MISSION – PROGRESS

March 2019

After being in South Africa since 13 Jan 2019, we finally returned to Mozambique at beginning March.

As we were still awaiting our Visas, we could only stay for 30 days on the visitor’s visa. The procedure to obtain a work & residence visa is very involved and this required us to travel between Maputo and Johannesburg quite a few times during Feb. 

Finally the last of the requirements were met, documents stamped by a number of government departments in Mozambique and our applications were lodged in Johannesburg, phew. The export and import permits for my two dogs were obtained from the various authorities, and the required injections were done. There is just no chance that I could ever leave my puppies behind.

Whilst still in SA, I somehow managed to damage my ankle and had to have an operation to repair the damage.  I told the Orthopedic Surgeon that we were leaving for Mozambique on 3 March and that I cannot return to Johannesburg on the expected date to have the cast off.  I gave him a brief description of where we stay and our conditions, with no medical facilities or doctor nearby.  He was concerned that I will pick up an infection so he gave me a list of instructions, do’s and don’ts, and the cast came off the day before we left.

So, on crutches and all, we headed back to Mozambique on 3 March to continue our work there. Fortunately, my pick-up is automatic and it was my left ankle that was operated on so I had no issues with driving.

 During this time we stayed at the First Baptist Church in Ponta do Oura and commuted to Malongane everyday. How wonderful it was to be back in Mozambique. With all the commuting up and down, progress was a bit slower than anticipated. Derick and I continued with the time consuming task of clearing the bush. 

We then contracted the help of a fellow brother in Christ, who we met at First Baptist Church Ponta do Oura. We needed a caretaker who could assist with the labour as we cannot do it all by ourselves, and to look after the mission grounds when we need to make a trip back to SA.  And then there were 3 😊. Elisio is 26 and is from Quelimane, up North.

Having him with us and working with us brought new challenges our way. Our Portuguese is limited and Elisio’s English is also limited. So we got by with hand signs, motions and google translate.

You would be surprise at how quickly we started picking up words from each other’s language.

In the short 5 weeks way, the regrowth of where we cleared in January was standing 4 foot high. Luckily as it was still young, it was fairly easy for me to get it out the ground.

All 3 of us laboured every day without fail and cleared enough space for our camp (and ultimately where the church will be built), then we moved onto the area where our Casa will be built. Amazing how quickly the heap of branches grow when clearing.

Derick and Elisio continued with the heavier work and I took on the easier tasks. It was such a pleasure to stand back at the end of each day and observe our days work done. Here are a few before and after pictures:

The days are still very hot and between the sweat and the dust, we all had a temporary tan (which washed off in the shower).

Our lunch break consisted of a quick meal of boiled eggs, pao and a softdrink, with the bush being our dining room, we plonked ourselves down on the ground or wheelbarrow, said Grace and then consumed our lunch.

Sometimes we have to change our plans a little to accommodate someone else’s need. This young man from a neighbouring homestead who always pops in to see what we are up to, handed me his school bag. With his hand gestures I got the message that he needed it fixed. He ran off and appeared again a short while later with cotton and a needle. It did not take long to sew the bag together and I was rewarded with a huge smile when I handed him the bag back. Isn’t that what it is all about?

Saturday is our “off” day. We took a drive to a neaby lodge and enjoyed a a Vanilla milkshake, complete with a biodegradable straw – a bamboo straw. What a stunning view of the ocean, or God, in all His splendor, has created a beautiful world for us to live in.

On Sundays after church we usually take the long way home to do some scouting in the area, where there is NO ROAD I might add 😊. Derick enjoys a good challenge and thought it very funny …. me sitting on the end of my seat, neck long trying to look over the bonnet, eyes big like saucers each time we got on top of a hill and starting the downhill.  The scenery is just breathtaking, we are so blessed to have been called to do God’s work here.

As always, lots of little critters come to visit us and I just love watching them go about their day.


 

7 – 11 January 2019

Boy oh boy, are we missing Amos and Mario. It is SO quiet without them in camp.  We miss the morning rusks and coffee, the evening fellowship and laughs with them as well as the evening devotion together.

This week we continued to clear, we moved compost heaps and created a drive-through for ease of turnaround for the vehicles and camping trailer. The area where the church is going to be built is now completely cleared.

