Ola! Como estaa?
We've been in Pemba for a few days now. Today we ventured off the base to some shops and to post a new blog. Pemba is nice, much nicer and cleaner and seems to have a better economy than Maputo. But it's HOT! I don't know the actual degrees, but it feels like midsummer in the sandhills and it's only 9am! We don't even need a sheet as a blanket to cover us at night! I'm trying to stay hydrated and not overheat so the rest of the group is off about town going from little shop to little shop and I'm in the internet cafe that looks like a grass hut from the outside! We took a taxi in with a 'tour guide' (someone who's been into town before). It's very tropical here. And the Indian Ocean is right across the street from the Iris base, it's beautiful! I haven't been to see it upclose yet. I wish I could show you pictures, maybe I can if I find a cord for the camera.
Yesterday was a national holiday - Children's Day. A great initiation into the school! There were 3,000 people from the surrounding town all at Iris. Heidi preached, and we fed the kids, gave them presents, and played games with them. It was "Holy Chaos" as she calls it. [Rolland is apparently in the hospital, although we're not sure why - the entire service yesterday was in Portuguese and Makua. Keep him in your prayers.] We had this spiced rice and some of the best chicken I've had in a long time! We're really longing for some fruit so we're getting that while in town today.
Barely any of the kids speak English here so we're really getting a chance to learn some Portuguese! In fact, the Mozambiquan Bible School students (who are in training to become pastors), love to trade language lessons. We met a guy named Powa who is teaching us Portuguese in exchange for some English. They really emphasize relationship building here so they encourage that exact thing, and to eat lunch with the national students every day. Mondays are their fasting days for breakfast and lunch so they encourage us to join in on that as well (Don't worry - me and baby are getting plenty of food!). Today is our day off school though - thank goodness! We start class tomorrow and we'll be more ready then, as it has been a whirlwind adventure already with travel and disorientation to new surroundings.
There is a student compound within the Iris base with about 15 little houses, and then and off base sight with about 5 houses. Each house is cynderblock with red mud stucko, a few small windows with screens and bars, and broken marble 'tile' floors. We have a tin roof and grass porch overhang. There is a front and back porch with banana and papaya trees around - it's beautiful to watch the sunrise over the Indian Ocean there! And excellent for quiet time with the Lord. On the on-base site, Darryl and I are in a house with Sachi, Laura, and three other ladies. Darryl and I have our own room and bathroom, and the other ladies are on the other side of the house - we share a small common area or kitchen. We have minimal running water that can 'run out' if we use too much - plus it's cold so easy to take short showers when necessary. The sinks are leaking so Darryl is finding something in town to fix them with. He's come in quite handy to the base - with all his skills! Darryl and I are the "house parents" and we organize house meetings and worship/devtionals. So that works out geat for our Sunday evening prayer meetings we planned to do, linking times with the prayer they have at Mosaic! We are all split up into different color groups/teams though that will do various activities like go on outreach and various class assignments, etc.
Tthe other ladies in our house are from different countries, one is a missionary from Cambodia one is American and one is Scotish. I think we have the most Americans in one house. There are some other Africans from other countries here as well. Other nations represented are Korea, South Africa, Germany, Israel, England, and that's all I can remember right now. There are lots of doctors and nurses here as students also. And two midwives! So that's good to know.
We're starting to get on the time schedule. The sun goes down and comes up early early, so it's different, but we're adjusting quickly and fairly easily. I think it's the temperature mostly that is taking longer to get used to. Especially since us women have to keep so covered up (nothing above or showing the knees). It's pretty warm in our house too, although Darryl and mine's room is the coolest temperature wise. Lots of multicolored lizards around. I've seen a few crazy looking bugs, but nothing scary or dangerous. The most dangerous things so far is all the sandspurs! They stick to the bottom of our shoes and come in the house and then fall off, so when we walk barefoot - ouch!
We're looking forward to jumping into our busy school schedule and getting to know Heidi and the rest of the Iris team. This will truly be the greatest experience of our lives and we're filled with great expectation spiritually. The kids and the Iris staff, Bible School (Pastor) students, and Mozambiquan staff are very friendly and we're enjoying every moment. We'll post more as we experience it in the next week or so. Stay tuned and feel free to leave us a post of your comments and or updates on what's going on.
Pray for me in dealing with the heat. I find it a lot harder to deal with pregnant. I know God is my strength though! And again, pray for Rolland Baker as well as he is in the hospital.
Much Love Always,
Darryl & Meg