Sunday, July 15, 2007

Today was a difficult day

Today was a difficult day in Dondo.
July 15, 2007

This morning I woke up early and started to prepare my heart for the day. I knew coming into this morning that we would be going to a funeral of a small child who passed to be with Jesus just yesterday. The child had some kind of illness that gave him diarrhea and he became dehydrated.

As we drove to the home where the village people were gathering, I looked around and the streets were somewhat empty this morning. We found a place to leave our cars and started to walk deep into the village where we would find Felix and his family.

The home was small and already there were many women inside singing. The men sat outside at the house next door also owned by a family member. When we walked in, mats were laid on the floor and in all three rooms of this small home. There were women sitting, there to encourage and support the family mourning. All seven of us walked in to pray and to pay our respect to the family. We sat and joined in on the singing as much as we could. I have learned to hum the tune even when I don’t know the words and just pray.

Janine had gone into the room where the mother and child were to meet with them. After a few moments she came out and asked to me to come in as well. I got up and walked around and through the crowd of women to where the women of the family sat in grief.
There lying on the floor covered with a cloth was the baby and the mother lying beside him. A candle was burning to give light to the room and the grandmother sitting in the corner grieving. I spent several minutes praying and asking God to encourage them. For His mercy and grace to be their strength during this time. After a few more minutes I stepped outside so more of the other women could come in a pay their respects.

I left the house and two young women were outside crying so I sat with them to comfort them and pray. The mother of the baby came outside with her Auntie while they prepared the baby for burial. At this time the church leader and some of the remaining men went inside and took the boy and placed him in the casket. The child’s casket was made of wood and covered with a white cloth that had been nailed to the sides. The men carried the casket out and placed it on a chair while the grandfather and uncle took a wooden cross and wrote the boy’s name on it with a pen. FELIX and the length of his days.

Many women were crying and grief surrounded the grounds. The Pastor then gave a short meditation and then we all walked through the village to where a truck was parked for the family and the casket. The remainder of the people walked to the cemetery where the services would be held.

The walk was only about a ½ of mile to the cemetery. The road would wind back to the grave sight where the baby had already been placed by the time we arrived. The services began with the Pastor sharing words from scripture followed by encouragement and asking others to consider their lives and their need for Jesus. The service ended with the grandfather placing all of the child’s clothes in the grave. The last thing was,
everyone taking a plant twig and placing it on the grave. All of the surrounding graves had the same appearance as though twigs had been placed on them as well.

Walking back to where our cars were parked there was evidence of a device that a witch doctor used. I prayed for protection for all of us walking through this path and trusted God protection.

We walked into church late but yet in time to be with the church family for a few minutes before leaving to go to the prison to visit with a young man from church.

Our friend Alberto found himself in jail and a story too long to tell but our visit was an encouragement for him. The prison system here in Dondo is not the same as any I have seen or heard about in America. This is a place that one would not want to be. The visitation room is a building outside of the jail entrance. When we arrived Alberto was there with his sister. He didn’t know we were coming so it was a nice surprise for him to see all of us. We sat and talked for a few moments and prayed for a lengthy time with him. Shortly after a friend from the school where he works came to visit. It was so sweet to see them embrace and his friend keep his arm around him while they prayed together.

This culture is so different, and I love how people love each other here. There is always a kiss on the cheek and a hug from your friends and a handshake from everyone you meet with a tone of respect. There are many things about this culture that are difficult too. There are people who are in extreme need, the sick, the dying and with no help. I wish I could do something to help more than I am. I pray for God’s mercy to be on these people.

Life here is hard.

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

This is a short one:)

Yesterday Edna and I and two other ladies were coming home from Centro Emissoir and we were just
entering into Dondo. I could hear a train..and I kept looking around but I couldn't see it. I thought, "well I
know that there is a train track here somewhere but I think I have already passed it." The train was blowing
it's horn and I started to slow down but it kept getting louder and louder so I started to speed up and Edna
starting yelling, “Katch, stop please!” There ahead of me was a man with a green lantern, and the one and only
barricade arm was down. I stopped, we were all laughing. There it came, the train and the man and the
light with a bell and the arm down. It was a sight that one would only see in Mozambique. One man, one
light, one bell, one barricade arm. The train went by and he walked across the track with his light and bell
and lifted the barricade and waved us on. Oh my gosh........ life here is hard. Everyday it is something
new... everyday I learn something more about the life of Americans and how tremendously blessed we are.
A railroad crossing.... one man's job.


