What a strange feeling it was to drive home from the airport, looking out the window at the sights of Nampula. Coming from Hartford, Connecticut, to a crowded African city is a contrast that I won’t even try to describe here as it would just take too long. It wasn’t the bewildered and shocked feeling that you often see on the faces of American visitors, though. It was a “Yup, I remember this. This was my life. Wow.” feeling. By the time we’d reached our house, my back was sore from the bumpy roads, despite my colleague’s careful driving. It was wonderful to meet dear friends waiting for us in the yard with a meal for the next day, and walk into our house, so familiar and yet looking so dingy and empty!
However, the next morning what a joy as friends came to greet us, we began to bring our things in from the locked container, and our dogs bounded around. All of our things smelled like mold, or were coated with mold, the dogs were painfully thin, and the new puppies (10 days old) infested with fleas, but we were home!! As the first days went by, what a joy to see dear faces and exchange greetings and a few words about the year that had passed. It was hard to believe the time had gone by so quickly, and each of us had experienced so much in the meantime.
The boys quickly dove into their favorite books and toys, unpacking and organizing their things (Toby) and dumping out all the legos (Ben). The happiness on their faces . . . these dear children have endured a lot of meetings this last year, done homeschooling in a very disjointed way, and said goodbye to many dear relatives, so to see their joy at being here was a balm to my heart. Tinged with a sadness at knowing that soon they will be saying goodbyes here too, perhaps forever.
The first task was getting the car on the road and legalized, and Kevin spent the better part of two days getting insurance, inspection, and the famous “radio tax” which costs a dollar or something and requires drivers to go to some office in some building which must be tracked down. Traffic cops do check to see if you’ve paid it! Second task was draining our entire cistern, which had about 6 inches of muck in the bottom of it as well as some dead frogs. Our drinking water was smelly and wierd-tasting, and no wonder. My tasks were to get the dogs settled and wounds on their ears treated, as well as de-flea the puppies and make sure the mother was feeding them enough. Bed had to be set up, sheets found, and plates uncovered. The fridge didn’t seem to be working, but after plugging it into another extension, started right up. What a relief. Meanwhile, everything is coated with dust and spiderwebs (after just one day, my countertops have a layer of dust during this dry winter season) and some mold. Every sheet, towel and dishrag had to be washed, hung out on the line and then taken down and folded. The guest house next door had to be completely cleaned, top to bottom, for incoming guests, and everything in there washed. Between the two of us, Kevin and I didn’t sit down for 5 minutes for the first few days, except to eat or visit with someone. Whew! The kids were pressed into service and carried all the laundry in and out, carried furniture, and hung up clothes. They also played a lot of Wii, to keep them busy and happy. We are so thankful for our colleagues, who outfitted us with some groceries and a couple of meals, and friends who brought meals. It was truly a ministry to us.
That was the first week. Soon it was time for Kevin to attend the biggest annual Bible conference here, and he spent a lot of time sitting and talking with the monitors. Another post on that. Meanwhile, I started the big sort. Every single possession must be taken out of storage, looked at, cleaned and either priced, placed in a pile to give away or ship to Namibia, or thrown away. that is an ongoing project before our garage sale mid-August.
I’m tired just writing all this. Fortunately, I have time to write this today. Unfortunately, it is because I am in bed resting my back. The mozambique roads and too much visiting (and sitting) have done a number on it. We are thankful, however, that we know it will improve with proper care, and it is further confirmation that a move is a good idea. – C