We started breaking up camp on Friday 11th just after lunch.  We left Malongane around 8 on Saturday 12th.  Our wait at the border was only about 45 minutes and after a few stretch-our-leg-stops, we arrived back home early evening.

The next few pictures were all taken in Malongane and dedicated to all the awesome little critters we came across during our stay there 🙂

02 – 04 Jan 2019

Another scorching day in Malongane. But that did not dampen our spirits – lots of fluids and we are as right as rain.

Today we finished creating steps in the pathway using branches that were cut during the clearing process. Some places seemed a bit steep for us but the locals walk up and down it as if it is level ground.

Pathway steps in place

With the electricity finally sorted, the borehole pump running and the pipes all in place, and after flushing the system, we were ready to open the tap we installed next to the pump house at the bottom of the property for the community. This was the moment of truth. What a magnificent sight, praise our Lord, borehole water was gushing out of the tap. Nearly immediately, some local children brought their drums and started filling it with water.  Running water is not something that is found at every homestead. Some of the locals have to walk quite a distant to fill their drums with borehole water.

Whilst we were doing the last little bit of fixing, some of the local children were sitting nearby eating berries from the trees whilst waiting for us to finish.

Once we got back to the temporary camp, we installed a tap for the camp as well. This was such a luxury to us as we were over the moon. Until now, just like the locals, we also had to walk to our neighbour’s homestead to fetch drums of water for cooking and cleaning.

Running water in camp – YAY!

As the afternoon progressed, we started clearing some more in the campsite. Mario has proved that he is not afraid of heights (something Amos and Kathy stay away from) and climbed the trees to cut loose the creeper ropes. We are not sure what it is called but we named it Tarzan ropes. They grow quite thick, some of them the width of a tree stump. It grows all over the place and strangle the trees. It climbs in the trees and crawls back to the ground and sinks its roots under the ground then it pops up again a few meters away and up the next tree.

Mario cutting the Tarzan ropes loose

For the last two days we continued clearing brushes at the camp site. The clearing is time consuming. We used pangas, axes, hand saws, chain saws and pruning sheers to mention a few. At night we had great laughs comparing who had the most dirt on them before washing up for dinner. Having water in camp has certainly made everything so much easier for us. We had access to water right in camp to have our bath and showers. Much needed cleansing I must add.

Today, Friday is the last day that Amos and Mario is with us. Tomorrow they will be going home (Homoine in Inhambane province in Mozambique) for 10 days for a much needed rest.

Tuesday 01 January 2019

Our day started a little later than usual. We needed to catch up on the sleep lost. One thing the locals do very well is celebrate. Fireworks could be heard from the village. With us staying in a tent, the sound is not dampened as it would with brick walls. The surrounding homesteads were each playing their own (different) music and at full blast. It was going to be a long night.

It is now 9am and still no sign of the technician who was meant to connect our power at 7am. We tried reaching him but no luck. Eventually we managed to get hold of him.

Donned with our pig skin gloves, the four of us marched down to the bottom, the furthest gum pole from the camp. Derick came up with an idea to unwind the barbed wire from the roll without puncturing our hands. The men quickly built the contraption and voila, we are ready to go.

We placed the contraption at the top of the property next to the driveway and started walking down with the one end. Putting up the fence took us one day, much quicker than what we anticipated. The four of us worked well together as a team and each one of us had a particular duty assigned to us which contributed to the job being done quickly.

Around 5pm the local electricity provider finally arrived to connect our electricity . We were all so happy one would think they brought us presents. We now have power complete with a portable control panel which we can take with us and top up with units as we need it.

Tonight Derick is preparing chicken on the braai and Kathy is making a toss salad to go with the chicken and Pao (something we all learnt to enjoy tremendously).

Monday 24 – 31 Dec 2018

During the next few days we continued clearing the area immediately around us, we cleaned up the paths, and added some gum poles as steps for the locals to make it a little easier to walk up and down.

