Sunday, May 23, 2004

Kruger National Park

So I just returned from a weekend in Kruger National Park, South Africa. I had to go to South Africa to get a new visa anyway, so we decided to make a trip of it. Kruger is right by the Mozambique-South Africa border so it was very easy. We saw lots of elephants and giraffes, some zebra, a few hippos, lots and lots of gazelle, impalas and kudus, but no lions, rhinos or leopards--this time. Very weird and cool to be so close to such big animals.

I am pretty much settled in. The team house still has basically everything we need, but it is noticeably rougher living. We now have a hot water heater, so morning showers have helped me in establishing a routine. Right next door is a park, and as I went out to sit on a swing I was very soon surrounded by children. They knew no English, so we had to communicate by Portuguese. They definitely know more than me, but I'm not sure how fluent they are since it's something they learn in school. Evenings are long but I've so far kept myself quite entertained with reading, learning Portuguese, playing guitar and singing, and doing some art. I've been really appreciating hymns lately, and am starting to memorize some favorites.

Thursday, May 06, 2004

In Canicado

Note: Canicado=Guija. It's called both, and Guija's shorter. I'm going out there tomorrow.
So I went out to Canicado last weekend. I took pictures with my digital camera, hoping to give you a visual image of where I'm living, but I just now found out that apparently I brought the cable for my printer instead of for my camera. Oops :-{

Guija is 3 hours on a paved road from Maputo. At Chokwe there used to be a bridge across the Limpopo (which is maybe 200 ft across) to Guija, but it was destroyed as a defense during the civil war to protect the refugee camp (that's how Chokwe started) from the army advancing from the north. So you either take a very quick boat ride, or drive west to the next bridge, and then 22 kilometers back to Guija on a very bumpy dirt road that is undriveable in the rain. That last 22km adds on an extra hour. On the way, you pass what I guess I would call traditional African villages and compounds, complete with mud and thatch huts and everything. Guija has modern buildings and a paved road-- the one that used to run all the way to Maputo-- but it is a strange little town because it is now so isolated. After driving an hour through very rural territory, we all of a sudden came to Guija, turning out of what felt like a driveway on to the main road running through the town. The native language throughout the Gaza province is called Changana.