Don’t panic too much, we’re still in Mozambique! But it’s all changed in the last few weeks.
The epic saga of visa problems came to its climax when we went to South Africa for our holiday, which also included a trip to the consulate in Nelspruit to get a new visa. Things started badly when an official recognised us from the last time we were there in November. Now more nervous, we proceeded to the counter and requested the visa, but we were told we couldn’t get one because we already had three in our passports (even this shows just how many problems we’ve had with visas!) This basically meant we had to go to the Mozambique border after our holiday to try to get a 30 day temporary visa, which we thankfully got! It does mean, however, that we’ll be coming home a month early, landing on the 5th of March.
Even with all the uncertainty around our visa situation, we still managed to have a fantastic holiday in Nelspruit, South Africa. We went ice skating and bowling, went to a water park and to the cinema. There was also a restaurant called RocoMama’s, which Alex and Rebekah had been looking forward to and talking about for weeks before the trip. Amazingly, it beat their stratospheric expectations. God’s Window was also a highlight – it was too misty to see anything but we loved the nearby waterfalls and a pancake place called Harrie’s (surprise surprise). We didn’t leave behind the wildlife either – we got home one afternoon to find our house had been visited by monkeys, which had eaten some of our food and left little ‘presents’ for us. Very generous guests they were.
When we returned, we got stuck in to our new and much busier schedule. We now have PEPEs (pre-schools) three times a week. Alex and Andrew are at one near the airport, while Jack and Rebekah are in an area called Munhava.
The PEPEs consist of songs, a Bible story, playtime, food and a lesson on the alphabet. They’re not without their challenges – we often have to keep our eyes on five or six things at once, and the kids have so much energy that we often feel very drained at the end! However, we’re enjoying them; it’s fun to join in with the energetic songs and the kids love playing with us. The kids are also fascinated with simple things like our hair (“Is it real?!”), bubbles and a tennis ball (Alex and one of the teachers ended up playing with this more than the kids).
What have you really enjoyed?
ALEX – We attended a youth meeting last Saturday which had an amazing band. The message our supervisor Liz shared about dating was really interesting and encouraging too.
ANDREW – PEPE has been a lot of fun; although it’s hard work I’ve enjoyed playing with the kids and helping out. It’s been good to spend time with the people we’ve met here too.
JACK – Building relationships with the kids at PEPE. The first day they were scared of this big hairy boy but now they give me tips on how I should cut my hair and beard. They also like playing Simon Says even thought they definitely don’t understand the rules. I say “sit down,” and they all sit down….
REBEKAH – On Sunday only one person turned up for our English lessons at church and they were from the group that Jack and Alex teach. So Andrew and I spent the time playing outside with children who live near the church, it was so much fun to just spend time with them. It was especially good as they don’t really have any adults to play with and it also gave me opportunities to speak to other people who walked past.
What has challenged you most?
ALEX – The early mornings!
ANDREW – It never really gets any easier seeing the poverty here. Driving to South Africa we saw quite a lot of rural Mozambique, where many people live in houses built from mud and straw. What was challenging, though, was realising that if those people were suddenly given a house similar to our accommodation in SA, they’d probably be just as confused and unsettled as we would be if we suddenly had to move into one of their houses.
JACK – Recently, quite a few people have persistently asked us for money. One example was a man following us for a 5 minute walk across Beira. Getting to know him was fun; however, I don’t know why he decided we were from Malawi. Another girl around 10/11 years old was chased away by the chapa controller of the chapa we were on. This was particularly sad to see.
REBEKAH – Being reminded of cultural differences in regards to time. For example in the week after being in South Africa we went back into the school expecting to go straight back into classes, but ended up spending a lot of time waiting around.
What are you looking forward to?
ALEX – The remaining time we have with families here.
ANDREW – Meeting up with people here before we go, and the two trips we’ve got planned with our supervisors before they fly out to Brazil next week.
JACK – Spending more time with everyone we have grown close to over the last few weeks even though it will be very sad saying goodbye.
REBEKAH – Having a good last two weeks here making the most out of our projects and spending quality time with people we’ve met here.
- Our time in South Africa was amazing and we took lots of opportunities to have fun and relax.
- We’ve generally enjoyed getting stuck into PEPEs
- Although the outcome of the visa problems obviously wasn’t what we’d have liked, we still managed to get the 30 day visa. None of us wanted to go home on the 13th of February (which was when our visa we had before South Africa ran out), so we’re glad God’s given us the opportunity to stay for longer.
- While it’s been good to get back into a routine after South Africa, our new schedule has been very intensive and we’re often very tired. Please pray for energy for the rest of our time here.
- Safe travel for our supervisors Liz and Sergio, who are leaving for Brazil next week.
- That we’ll be able to meet up with all the families we want to see here before we leave.