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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Life otherwise...

Life has continued to be eventful since I returned from Mozambique on Monday evening. I spent most of Tuesday with my older sister Joni, brother-in-law Jeff, Baby Face, and Baby Face's younger sister Mallory Jo that was born only a few days before I left for seven weeks.

It was good to see them again, especially Leah and Mallory. I also went with Joni [above] to take Mallory to meet Grandmom for the first time. After dinner Joni, Jeff, Leah, and I went swimming. At 23-months-old, Leah was fearless! She went right to the steps and started walking in! We are going to have to get that baby some sufficient floaties, because she wants FREEDOM in the water. Then we had banana cream pie for dessert and they were gone.

In other news, my friend Nahun's parents are visiting the States for a World Gospel Mission conference at my university. The missions organization WGM is celebrating 100 years of evangelism, and they have come as honored guests and pastors from Honduras. They are living on campus, but I have been hosting them during their time here.
Nahun told them his friend Joya [me] lived in Indiana and that I might be attending the conference since I am so involved in missions, but he didn't remember that I actually attend IWU and live only ten minutes away. So his parents weren't actually expecting me to walk up to them and greet them, "Pastor Fredy Zelya and Sonia Garcia!? I can't believe I'm meeting you here!" I should mention that Nahun and I actually met on Facebook, and we only know each other via Facebook and Skype, but we have been good friends for two years.

I have really enjoyed spending time with Papa Fredy and Mama Sonia. Since we met Thursday evening we have shared a meal at the local mexican restaraunt La Charreada, and at Taco Bell, and we have been to Wal-Mart three times. First, because when you're in Marion, the first thing to see is the Wal-Mart Superstore. The next two times we went for flipflops and candies and souvenirs for the grandkids. I am excited for them to visit my church tomorrow night!
I will be sad when they leave and I hope next time they visit, they bring their son - my friend - Nahun.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

On eating in Moçambique

Food was an interesting concept in Moçambique. Having had a variety of foods in Mexico, Honduras, the Dominican Republic, Ecuador, and Cambodia, I wasn't sure what to expect there.

The cuisine of Mozambique revolves around fresh seafood, stews, corn porridge (maize meal called shima), rice, and mandioca (cassava). Rare meats such as steak and chicken are accompanied by beans, cassava fries, cashew nuts, coconut, greens, and potatoes. Garlic and peppers are used for spices. Mozambique's papaya and pineapples are known as some of the juiciest in the world. Chá (tea) accompanies most meals (at least in the winter, while I was there,) and is served with bread or cassava at mid-morning tea time.

I always had bread or cereal for breakfast, then shared tea and lunch with my students or in the communities, and usually returned to the missionary's home for dinner.

Hand washing - a hostess always comes around with a pitcher of warm water and a basin, and as she pours the water over your hands into the basin, you clean as you would normally, there just isn't soap. When you decide that you are finished, she hands you a drying towel.
I was pretty sure a few times that my hands were dirtier after I had washed them than they were before I had touched the towel.

Shima and Greens - not my favorite meal. Shima is a mashed and boiled corn meal, very similar to mashed potatoes, but very thick and sticky. Greens are soupy leaves in a mixture of coconut and peanut.

Rice and Fish
I assisted in the preparation of this particular meal; our "kitchen" was outside under a tree, over a large fire. It wasn't this particular fish, but this chicken-lover learned to eat and to like fish! See below:

Washing dishes and gutting the fish - both very new experiences for me. I learned how to gut a fish with only my two thumbs, and I learned how to wash pots with dirt and ashes.

Boiling rice

Grinding corn to make shima

This meal was a real feast

Eating in South Africa was a Westernized experience, except for all the bats under this picnic pavilion at Kruger Park

What do you want to read about next?

Friday, June 25, 2010

Serenity: The Indian Ocean

My house in Moçambique was only a three minute walk from what you see below -- the Indian Ocean. With the soft white sand and clear blue water, it is the most beautiful shoreline that I have ever seen. Praia de Xai Xai (Xai Xai Beach) is a pool of Great White Sharks, but the natural sandstone reef, protruding just above the water, provided a barrier to the shore. I walked the road (seen in picture #2) every morning, and often once or twice again, during my first three weeks in Moçambique. It was incredibly creepy after dark (5:30p,) but was the perfect way to start my morning - basking in the glory of God's overwhelming love and goodness.

Tomorrow's post will be about FOOD!

Thursday, June 24, 2010

"Tah rah tah roe" featuring: Irashmo & Company

Here are some of those little Mozambicans I told you about yesterday::

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

My Cherished Little Ones

Every morning during the three weeks I ministered at the Bible college, I spent with the children in the creché. The creché is the on-campus "daycare" for the children who are too old to stay with their mothers in class, but are too young to go to school (or supervise themselves.) I had fourteen children mostly between 18 months and four years.

