Sunday we made a group outing to Santa Carolina also known as Paradise Island, the most exotic and least visited of islands that sits off the coast of Vilankulo and Inhassoro. We took a local dhow boat out to the islands and were pretty much the only people there the entire day. It was the last big hurrah for the Pehams before they set off on their African road trip and move back to Austria.
The island used to be the gem of African honeymooners in the 1970s, pre-civil war. But during the fighting it was abandoned and now the entire island is a national park – no one is allowed to live, develop or sleep on the island.
It is gorgeous! I live on a beautiful beach, but this one is even more spectacular. Plus, after snorkeling, picnicking and swimming in the aqua waters – we got to explore the hotel ruins, and wandering through abandoned buildings is always fun.
That all said in done, there were two cheerless moments following the trip:
- Sea sickness. Yes, I got sick overboard. Pretty gross.
- I had to say good bye to the Pehams; my friends, neighbors, boss, yoga teacher and surrogate family here.
It was rather heartbreaking. In fact, I started crying before they got in the car and I couldn’t even give real hugs to the kids since I was a sad mess. I thanked them for their generosity and friendship and with a final hug, Helga told me to be happy and make the most of my time here.
As their car drove away, I had a clear understanding that that moment marked the closing of My Mozambique Life, Part I and transition into the next chapter.
Okay? … Yes. It’s gonna be more than okay.
The Pehams have been packing up and preparing to move back to Austria. As sad as their leaving is to consider, they are trying to visit and do all the last minute day trips and local adventures before they make their grand departure. Luckily I get to tag along with them for some of these trips.
One of their favorite places to visit, as well as one of mine, is the local sand dunes. The sand is a rich sierra mud color and rises up to overlook the bush on one side and the ocean on the other.
We have spent several long afternoons climbing the sands, sliding down the steep sides or running down the big hill that leads to the sea. I am always in awe of the colors, scale and exoticism of the environment. After exploring the sandy canyons, the beach beckons. Rarely is anyone on the isolated beach – so there is prime shell collecting, crab hunting and skivvy-swimming to be had.
I’m not exactly sure how I’ll get there without a car (maybe a three hour beach walk), but I look forward to having guests so that we can go camping on top of the dunes. I can only imagine the stars are extra big, bright and shiny up there. Of course, it is illegal to camp in Mozambique unless in a marked camp ground – but really, there is no one ever there and it’s apart of the adventure.
This picture above is just a journal entry about my sketches- the real ones are a bit bigger and better. The purpose of the drawings was to illustrate the different steps in the production cycle and help teach the rural women about the business model. Since most of the women we work with are illiterate, we rely on many visual aids and games for training workshops.
My tutor, Hamida, came over to my house for a language lesson this evening. Lesson usually means we sit and chat for a while, then maybe read a few pages out of a portuguese book or my text book, then go back to talking till an hour or two has passed. Our discussions are rather desultory. We share basic information about our families, friends, favorite food, and our homes, but I am always delighted when we get to meaty topics like African witches, how to get rid of rats, what malaria feels like, the importance of quality hand-calluses, etc. Our conversations consists of a lot of me saying something in broken portuguese/spanish/english – then Hamida corrects me, I repeat the phrase 2 or 3 times, then we move on until the next solecism is committed.
Tonight’s lesson was especially funny, since Hamida arrived and immediately announced that she wanted to braid my hair. “Really? Okay!” but 20 minutes into the styling, the power went out, so Hamida continued to work away for the next hour and a half in the dark while wearing my head-lamp.
I’ll let you just enjoy the photo of my new corn-rows. I resemble a bona fide Caribbean tourist. Perhaps a bit stupid looking, but I plan to rock them for at least a few days. I don’t really have any one to impress here, and it’ll certainly make Hamida happy. So please, have a giggle at my expense.
Sadly, the braids came out after just 3 days – the humidity didn’t keep them looking very classy. However I did get to have a crimped coiffure for another day. Having naturally very strait hair, it was rather exciting to have a bit of fluff and texture but more so I looked like a flash from the 80s past.