We started digging the 1m deep trenches required for the water pipes and electrical cable.  The distance is about 120m from the bottom of the property to the top.  This was quite a task. The 3 men dug for 2 days to get this mammoth job done. Kathy supervised and brought them refreshments 🙂

Logs used as steps in steep areas

Christmas day was very special.  This is the day our Lord and Saviour was born and we start the day off thanking God for Jesus and for what he did on the cross for our salvation.  We thanked him for the fellowship together and for all he has provided followed by our morning devotion. Amos and Mario read from the Portuguese Bibles we gave them for Christmas, both most pleased with the gift.

We then took a drive out to just other side Mamoli where we found a quant little restaurant. The owner Rainha (who lives just behind the restaurant) was super friendly.  We ordered Chicken which was made from scratch by Rainha and her daughter – most certainly worth the wait.

Once we arrived back in Malongane, we decided to treat ourselves to a Milkshake at Crabs. What a brilliant decision that was – in the heat of the day it was just what we needed.  Back at camp we enjoyed the Christmas cake we purchased at the bakery in Ponta do Oura the day before.

Our day came to an end and so we enjoyed the fellowship at camp before evening devotion and yes, you guessed it, straight to bed.

Evening devotion

On Sunday we had the pleasure of Greg, Nicky and Alex joining us for Sunday teaching & devotion at camp.

btf

Another great night’s sleep and we’re off to an early start again. Today we planted the rest of the poles for our fence.  Derick installed the pump control system and db board for the camp in the little pump house at the bottom of the property. We also had a quick introductory meeting with one of the local chiefs in Malongane.

Sunday 23 December 2018

Today is the Lord’s day and that means, we rest. As always, we attended the morning service at First Baptist Church in Ponta do Oura and then returned back to Malongane. After a hearty bacon, egg, fried tomato, toasted pao and baked bean brunch, we gathered in the shade where we had amazing fellowship together. Although no physical work was done, we walked around the property and discussed how to move forward and what will be done the next day. For dinner we made curry and rice and soon thereafter, we all retired for the evening.

Today is the Lord’s day and that means, we rest. As always, we attended the morning service at First Baptist Church in Ponta do Oura and then returned back to Malongane.

After a hearty bacon, egg, fried tomato, toasted pao and baked bean brunch, we gathered in the shade where we had amazing fellowship together.

Although no physical work was done, we walked around the property and discussed how to move forward and what will be done the next day.

For dinner we made curry and rice and soon thereafter, we all retired for the evening.

Saturday 22 December 2018

Saturday 22 December 2018 After a quick cup of coffee and rusks, our day started at 06h00. Today we neatened up the camp area, cleared more bushes in the immediate vicinity of our camp. Securing tent pegs, setting up the washup area and the cooking station.

We also took a drive to EDM in Ponta do Oura to arrange for electricity to be connected at the Malongane property. Pastor Ernesto from First Baptist Ponto do Oura arranged a meeting with the Chief who oversees both Ponta and Malongane to introduce us to him. Because we are in a rural areas where the Chiefs oversee the business of the community, it is very important for the Chief and the local chiefs to meet us, know who we are and what our purpose is.

Back at Malongane, we continued the task ahead and our spirits weren’t dampened by the heat. As we went along, curiosity got the better of the kids in the area and they were hanging around observing from a distance. As the hours passed, they slowly but sure came closer and closer to see what we were doing. Before long, without any words spoken, they were helping to offload small items from the trailer and bringing it to the camp site. The universal language of hand signals seems to work well 😊. Once the trailers were empty, the little ones used this space as a spectator pavilion. Derick made use of this moment to teach them “Bless the Lord oh my Soul” and before long they were singing along.

The men cleared a passage through the bushes and then opened up an area of about 3×6 m. This was to be our toilet where Amos dug a 2meter hole. 2 x 260 lt drums were placed in the hole. Derick built a make shift toilet using a “Director’s Chair”, and with a couple of wood planks he fixed a toilet seat to it. This was placed over the buried drums and VOILA, the bush toilet was complete.

We had to do something to the entrance of the property as it was very overgrown and a vehicle could barely get though. A perfect job for the brush cutter. Kathy, with a couple of black rubbish bags under the arm, set down the road to pick up all the litter laying around. In no time, 7 children raging from about 5 to 15 followed her and started collecting the rubbish and placed it in the black bags. They were rewarded with an ice cold drink purchased at the local Barraca (This is a small stall in the front of a local homestead selling basic items like milk, tea, coldrinks, tomatoes, lettuce, eggs, ice etc)

Our camp

Friday 21 December 2018

We left Benoni at 04h00 this morning. Amos Mbanze and Mario Nhamuave, both employees of our business and Mozambique citizens joined us on this trip.

