It’s been an amazing last 4 weeks with the most awesome 55 people who changed a lot around us through their love and visit.  That meant …. I was electronically challenged and the closest I got to any laptop was about 100 meters.   Thank you to all who has been so patient with my updates and those who reminded me that my blog is standing still … thank you too!
MOMENTS OF HOPE – Reaching the Chire river
The trail I left behind was a dusty one.  As I try to make the cut-off time for the river ferry I realize that the road is just too bumpy to push my luck I decided to go the African route.  Calm, relaxed and deciding to sleep on the river banks if we don’t make it sounded the most reasonable solution.  Friendly people along the roadside followed suit as we passed Morrombala, a big town to the northwest of where we were heading.
We reached the river just as the sun was about to greet planet earth.  The Shire river was a busy place.  It reminded me of a highway as the makorros were taking people across the river.  As the sun slowly said it’s good bye’s some were catching a quick bath to wash off the dust of the day.  After speaking to the ferry captain in my best Portuguese and with a big smile (he already knew what I was trying to do) he was persuaded to at least get me to the other side before it got dark.  
You meet interesting people on the way … and Joao was no exception.  Well, it was Sunday afternoon and the day took it’s toll for my newly made friend, Mr. Joao.  It could have been the sun or the day at the river but he seemed to have had a very good day.  He was talkative and that sparkle in the eye (well more than one sparkle) told me he drank something from a different river.  He announced that he would proudly take us over the river and be our personal body guard as there are many hippos and crocodiles in this dangerous river we were about to cross.  We allowed him to take us across safely!
For most of the population on the rivers the makorro is the only way of traveling on the rivers.
Arriving at the Shire river the ferry was luckily on the ‘right’ side of the river.
A quick bath in the river has many hazards as crocodile and hippos are hiding in the water.  That didn’t stop these boys from washing off the dust.

Our ferry didn’t exactly filled me with joy as I had to trust them with my only means of transport here.  The stories of overloading ferries, especially this one, was still fresh in my mind. 
Ready to go!

Meet Joao – he looks like like a Hollywood star but is in fact … I think Chuck Norris’ personal body guard!  He’s mean, tough and makes a great tour guide.
At last on our way!

The road ahead after crossing the river was not much better than the last 700 km’s that we left behind.  The telecommunication lines were agreeing with me!


Day three saw us visiting communities who are usually cut off during the rainy season.  The mighty Zambezi river floods the total area which makes it a desolate place for at least 3 to 4 months of the year.  We arrived in Inhangoma and felt like royalty as women from everywhere ran to the vehicle singing, clapping and shouting.  My wife was about to spend the next few days with women encouraging them and training them on the various literacy programs she designed for the ladies.  Their appreciation was something that left a tear in many an eye.  With more than 200 ladies attending the women seminar it was going to be a busy time.

Sitting under a mango tree for a day seemed quite normal for the ladies.  They were dressed in their best attire for the event and participated eagerly.  Everyone had a word or greeting.  Various games were played with the ladies which was something out of the ordinary for the women attending.  Playing games is simply something women don’t do in the bush!  Life here is about surviving.  And surviving is serious business.  With girls as young as 14 becoming mothers there is little time to play and laugh.  Sitting under a mango tree and watching the women laugh and enjoy themselves made the trip worthwhile.

After a long late lunch of chicken and rice and praying for the sick (which is always good manners everywhere we go in the bush) we greeted our new friends.  The day went by quickly as we departed late …. only to return again the next day!  Tomorrow the men will gather for something quite different.

Arriving in Inhangoma Alta was greeting by hundreds of ladies and the event was greeted with song and traditional dance.
Everyone had a greeting in the community.

Joao Benjamim (left) and Alta Rauch (middle) with Maria – the women co-ordinator in Northern Mozambique.
A lot of older ladies attend seminars as they have never had the opportunity to read and write.  The literacy program with the ladies is a huge success in these rural areas where people are usually forgotten.

Young and old have been blessed!
One of the lady schools in the area of Inhangoma posing for a photo.  It was impossible to add pictures of all the groups … but a quick pose before we left.

Joao and Alta enjoying a local lunch after the seminar.  They do look somewhat tired I would say …. wouldn’t you?