We blew bubbles, colored Bible story pictures, and ran lots and lots. I taught them 'Red Light Green Light' and 'Follow the Leader' and they taught me their own version of 'Duck Duck Goose'. Sometimes we ate dirt, peed on each other's feet, threw rocks, and cried, but the rest of the morning was filled with laughter and smiles.

I want you to meet each one. I know pictures are worth a thousand words, but these children could only truly be captured by touching and hearing and smelling. Each one had their own personality, and they were a joy to know and love. I miss them very very much.


Tatenda is a sweet little girl with beautiful eyes and a beautiful smile; she can also move her hips like I have never seen another little girl do. She is the oldest in the creché and thinks she can run the place, but she was usually kind. She loved bubbles, and everyday she would ask to wear my watch.


Grace is as beautiful as her sister Tatenda, and her hair is as soft as her bum. She loves to laugh and she loves to wrinkle paper! Grace always came to the creché with her mother, who would come shortly before I left. I never once heard her cry or fuss.


João is a sneaky little boy with a big personality. He is one of the oldest in the creché and is a leader; the other little boys always wanted to do what João was doing. He has a scratchy little voice that always got deeper when he was angry or being a copy-cat. He has big lips, long eye-lashes. He loved to carry my bag to the creché, and he loved to kiss me on the cheek. For an entire week he called me "Blanco" (White,) until finally he learned my Portuguese name, Joya. I always arrived when he was eating breakfast and he would run up to me, "Joya! Joya! Joya!"


Gabriel is my sweet little cuddle-bug who was always very upset when I gave the others attention. He adored me, and I adored him. He is bigger than most of the other children, but he found his home on my lap, head against my chest, one hand in mine, and the other around my neck. His belly, neck, and armpits are very ticklish, and he also enjoyed piggyback rides as I chased the other little boys. Gabriel followed me every afternoon while I did chores with the students.


Timoteo is "the baby tank." He is big, and he is solid. It took Timoteo two days to warm up to me, but like his brother Gabriele, he was attached to me. When my team was there in May, Timoteo wasn't shy, but he was stoic - showing no emotion, and content to only sit and watch. I was estatic the first day Timoteo ran waddled to me with his arms up, wanting to be held; he then smiled and laughed when I tickled his belly. He isn't quite 2-years and isn't vocal, but he attempts to sing and copy-cat when you speak at his level. He often smelled sour, but it didn't stop me from carrying him close.


Japheth (Jah-fet) is my little querida (sweetheart). He is quiet and content to play alone, but he is very sweet and very sensitive. He loved to sit on my lap and kiss me on both cheeks, then turn his face to be kissed by me. Japheth always sat next to me at lunch, and gave me the biggest hello and goodbye bear hugs.


Snotty-nosed Mo was my favorite from almost day one. He smiled big, sung loud, and cried a lot. Like his sister Maria, he is a cry baby and was bullied a lot by João and the others because the kids knew Mo would react in a big way. He loved bubbles and would ask me every morning if I had any. He loved having his picture taken, and had the biggest giggle.


Maria, Mo's little sister, is a beautiful little girl. She was quite sick from malaria during my time there, but was in the creché my last full week. She would cry when her mama left, but only until I picked her up. She was usually the first to see me coming every morning and would run away to tell the others, "Blanco Joya! Blanco Joya!"


Dito was the youngest regular in the creché, and I would often find him eating dirt. He rarely smiled and he rarely cried. On my last day I brought handfuls of heart stickers and Dito looked adorable with 6 or 7 on his forehead. The poor little boy had asthma and a big wheeze, but it didn't keep him from playing.


Calamesa was a sweet girl who too wise to be influenced by Tatenda to do wrong. She was also one of the oldest and the only one that I would trust to hold the bottle of bubbles. When any of the younger children cried, Calamesa would either bring them in hand to me or would run to get me. She loved to be picked up and spun around.


Elena was a beautiful little girl with a precious laugh. It took her over a week to warm up to me, and it wasn't until my last week that she wouldn't cry when her sister, Calamesa, left her. One day we made bead bracelets, and everyday she would show me her bracelets on each arm.


Simeon was a very cute two-year old boy that always smelled wonderful. He loved to talk with me and grab my hand to show me something. He was a wonderful dancer and clapper. Almost everyday, he snuck into the afternoon class I was auditing and would play in my lap until he eventually fell asleep.


Jonah is the boy on the left, next to the grumpy João. He was a polite boy with a precious little smile. He was the only child to greet me with "Bom dia" (good morning,) and would respond with "Esto bem" (I am good) when I asked. He always came to the creché wearing a coat, and when he decided that he was warm enough, he would take it off and put it on his little brother Markito. Jonah loved the big beach balls I brought, and he loved to kick the other kids when they got in his way.


