Monkeying Around

Last Friday had been a fairly regular day as I got my bag together to go to the market. Enjoying the moments of sunshine, I was happy to venture outward, ready to try out some of my new Chichewa. As soon as I got out of my compound, a monkey began running towards me. Immediately I froze while thoughts raced through my head: “What do I do”, “They never trained us for this”, “What is it’s rabid”, “What is the best way to fight a monkey” (I had been watching a lot of action movies lately and was fairly certain I could hold me own). Fortunately for the monkey and myself, the monkey hopped into a tree. As it perched there, I swung my head around to make sure I was not the only one this was happening to. IMG_1330

Someone caught my eye on the other side of the fence; he reassured me that the monkey was safe and domesticated. Of course he would say that when he had no chance of being attacked. Just then a man ran around the corner calling for the monkey. The monkey must not have been ready to go as it jumped out of the tree and made a b-line towards me. Settling down on the fence beside me, it seemed as if he wasn’t done messing around. Just then he stared at me; it was like he was waiting for a picture. IMG_1338

As I began to venture back towards the market, it hit me – that feeling. You continue walking, your body feels lighter, and you can see yourself there in that moment. You know you will remember that moment for ages to come. It is one of those “Wow. I’m actually in Africa. I’m actually doing this.” moments. As my thoughts rejoined my body, I laughed out loud and said, “Well, this is Africa”.

 

Advertisements

Update: Flooding

Let me start off by saying that I am fine and safe. With that being said, many others sadly are not. Without jumping to far ahead, allow me to explain what has been going on.

The rainy season in Mozambique generally starts in December or January and goes through February or March. Typically the rainy season consists of rain everyday; however, that rain usually only lasts for an hour or so in the afternoon. This year things were a little bit different.

The rain starting January 1st relentlessly poured for days on end. There were multiple days in a row where the sun did not shine. Not having been here before during the rainy season, it seemed normal to me. The rain began piling up on one of my windowsills and began coming in through the crack of my window. I woke up one morning to discover that a quarter of my room was covered in water and some of my things ruined. Looking around my house I noticed that some of my walls were damp and knew there was nothing I could do. As I buckled down in my house, I had no idea how petty my situation would be compared to the people around me.

In Milange we have people that have been displaced; their walls crumbled due to the immense amount of rain. Staying with neighbors, friends, and family, many are back in a home; however, still many others are left homeless. The pain does not stop there; since roadways were underwater, many people have been starving. In addition this collection of water has provided an ideal breeding ground for malaria. The malaria rates have skyrocketed so far this year as some health centers begin to run out of treatment. While this may seem like another horrific far away incident for most people, the reality of homelessness, hunger, and death is before my eyes more than ever.

Around the country, there are different response efforts to cope with the damage. In Zambézia, the province I call home, there were at least four bridges that fell due to the heavy flooding. One of these bridges was along the EN1 (the main highway of Mozambique); this loss has separated the northern part of Mozambique completely. Three other bridges have gone down in Alto Molocue, Namorrói, and Ile. People in these areas and areas surrounding are isolated islands at the moment.

To top everything off, the power has been out for the central and northern part of Mozambique. It is estimated to take another two or three weeks until people are to receive power and a month for the bridge along the EN1 to be replaced.

This is a time of crisis for much of Mozambique. However as the Mozambicans say, estamos juntos (we are together), and we will get through this.

 

For more information on the damage caused thus far go to one of the links:

Relief Being Provided

Figures of the Damage

Bridge in Alto Molocue

Bridge in Alto Molocue

Some PC Volunteers had to be Evacuated

Some PC Volunteers had to be Evacuated

Houses Destroyed in Macoba

Houses Destroyed in Macoba

Destruction of Houses in Macoba

Destruction of Houses in Macoba

Bridge in Macoba Before the Fall

Bridge in Macoba Before the Fall

Macoba Bridge Now

Macoba Bridge Now

Flooding in Macoba Bridge

Flooding in Macoba Bridge

Gathering What is Left of Possessions

Gathering What is Left of Possessions

Milange: A Brief Overview

Milange, Zambézia, Mozambique

Milange, Zambézia, Mozambique

 

This area is my home for the next two years: Milange, Zambézia, Mozambique. It is a border town between Mozambique and Malawi. Milange is the second biggest district in the povence of Zambézia. For people in the States, think about it being the second biggest county in a state.

I arrived here in early December and have been becoming familiar with the community. In following posts I will break down different aspects of the community; however, for now I will leave you with some of the snapshots from around town.

Mato

O Mato

Houses

Houses

 

Hospital

The Hospital

O busque

Man Fetching Water

 

Old Portuguese House

Old Portuguese House

Abandoned Portuguese Pool

Abandoned Portuguese Pool

House 1

Backyard View

 

To the Garden

Path to The Garden

Bananas

Bananas

The Compound

My Compound

House 2

My House