Derick drove his Ford towing the trailer with wheelbarrow, irrigation pipe, barbed wire, 2500lt water tank, 260lt drums and various fittings and equipment. Kathy drove the 4×4 Ford carrying the brush cutter, chain saw and various hand held tools and equipment and drinking water, towing the 4×4 camping trailer which will be our home for the next 3 weeks.

After two quick fuel stops en-route, we arrived at Kosi Bay Border just after lunch. After declaring the equipment and explaining to customs what our purpose was, we continued the remaining 40 minutes of the trip to Ponta Malongane. On arrival we quickly got ourselves settled and started to clear some bush for a parking spot to set up camp.

Amos used the chainsaw to cut down the thicker branches, Mario used his brush cutter bashed through the thick brushes. Derick trimmed the branches to make space around the camp. With all the raking we collected enough leaves etc for our first compost heap.

We were now fighting daylight and had to set up camp quickly as we don’t have access to electricity. Within an hour, between the four of us, the job was done. With some manouvering, we managed to get the 4×4 camping trailer in place. In no time, we had the camp set up, gas connected and solar lights in place. Portable shower and bath tub set up and we were ready for dinner.

Derick cooked boerewors on the braai for us and we had boerewors rolls made with pao (local bread) for dinner. We hit the sack not long after, it was a long day and we were slightly tired.

Sunday, 18 November 2018

After a good night’s sleep, we rose to another beautiful day and feeling very blessed to have the opportunity to spend time in God’s word and presence today.

We attended the Sunday morning service at First Baptist Church Ponto Do Oura where Pastor Ernesto delivered the sermon.

As always, the worshipping at FBCPDO is spectacular.  Fantastic selection of songs performed by each group, Ladies, Youth, Sunday school and Men.  What a privilege for us to be here.

Saturday, 17 November 2018

Eager to start the day, we gathered our equipment and headed out to Malongane. Faithful to his word, Ronaldo met us at the site again to give us a hand today.

We made contact with the neighbouring homesteads and introduced ourselves (most of them spoke a little English, and those who did not, Fifi translated).  They all were aware that the ground belongs to the Baptist church and we explained our plans to them.

At present, the locals were using a foot path that ran right through the middle of the property to get to the village. With the fence erected, they will not be able to do this anymore. So, with the assistance of one of the neighbours and 2 other helpers, we cleared two foot paths through the dense bush on either side of the property, from the top right down to the bottom to allow the locals to still walk to the bottom without having to go around the entire area. This was done as a courtesy to the locals. We also cleared where the fence needs to go at the bottom of the property.

All kinds of creatures made their presence known whilst we were clearing bushes. This giant snail stuck its head out to see what we were up to.

Today we had an extra helper, brother Joaquim, a fellow brother at FBCPDO came along to help us plant the poles that were delivered yesterday afternoon.

As soon as we arrived on site, Derick, Fifi, Ronaldo and Joaquim started mixing the cement for the poles. This proved to be a little more difficult than anticipated. Water……. The cement mix needs water. Although there is a borehole at the bottom of the property, it has no pump and no means of getting the water out. So we decided to ask some of the neighbouring  homesteads for water for our mix. Just our luck, there was no electricity in the area and none of the boreholes functioned. This posed a bit of a problem for us as without water we cannot mix the cement. We are only around for a few more days and much needed to be done in that time. Kathy and Ronaldo got into the Ford to go water hunting.  Soon enough, not far down the road, a local had a tank on a stand which meant no electricity needed to get water. Our problem solved. In no time the two of them returned with 3 x 25lt buckets of water and the mixing started. The ball was on the roll and everyone in good spirit.

The sun was beating down on us but it did not dampen the mood. Spades were swinging, poles were painted with creosote and bushes were flying.

What a productive day. What great teamwork! 26 gum poles painted with creosote, planted and cemented in. The entire Northern perimeter planted with poles.

Covered in creosote, sweat and dust, the workforce returned home for the night to rest the weary muscles.