encouragement as I also want the world to be a fairer place.
ANDREW – Leading the club for missionary kids was really good fun because they were all so enthusiastic and seemed to be having a lot of fun with the games we played.
JACK – I loved teaching basketball at Rei dos Reis. It was fun trying to communicate through actions, English and a few Portuguese words as well as getting to know pupils that are slightly younger or similar ages to me.
REBEKAH – I have enjoyed going to church here and seeing how joyful everyone is especially during worship.
What has challenged you most?
ALEX – At the school I met a girl who was eighteen, married and pregnant. She asked me for advice for bringing up a child which really challenged me because I didn’t feel equiped to give her any helpful advice. However, I tried my best to tell her that she wasn’t alone and that her child will be a blessing in her life. She told me that she does have support from her family to bring up the child and will be allowed to continue her studies which I thought was incredible since that is not the norm here.
ANDREW – Seeing the amount and scale of the poverty in Mozambique has been challenging for me, particularly when you see people asking you for money. When we came out of a shop one lunchtime, two boys in ragged clothes came up with their hands held out. This made me feel guilty that we have so many material possessions and we come from a much more developed country.
JACK – Being ill in a new environment. However, sharing your house with a gecko and frog is cool.
REBEKAH –I have found communicating with people one of the biggest challenges. In the UK communication is something I often take for granted, so it’s hard being in an evironment where the prominent language is Portugese. We are having Portugese lessons and are trying to immerse ourselves in it as much as possible, so hopefully our Portugese will continue to increase.
What are you looking forward to?
ALEX – I can’t wait to form deeper relationships with the children and young people we know in our projects.
ANDREW – I’m looking forward to being able to teach the students at Rei dos Reis more and understand them better as my Portuguese improves. I’d like to be able to teach the students things that will really be helpful for them later on, and once I overcome the language barrier, I think it will become more enjoyable.
JACK – I’m really excited for our Portuguese to improve so we can communicate with all the children that we walk past, we teach and that look at us a bit preplexed by our white skin.
REBEKAH – I’m excited to build deeper relationships with the people we meet here, and to get more and more stuck into our projects.
– Safe arrival
– Adjustment to the heat
– A good start to all of our projects
– Learning Portuguese
– Finding a church that we can settle into
– Comfort for missing people at home