Hope this post finds you well and you are enjoying your summer. The McHugh tribe is good although with only Jacob left at home we are a small tribe! This mamma misses her kids being at home but is more than proud of them and that they are off living life as they should be!
So Tom and I made it back from our adventure in Africa. We had a great time and enjoyed ourselves immensely. Africa…..such a different world. Tom had been to Kenya and Mozambique before, but for me, it was my first time. Thus, it was a bit of a culture shock for me and especially with being so tired when we arrived…48 hours of straight traveling with about 22 of that being on a plane. There were people everywhere…walking all about going someplace. Many of them were also grouped together along side of the road selling oranges, avocados, bananas, charcoal, wood or sugar came. As we traveled closer to the coast, boys were out on the side of the road selling shrimp and then more inland in the small village, boys ran along side of the slow moving cars when and were selling nuts. You would see many women walking along the roadside with bushel baskets of their goods and a baby strapped to their back. The children too and many would also have a baby strapped to their back. Some men had bicycles and they were loaded down with charcoal or large logs as well. It was incredible what loads these men would have on their bikes. So many people all living outside and only sleeping in their dark little mud huts. Yet, they all live in community. A different way of live than what I know.
They also live without much and are happy. The live simply. They don't have to concern themselves with insurance, changing the oil in the car, charging the computer or even what the latest iPhone is. I feel no need to feel sorry for them or indulge them with things from my world. They have their own culture, their own customs and their own way of living. As any race or nation though, we can learn from one another. Thus, this country of Mozambique is learning from people like Tracy Evans, Nate & Julie Miller, Heide, Natalie, Sarah and the Fitzsimons as well as the others on base that are called to live and work there. They are learning about trust and Jesus. They are learning about casting vision for the future for their children and their land from Nate & Julie. They are receiving an education from the Frtzsimons. The Beechers are teaching them wood crafting skills so that they can make a living and support their families. Sarah keeps the base in tack while Heide and Natalie can share the gospel and help them care for the babies who have lost their mothers. It is a beautiful base with a beautiful mission that help support many local Mozambiqan livelihoods.
So we arrived safely and got right to work. Tom was put on task of building a 4 sided sea saw. This will teach the kids balance. I can see it now…all the kids, about 60 of them, will try to all balance on the beams at once. He also worked on Natalie's ceiling fan, some shelves in Sarah's room, the new fencing for the Creche school and some chalking in Nate & Julie's room. I helped Julie write out thank you postcards for the financial gifts that were received. I also mended many little green uniforms mixed with the scent of the earth and sweat from their little bodies.
I spent some time in the school and enjoyed watching the daily tasks of the children while they recited things they learned and traced the letters of their names. One of my favorite things was watching them line up to get their toothbrushes and then go over to Mumba and get a dab of toothpaste squeezed onto their toothbrush. After that they all sat down on their grass mat and Mumba directed them in brushing as he counted to 10. When they covered their entire mouth, they all filed out the door over to the fence with a glass of water to swish and spit. They then rinsed out their mouth with water, came back in and returned their toothbrushes to the toothbrush holder. A sight to see in for this American girl.
My other favorite moment was when the children were asking me questions….how old was I, how many children did I have, did I have a goat and did I have chickens. They then proceeded to tell me what their morning looked like before they came to school. Most mornings consisted of them watching the siblings while their mother carried oil or long sticks of wood on her head back to thee home to cook with. When asked if I carried wood on my head to made breakfast, I explained to them that I do not carry wood on my head, but that I have a stove and I push a button and it makes fire. I am not sure if they understood this concept or not.
Another highlight of the trip was going out into the village and seeing the homes of the children. Quite different than our home. When we arrived, the children would run into the house and get their best chairs for us to sit on. These chairs might be kitchen chairs if you had money. If not, then you would probably get a little bench. At one home we visited, we were given an old tire for a seat. My most memorable home was that of 3 women and one nursing a baby, sitting on the red hard ground pulling all the corn off of the cob so it could dry it and then be preserved for the hunger season. There were a few children there but once our voices were heard, other children came running towards us from the path. Soon there were about a dozen little African children dressed in their stained and torn clothing ready to visit with play and laugh. Julie gathered them and we sang and then played a game….sort of like tag. It was so fun and the children squealed and giggled when trying to tag one another.
My stories could go on and on. I miss the children and their smiling faces. I learned so much and my eyes saw so much. I ate sudza and beans and fried cavassa which tasted like a homemade french fry….one of my favorite foods. I walked through the village that was tall with grass and shrubs and happy not to run into any snakes. I did like wearing my sneakers though…that way the ants did not crawl all over my toes and up my legs. I also like buying bananas and avocados along the side of the road. It was fun to bless them with more money than they wanted for their produce. Then of course, being in their generous culture, they insisted we take a few more bananas. Mozambique was beautiful and the view out the front porch was stunning.
After two weeks in the village of ___, we then headed to Johannesburg, South Africa, were we rented a little car…this was our Safari vehicle for Kruger National Park where we saw elephants, hippos, rhinos, crocodiles, guinna hens and lots of fun birds, a turtle, wart hogs, giraffes, kudus, impalas and zebras. So fun. We did not see any lions or leopards. Next time. To see they wild animals in the wild was stunning and incredible.
After South Africa, we then got on our flight to London where we enjoyed time with Russell and Liz Challis. We visited Windsor Palace and other homes with beautiful gardens. Tom got to enjoy a fast car ride in Russels sports car, we ate in a pub that was over 600 years old and also drove around the countryside and toured old churches and villages. Our last stop was to have tea, of course! The next day we walked along the Thames River and got a tour in a long boat. It belonged to a couple that was on their way through the channels to London. Ahhh, England….I love those old homes and small quaint villages.
After 3 days in London, we then headed back home…Redding, California! It felt good to be home and back on track again of planting the summers garden, making soap, hosting guests from around the world, gathering eggs and being with my kids once again.
So thank you everyone for all your financial support and purchases from The Essential Olive that helped us visit Mozambique. We were truly blessed as well as Nate and Julie and the people of Mozambique!
Bon Dia! (That is Good Day in Portuguese)
Tom & Debbie