Monday, July 2, 2007

Gorongosa Park

While we were traveling to Gorongosa Wild Life Reserve, the roads were absolutely unbelievable!! There is no way I can explain what I was traveling on. Passing by the villages young girls and boys would come up to the car and want to sell you wood items and food. Sometimes shrimp the size of your hand! They are unbelieveably big here.

Driving up into higher ground the roads are terrible with holes the size of 5 gallon buckets. The main road travel took about 1 1/2 hours and then it took almost an hour to travel about 8 miles! Between the dust and the holes and the washed out road, I thought that the truck was going to fall apart. Of course I was much more fearful with the travel to the park than I was with the drive home. I knew what to expect on the way home.

At one point I met another truck in the road and so I passed to the side of the road as much as I could and the sand was soft and it pulled me right into the ditch. I was able to get the truck out but with the speed of the tires turning it only threw us into the other side of the road into the ditch. I slammed on the breaks just before we went totally down the side of the ditch. I was able to back out much easier. Then on to another several miles of the road continually worsening. Finally we reached the entrance of the park and I felt a sense of relief only to find there was still another 6 or so miles to go before reaching our sleeping destination.

Once we reached the actual grounds where we would stay, the campground was absolutely breathtaking!! I don't have any pictures yet but the team we took will have some so I will eventually. It was so peaceful and tranquil, just as God has created it. The birds there were amazingly astounding. The brilliant colors and sounds were like none other that I have ever experienced. The sleeping quarters that Janine my team leader and I had were great! We had electricity from 5pm to 8am and hot water with a shower. It was great! There also was a place where we were served good food. A couple from Wisconsin lives there and the wife works for the park in the park shop and the husband is a scientist who is doing research on the environment and wild animals, lovely couple.

We got up early the next morning to go out on a drive through the park to see if we could capture any sights of wild animals, I had a flat tire. What a blessing that the tire did not blow out while we were on the road while traveling. The rangers advised us not to drive in the park without a spare tire, and I was under their authority at this point!! No way Jose was I going in there without a backup! The park maintenance men took care of everything, changing the tire, fixing it and at no cost. It was a God thing totally.

About 8:30 we were on our way into the park so capture any sights of animals we could find. Gazelle, water buffalo, storks, really cool looking spiders webs that were enormous, wild bores, baboons, lots of really cool looking birds. No lions, no elephants, no zebras. Lots of poop! So we know they are there. We also found elephant prints in the mud and fresh poop:) hehehe I couldn't smell it but everyone else was complaining. I said, "what the heck, at least we know they are here!" There was a truck we met along the road and they said they saw the back end of an elephant going into the jungle.

There have been fires in the park and that has driven many of the animals back into the jungle on the north side where there are not any roads that travel into the area. We were also told that during the war three army's fed off of the animals in the park so the numbers are down considerably as to what they were in the 70's. Mozambique is trying to rebuild the park numbers and adding more animals.

The week before we were there, a couple driving through the park got stuck in a mud hole and their cell phone would not work from the area that they were in. Because of the hour of day the rest of the visitors were already in for the night. 6pm is closing time because it is winter here and it gets dark. They slept in the truck and could hear lions all night long roaring and roaming in the area where they were stuck. YIKES!!!! The next morning they started their walk back to camp, they said they ran most of the last leg to try to get to safety.

On the way home along side of the main road there was a man and his son who had built some furniture and because my house doesn't have anything yet, we stopped and bought a loveseat, two chairs and a lamp table. The last team had left 60.00 for something nice for the house and guess how much the furniture costs? That's right 60.00! A God thing. As people visit they are helping me make my house a home. A God thing, He provides.