Marcus Matussee Jr. is the cutest baby I saw in Africa. He is also the happiest. He would only let me hold him for a few minutes before he squirmed away to chase the others. Even when he was pushed over, he would quickly get up and keep running.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Culture shock...

I'm have been home since yesterday evening and re-adjusting to life here. I was very sad to leave my friends in Mozambique, but it's good to be at home again. I was very happy to see my parents and I'm anxious to see my sister and brother-in-law and nieces tonight. I'm even more anxious to see Jessie (twin sis) when we pick her up from the airport on Friday evening.

I'm still debriefing all of Mozambique, but I'll tell you this: It certainly was a more difficult trip and there were many challenges, including loneliness, feelings of inadequacy, burying little 9-month-old Joaquim, and the robbery/break-in. It was definitely a stretching time, and a good learning experience. Even during my trip home, the devil still had an agenda.

I fought delay after delay after delay, and missed my final connecting flight home. Somehow, I lost a shoe. Yes, somewhere between Mozambique and South Africa, I lost my right sandal. I was walking through the Johannesburg airport and realized I only had one sandal. That doesn't just happen.

I was very sad to leave the friends that I had made, but I am happy to be home. I am definitely full of mixed emotions and really trying to process them quickly before I leave for Puerto Rico next Tuesday.

I have culture shock. I almost swallowed my gum when the Arby's cashier in the Atlanta airport said my meal cost $8.51. When I saw traffic flowing on the right side of the highway (instead of the left,) I thought they're going to crash. There is plentiful hot water, and the electricity hasn't sputtered yet. Everyone is so clean. It's 10:49am now and it's nearing what would be my bed time in Mozambique.

The view from of the Indian Ocean from my veranda

Pictures and stories to come...

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Quicky Quick Update on Life

Between little Joaquim's funeral and the break-in at the missionary's home, the beginning of this week was very discouraging. However, it really has been an awesome week. Classes were canceled Monday and Tuesday for the funeral and grieving, but were commenced again on Wednesday.

My daily schedule looks about like this: Arrive at the school before 7:30 and sit with the students (36 in total) as they finish breakfast.

The main building on the campus of the Wesleyan Bible College in Xai Xai, Mozambique
When the students go to class, I take all the children to the creche (daycare) until 9:30. There are usually between 10 and 12 children, and we play games, color, draw in the dirt, etc. Yesterday, we made bracelets! I have been trying to teach all the children my portuguese name, Joya, however every morning they revert to greeting me, "Blanco Blanco" (white.)

My little bffs Japheth and Irasmo

At 9:30 I join the students for tea, bread, and fellowship. 6 or 7 speak English very well, and my portuguese vocabulary is always extended. On Mon, Wed, and Fri we have chapel from 10 to 11, but on Tues and Thurs I teach English. From 11 to 1 I assist Grandma Sue (an Australian missionary nurse) in teaching Community Health. It is really surprising (and sad) how little the students understand about even handwashing and basic sanitation.

Quite - he truly believes in his heart that he will marry an American, so I promised to show his picture to all my friends

We have lunch (rice & beans, or fish & shima) at 1:00 and start chores at 2:00. For chores I have done a variety of things such as: transplanting and watering grass, sweeping the paths, and burying trash. I always have a good time chatting with the students that I'm working with - teaching English, learning Portuguese, comparing our cultures, and sometimes singing. I will be very sad to leave them this weekend.

More pictures::

Pretenda's little sister

Marcus Matusee Jr. - the cutest baby around

The Creche - Simeone, Elena, Calimencia, Pretenda, Jonah, Joao, Japheth, Timeteo, and Gabriele


Tomorrow I will be preaching at Joao and Idenia's church. I will be preaching on Matthew 6:33 and "Putting First Things First". Thank you for your prayers!

Friday, June 11, 2010

Love from around the world

My two best friends are right now are something like seven and nine time zones away.

My sister, Jessie, is doing awesome things in the Philippines. She is living in the church and working with a local pastor, doing youth and children's ministry, preaching, visiting squatter's villages, etc. Similar to me, she led a team for three weeks and is now there alone for a five-week internship. This is her second visit to the Philippines and she is having the time of her life! You can read her blog HERE.

My friend, Loren, who went with me to Cambodia last summer and is also an ICD (International Community Development) major, is spending the majority of her summer in Los Angeles, California. Loren is also doing an internship and she spends her days tutoring, planning for the summer camp, doing administrative work, helping out with the after-school program, and with the staff. You can read her blog HERE.

Please keep Jessie and Loren in your prayers! That they would be safe, that they would be strong and encouraged, that God would use them, and that God would teach them!
I also have other friends working, ministering, or studying in Haiti, China, India, Spain, Italy, Brazil, Malawi, Cambodia, and all around the world! [Mostly because most of my friends are from within the Intercultural Studies or ICD programs.]