Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Masherua (Means Hi in Sena)

The lady at this house taught me how to make "masa" today. I went into her little kitchen and totally invaded her privacy. I took my camera with me and she was a little embarrased at first since she'd never seen a camera before. Then she started warming up to me when she realized that I was trying to speak her dialect, Sena. I learned a few words in Sena today and the people at the communities love it when I say something in their dialect. The kids call me "Muzungo" which is their nickname for anyone that is white. I'm not white but they think I am. It's really funny to me. The wooden object on the bottom right of the picture is used to pound corn. They use the big stick laying on the ground to pound the corn. I helped them do that today and they loved it!

Monday, May 26, 2008

Life's Simple Pleasures

Many people glamorize traveling, but I must attest that there are hardships that come with it. What amazes me about human beings is that no matter how bad the conditions get, we always find a way of dealing with it. There are many commodities people here don't even know exist, and I have to admit that I haven't really needed them. The only commodity I have been missing a bit is my shower. Here are two pictures (inside view and outside view) of what the people in the communities consider a great shower. Today we woke up to no electricity or water (running or drinking). It was hard getting ready for church under those conditions, but we did it. People here wear the most simple things to church. It definitely is not a "fashion show" or beauty contest. That has been a relief because I centainly am in no condition to enter one of the those at this point of the trip. I am also attaching a picture here of the lizard that lives with us (unwelcomed guest he is). I worry about waking up with a lizard in my bed everyday. So far, so good. So far I have had many encounters with "creatures". I almost stepped on a dead rat the other day, and yesterday I sat down on a step and got ambushed by a swarm of red biting ants. They even got in my hair and I had to get some assistance getting them out. The really funny thing is that I love being here. I love Mozambique. I don't need entertainment, makeup, nice clothes, or any other commodities here because nobody expects them or cares if you have them or not. People here value people. Everyone says hi to everyone on the street. People are extremely nice and peaceful. People enjoy the very basic simple things life has to offer us. In my opinion, there are so many beautiful things we can enjoy in life, but the very best simple thing life has to offer us is our connection as human beings to each other.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Care for Life

Today was a celebration day in Casa Banana (one of the communities Care for Life works with). They completed some of their goals so today they received their prizes. The people celebrated with dancing. The dancing was awesome! The people received cement and roofing to make their little houses better. The really diligent people who completed more goals got chairs and a couple even got skinny versions of what we could consider a mattress. It kills me to see the conditions these people live in. We are so lucky to have a house to live in and food in our stomach.

Where's Waldo?

The people got a kick out of seeing me wear the capulana (skirt) I am wearing in this picture. I still need to go buy a lenso (a head scarf). I'm trying to blend into the crowd but it's harder than I thought. Ha ha! I love being here.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Singing and Ridin' Dirty

This is what I woke up to this morning. It was great! This is how the Care for Life staff begin their meetings every Monday and this is how we do transportation in Mozambique... well... that is if you are lucky enough to get to ride on the back of a pickup truck. Otherwise you have to hitch a ride on the local mini vans (which are usually very packed), walk, or ride on the back of someone's old bike. Riding on the back of pick up trucks here is an adventure in and of itself. This camper we are in gets really hot and uncomfortable. One time we saw about thirty people crowd onto the back of a truck. When they jumped off the truck it was like the circus had come to town!

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Africa is Beatiful

It is amazing to me how beautiful this place is. Today we went to the Praya Savana. It is a beatiful beach and it was the perfect beach weather. I felt like I was back in California eventhough I was enjoying the Indian Ocean. We took a boat to go out to the island where the beach was. On the way back, when we waited for the boat to take us back, I took this picture of the sunset. It was a testimony to me that God is no respecter of persons. He gave us all, white or black, big or small, healthy or sick, rich or poor, the same beautiful sun to enjoy.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Creativity at its Best

The kids here are very creative with their toys. They find ways of making them. Here are some toys I have seen kids playing with...

The kids are even more creative than the adults! (Picture 1) I love this little wire car. The wheels are made out of soda cans and they turn too! Any of these kids would be happy to own a ball some day. (Picture 2) The little rock toy with the door was full of little insects. I think it's like a little insect farm the kids play with. (Picture 3) A hopeful bike with only one wheel.


This post is a reply to all the comments posted so far and some extra information on the culture here. I have really enjoyed reading everyone's comments. It keeps my spirits up to read the humorous and inspiring things you have all commented on. Thank you! About the water situation, we just found out yesterday that the water will be out for the rest of the month! Do you know what this means! If you have ever gone camping for a month, you might start getting a bit close to the reality of what the living conditions are like here. I have chosen not to complain. I will probably find a way to wash somehow. It rained a little yesterday and Raquel and I were joking that we should go out to the street and shower while we could. We are beginning to get a little desperate. I won't say the number of days we have gone without a shower. I will reserve that information for only the brave people back home. I have to admit it is at a record high. The funny thing is that everytime we drive past the place where the workers are fixing the pipes, we don't see them working. It's like nobody cares that there is no water. It's sort of funny. Raquel and I really stand out here. The other day we went to a village and one of the little kids got scared when he saw us. He started to cry! They have never seen someone like us before! Most kids warm up to us really quickly. When they see us driving by in a car they wave at us and smile. I love being here. It is nothing like being home. It is such a reality check! I made french toast the other day and cut each slice of bread into four smaller squares. The people had never had french toast. They really liked it. Bread is like gold here.

