When we arrived in Nampula, our first job was to set up the house temporarily so we could live in it for six weeks. After that, the next task was to start contacting people to say our goodbyes. We knew that with only this short period of time, we had to schedule people immediately or we wouldn’t fit them in before we left. In the USA, we often had people trying schedule a time to see us just a week or two before we left, and it became very stressful to fit them in while doing the final shopping, packing, time with family, etc. Luckily, almost all of the people we know in Nampula are very familiar with this strategy and also were eager to “make a plan”!
How strange it was, though to meet up and talk about the year we had not seen each other, catching up on details, just to move on to the “so what will you be doing” and “when might we see you again?” stage. The kids found that many reunions were tinged with sadness as their time with friends was so limited. Well, I guess Kevin and I found the same thing. There were many regretful conversations with people we enjoy tremendously and whom we will miss.
We also said goodbye to our truck with sadness, though with tremendous relief. It is a terrible time to sell a truck in Mozambique, because the local currency has dropped by more than half since we left last year. The truck is actually worth a good amount, being in such good condition, but the buyers are few. Kevin spent a LOT of time publicizing it during our first few weeks back, and we wondered what we would do if it didn’t sell. We discussed exporting it and then importing it to Namibia, and other options. We had people call us up and offer us “cash today!” if they could take it immediately for almost nothing. Others called and said they’d bring a check right over if they could take the truck right away. Scammers. In the end, God put the right buyer into our lives and we were tremendously grateful that a happy deal was concluded. A friend drove the truck south for us, through gunfire! We were relieved that he arrived safely, and with no bullet holes in the truck.
What a blessing they have been to us, our friends in Nampula. I remember the friend who brought us a homemade pizza when my 5 year old Toby was seriously ill with malaria. I remember another friend who came with me to the clinic when I had a motorcycle accident and sat with me while my cuts were sewn up. Another who sat through many, many local language lessons and laughed with me at our mistakes. The friend who explained to me what was happening when I attended a funeral and wasn’t sure of etiquette. The one who loved my children so beautifully that they always wanted to be at her house. The one who made no pretense of “having it all together” when I was falling apart. The one who blessed me with her uplifting words when all I could do was blame myself. The friend whose calm kindness was a balm to my soul.
I have known many people who returned to their home country to say that they missed the friendships they had while living overseas. I joked to a friend once, that it is because we had to help each other survive! Life in the trenches creates relationships that are burned deep into our hearts. -C