McClenahens to Mozambique
"…That they may have life, and have it to the full." John 10:10

Nzungu! Nzungu!

October 31, 2014 by rkmcclenahen

No turning back now! This week we moved from the “Baixa” neighborhood where we had been staying in the AIM guest flat into our permanent house in the “bairro” of Paquitiquete. So far we are the novelty in the area. First thing in the morning, while we are still inside our house, the children down the street shout, “Nzungu!! Salaama!!” (Nzungu being the word for “white person” and “salaama” being the local greeting.) The children also try to sneak into our yard any time they can to look in the window and back screen door to see what they can see. Makes it a little difficult to eat dinner when our table faces a window without curtains!! Almost like being an attraction at a zoo!

Although our team leader Tim has been working feverishly to prepare this house for us for the past two months, it is still quite rough and comes with the normal African accoutrements. Our first day here we had three rather unusual houseguests- a scorpion, a seven-inch red centipede, and a cockroach as big as Rusty’s big toe. Needless to say we have decided to keep our little Clara in bed with us until the local bugs acquiesce to our inhabiting the house. So far our large water tanks have not been available for purchase in town, so for now our night guard is purchasing and hauling water from a neighbor who receives city water several 5-gallon buckets at a time. Unless city water starts running again in our area we will still purchase water when we do get tanks, but having them will mean that we can start using running water instead of scooping from large buckets as we are doing now. With our “garage” for our car being a short walk away around a few corners, it was quite the spectacle when we moved all of our things in. The guys had to carry all the furniture, suitcases, etc. through VERY narrow sand walkways. Everyone here basically knows who we are before we have arrived because of all the preparation and stuff that has gone before us, so it is a little awkward now arriving and trying to introduce ourselves and answer questions in our limited Kimwani.

Despite the discomfort and difficulty, we have been very encouraged by our neighbors’ welcoming attitude. Our first time out to greet them all we were invited into one home to help prepare “bolinhos” for a party the next day, and another neighbor who raises doves and ducks invited us to come back another day and bring our children to play in their yard with the birds. We also attended the party for which we helped prepare treats, and it turned out to be for the lady who lives across the street and was just returning from the Hajj, the Islamic pilgrimage to Mecca. Of course we couldn’t understand all of what was being said, but apparently to make this trip, especially for people here in Pakiti, is a very big deal. We were allowed to sit with everyone and chat for about an hour while our kids and the neighborhood children played in the sandy lane between our houses. Folks have been very kind to assure us that we can come and sit and talk with them when we need to practice language, and everyone around town, even outside of our immediate neighbors, is anxious to see and meet our baby! If we go out without her, she is always the first thing they ask about!

We hope to begin our language lessons again this week, Rusty with a new helper who does not speak English this time. Days have been long, hot, and sandy, with little time to do much else than kill the ever-present ants, cook and clean, re-organize the mess of luggage still unpacked in our house, and keep the kids out of it all. We are hoping that by the end of the week Rusty will be able to finish installing a shelf and rod in each closet so we can finally unpack clothes and things. (Basically we have hardly any furniture to store things in, and the closets were completely empty of anything to store things on when we arrived.) Of course there are also many other projects that need doing, but we will have to be patient about them for the time being.

Thankfully in the middle of so much stress, we also have the chance to get away to the beach when we can. Yesterday was a much needed beach day at a new spot with some friends. Rusty found and caught a sea cucumber, which the locals say is called “Kiujojo.” He is frying it up to taste at this very moment! Which just goes to show that many things are changing for us, but some things have remained completely the same!!!


A few surprising provisions…

-Our part of the bairro is actually quite quiet at night and early morning, unlike many areas

-Rusty found us a beautiful 6 burner stove!

-Our house came equipped with a walk-in pantry

-The back yard is nice and big and the coolest area of the property, with a small patio to sit on as well

-3 bedrooms gives us enough space for the kids (once we get unpacked). Most houses here are much smaller and not as nice.

Pictures to come soon!

Published in: Uncategorized    |       Discuss this article »

Leave a comment