Thursday, May 15, 2008

The Importance of Evaluation

Yesterday we met with the government here in Mozambique. We were given very little notice that we would be meeting with them. However, I was not nervous because I had written up an evaluation proposal. I showed them my evaluation proposal. I even tried translating parts of it into Portuguese. The lady we met with really liked it. Our interview with the government official was to show them the evaluation I am doing for Care for Life. Care for Life was hoping that by showing the government what we are doing, they will know how serious Care for Life is and offer more assistance to the program. I think we were successful at doing that. We are gathering some great data and I hope to be able to give them an accurate evaluation of their program so they can continue to help people in Mozambique.

Going to the Hair Salon

When I sat down to rest under this tree, I had no idea I was actually going to get my hair done. Yeah. I got an awesome do by this little girl. Her name is pronounced "Myn". She really liked my hair. The funny thing is that I haven't washed it for over four days. Even I don't want to touch it!

A Realidade

The people are extremely poor here. If you haven't been here, you just don't know. It's as poor as it gets. Nobody, nobody in the States is as poor as some of the better off people here. Today our electricity got cut off and again we have been without water for a couple of days now. We have some flour to make some bread and today we bought some chicken. I know many people are starving and I felt guilty eating the small piece of chicken I got today. I know people are dying everyday for lack of food or other illnesses. I am getting much better at speaking Portuguese. It is difficult to speak with the natives since they have their dialects. Today we visited a village community where I made some friends. A group of kids who just followed us everywhere we went. Raquel called it my posee. The little girl in this picture really liked my hair. She gave me the most awesome hair do! I love the people here. This experience has strengthened my belief in education. Many people here are not literate. The problem is knowing how to motivate the people. They cannot relate to many things since all they know is their little villages and the conditions they have lived in their entire lives. The trick is helping them have a desire to read and write and then teaching them in a way that they will relate and see results so that they will feel motivated to improve their lives. On the other hand, there is a small population of the higher class people who are so so smart. I was talking with one of the workers here in Care for Life and he knew SPSS and he was talking to me about pedagogies used to teach the villagers. SPSS! Yeah. Many of them know English too. They know words but they aren't comfortable speaking it.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A Escola

On our walk through the village, Regina took me to a school. All the children crowded around me like a mini mob. It was crazy!!!!!! They all wanted to be in the picture. Then, after I took the picture they wanted to see it. I thought I was never going to get out. They pretty much attacked me, but I was happy that I could make them happy by just taking a picture. I love the kids.

Um Dia Com Regina

Today I felt like I went on splits. Regina and I went to visit many people in a village. She would write down on a paper if they were keeping their goals. Their goals include improving their houses, treating their water so that it is clean to use, and making tables so that their dishes aren't laying on the ground. This is Regina and her mom. Her father passed away when she was three years old. She told me she was really sad. She has two children and they live in this little house in the village with her mom. Despite their poverty, it is easy to see that she is really happy with life. When I asked her mom if I could take a picture of her and Regina she asked me if I would give her time to go inside the house and change into her nice blouse. You don't take a picture every day when you live in a village like this. She really liked the picture.

Um Teatro

The women in this clip are acting out a play that teaches the villagers about why it is important for them to learn how to make a toilet next to their little houses that goes deep enough into the ground. The toilets are called "latrinas". The people here know that if they don't build a toilet deep into the ground it poses health hazards for the people such as cholera. The villagers don't know this so Care for Life teaches them. As Machesas are the huts like the one in this clip. The villagers build them but they are part of the Care for Life program and this is where the village meetings are held. The video is a little shaky because I was a little reluctant to record this. Many of them have never seen a camera before so I did not want to disrupt their meeting by taking pictures and taking video.

Sunday, May 11, 2008


O campo os homens jogan futebol.

The next world cup is in South Africa in 2010. Yeah!!

I thought of Ruthie and Gusvi when I saw these guys play. I wanted to play with them. They were having so much fun! I love soccer!

The Beach

This is at the beach in Mozambique, the capital.

The Capital

In the capital there was a political demonstration going on. I don't know what it was about, but there were lots of people there and they felt strongly about something.

Beautiful Women of Mozambique

I really like this picture.

O Mercado do Mequinino

At the market. What an adventure that was!

No Water

The main reason why we haven't had water is because a water pipe broke and the men here are trying to fix it. Today I took my first shower in four days! It was glorious.

A Igresia (Church)

The picture here is of me right in front of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter day Saints in Beira Mozambique. I took it a couple of days ago. Today I wore my church clothes and went to church. I have been to church in many different places, but this was by far the most humbling version of our church. Surprisingly, I understood a lot of what was said. It was amazing to hear the sacrament being blessed in Portuguese by the men. They were all wearing white shirts and I knew that must have been hard for them to do. White shirts aren't too common around here. The sacrament was great. Bread and water are commodities here. Sacrament was about families and marriage. It's funny to me how just a week ago I was speaking at church on the Light of Christ in my affluent Belmont ward and now I was sitting in a congregation where I could hardly understand the lesson with spiders on the walls! Crazy how life is. After sacrament we took a little break and then came back into the room to have Sunday School which was more like Gospel Doctrine since many people are not baptized yet and are learning the doctrine of the church. One thing I noticed is that people sang hard and were not shy or ashamed to read out loud and participate. I really liked that. After Sunday School we had Relief Society. The lesson was about sharing our riches and our talents. I thought that it was crazy how these women were being taught to share when they really had almost nothing themselves. We sang "As Sisters in Zion" in Portuguese. I will NEVER forget it. Ruthie, I sat there singing "As Sisters in Zion" and I remembered how you had me memorize it. I truly felt like a sister sitting there with all the Mozambican women. They were beautiful carrying their babies on their backs and listening to the lesson. After the lesson, they were given their visiting teaching assignments on a piece of paper (they were handwritten) and many women were not there to receive theirs. It was so humbling to be there and to see how faithful these women are with how little they have. I love church. Primary was beautiful to watch. The children all sat on the floor and sang. I loved it!!

Friday, May 9, 2008

Bom Dia

The children are beautiful. This is when we were leaving the village. The little girl there, she said her name is Maya. She was so beautiful and kept on giving us high fives. Even the older men and women came up to us and said "bom dia" (good day).

As Crianças

So I was sitting with a couple kids. I started taking their pictures and then I would show it to them on the digital camera. I don't think they had ever seen a camera before because they loved it! They laughed when they would see themselves on the screen. Then I started putting my sunglasses and my shoes on them. They laughed. Their little bare feet were rough and sometimes they had cuts on their legs or feet. It broke my heart. Maybe next time I will bring some lotion with me to the village. They kept on starring at me like they had never seen someone like me before. It was great. I loved the kids. I thought it was so great how the technology immediately drew them to me. Later, after this picture was taken many more came and sat there with us. By the time it was time to go I was surrounded by kids. It was awesome!!! I even got to hold a little baby. Later on in the day we witnessed un teatro. The villagers had a little play out in the open and it was funny. I didn't really understand it because some of it was in Portuguese, but most was in their native African dialect. It was great to be there. I am learning lots of Portuguese.

Airplane View

Airplane view of Mozambique. It is really green here. Not too much civilization as you can see. The airplane view down on Johannesburg was a lot more brown.

This Morning

The weather is really hot and humid here. It is winter here but it feels like the middle of summer in Utah. Crazy! The sun went down at 6pm and the streets were full of people still out buying things and working. The buses here are called chapas and people pay to ride them. They are not really buses but more like family vans. Yesterday we went downtown to exchange money and to buy some food. It was an adventurous trip. Many times I felt like we were going to run over pedestrians, but that's just the way people drive here. Here the pedestrian does not have the right of way. The little boys were asking me for money but we are not allowed to give them anything. I wish I could give them something. This morning I was eating a piece of bread when we were asked to step into a room to introduce ourselves. I was taken to the front of a room full of Mozambican people and I had to introduce myself in Portuguese. Yeah. It was stressful, but luckily Raquel went first and then I kind of copied her and let people know that I'm still learning Portuguese. Everyone smiled at me and I felt good. After the short introduction people left to go work in the fields. I wanted to go with them, but I guess we don't start work till Monday. I'm so excited to get out and meet the people. That's really what this trip is all about. Forget the fact that we have no running water and that my computer crashed. Yeah, that stinks, but the place and the people are beautiful and that's really why I'm here.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

These are our sleeping quarters. It's been a long time since I slept in a bunk bed. We found mouse droppings on the beds. That wasn't very comforting. Raquel ran out of water mid shower too. I haven't showered yet, but at least I know now to take a quick one. This is going to be interesting. So worth it though. Lots of fun!!!

This is the Johannesburg airport. This is the passport check point.

From Johannesburn to Beira

The journey was long but so worth it. I loved it!!! Johannesburg is a great city and I took lots of pictures. I bought some African jewelry at the airport. It's really beautiful. I also got asked to be some guys African queen. He said something about him being a prince and he needed two wives. He said he already had one but he was looking for another. It was really funny. The airplane trip was long. I felt like my legs went numb. It was a 15 hour flight. I think I watched five movies. I sat in the plane next to a girl who was going to South Africa to teach preschool. She was really nice and we totally became friends. She goes to school in Florida and we even talked about religion. She was so cool. Our hotel cost us $61 just for the one night we were there. We ordered pizza with Raquel (that's the name of the girl I came to Africa with) and we talked till late at night. Today we flew to Beira. The plane trip was about two hours long. Beira is third world at its best. I love it! It reminds me of Guatemala, not the city, but the little towns. We went shopping for food and people kept on starring. I felt like I stuck out like a sore thumb. The people here are really nice and already I have learned lots of Portuguese. I am very grateful Raquel is from Brazil and is fluent because it would be really hard for me if she weren't. I will keep posting, stay tuned for more. I will also try to post some pictures next time.