Saturday, October 13, 2018

Doctors, Athletes, Musicians, Politicians, and Firefighers

Our official MAF newsletter should be going out next week and gives the latest scoop on our Niassa medical project.  But the newsletter never has room for some of the fun pictures and side stuff going on, so I thought I would share them here.  

In September, Dave flew the medical flight where we brought the first ever dentist to the area.  It was a huge success and Dave enjoyed talking to Dr. Aquiles as he did some of his training in San Antonio, Texas, where I grew up.  It is such a small world.
Medical team working in Niassa

On this trip, Dave brought along a soccer ball for the kids to play with in the area.  He ended up having to do some refereeing (not of the soccer match) because some of the older boys took off with the ball and weren’t going to share it with everyone.  After wandering in the village to find the boys he got the ball back and the younger kids cheered as they won their chance to play with the ball. 


One afternoon while Dave was waiting at the plane he decided to let kids in and give them a chance to sit in the cockpit.  At first they were waiting patiently in line.  When one girl wanted to look at pictures on the iPad, suddenly the airplane was full of kids excited to see pictures of themselves and their friends. 

One morning, Dave was looking out in the distance and saw something out on the dry riverbed.  He zoomed in with the camera to discover lions chilling out.  While we have heard the roars of lions, this was the first time to see them in Mozambique.

We often don’t talk about the more boring parts of our work here.  As a business, there is a lot of paperwork to make sure we are operating legally.  We coordinate with the Civil Aviation authorities, update manuals, and renew work permits and authorizations to fly.  On top of our normal finance requirements, the end of September is the end of our fiscal year.  This means in the weeks leading up to the end of the month, I am busy trying to clean up and balance our accounts.  Then in the last week of the month we count our entire aircraft inventory (think little bags full of bolts, rivets, o-rings, and bigger items like hoses, tires, mufflers, etc.).  With 5 to 6 six counters, it took us all day and then there was another full day of double checking and making adjustments.  It is the best time of year to make sure parts find themselves in their right bin or shelf and remove parts that have expired.  On the last working day of the month we have a third party counter come in and spot check our inventory as well as count our cash boxes.  It can’t all be bush flying and lions! 

It has been election season here in Mozambique and municipal elections were held on October 10th.  In the days leading up to the election, posters are plastered everywhere, rallies and parades can be seen (and heard) all over the city.  Thankfully, it has been quite peaceful during the campaigning and after voting day.

A celebratory parade after the election that we drove by

 One day, the president was passing through Nampula, which means we have a pretty good view of him at the airport from our hangar.  On this particular day, a band was there to play and they came into our hangar to look at the planes.  Dave was able to get a picture with some of the band members!

The bombeiros (firefighters) at the airport came to get some hands on training in our hangar.  Our colleagues gave them a chance to get up close and personal with our aircraft to help them be able to better respond if there is an emergency.  

Bombeiros with our colleague, Dave L.

 And as always, some bird pictures...

Yellow weaver
White-headed lapwing

Saddle-billed storks

Blue waxbill

African firefinch

Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Furlough Top 5 (and Bottom 5)

 We have been back in Mozambique for almost two months after enjoying a few months in the US visiting family, friends, and supporters (along with some training in the mix).  Now that the dust has settled, I thought I would share some of the highlights (and lowlights) of our recent nomadic lifestyle. 
Furlough Top 5:

  1. Getting together with family and friends.  Getting to be present at birthday parties, watch fireworks on the 4th of July, sharing a meal with friends we hadn’t seen in years, and being in town for a funeral to celebrate the life of someone who we care about, was so special.  Really this could be the top 5 by itself! 
  2. Dr. Pepper… enough said.
  3. BBQ and Mexican food. 
  4. Hiking.  Hitting the trails in Olympic National Park, the Great Smokey Mountains, and even just the park down the road was so nice!  We love enjoying African wildlife, but we love American wild places too!
  5.  A chance to hit the reset button.

Bottom 5:

  1. Living out of a suitcase.  While we love being in the US and seeing family, it is hard living out of a suitcase and in someone else’s space/routine for so long. 
  2. Furlough fat.  See No. 2 and No. 3 above.  Also, when you get back to Mozambique, people are quick to delightfully tell you how gordo (fat) you’ve gotten.  While it is a compliment to let you know how healthy you look, it is hard to hear when you’ve put on a few Dr. Pepper pounds.
  3. Loss of friends.  The missionary/expat community is a fluid one, but it is family away from family.  It is hard when friends leave Mozambique and we had several friends move away while we were in the US.
  4. While the people are away, the rats will play.  Seriously.  When we got back it was hard to sleep the first few nights due to the rats scampering in the ceiling. 
  5. It is easy to get accustomed to smooth roads and Home Depot in the US.  Coming back equals dealing with broken stuff and never ending maintenance projects.
    Something got fried... but Dave can fix it!
Clearing a downed tree

Top 5 since Returning to Mozambique:

  1. Being in our own house (see No. 1 above).  There is something so nice about being in your own place, your own bed, and getting back to a routine.
  2. Dave was able to fly a group of pastors from Nampula back from a conference in Tete, a distance long enough away that without the flight, they may not have been able to attend.  One of the pastors was the pastor of the small mission church we attend, Pastor Benedito.
  3. A team from Texas came to help host our annual staff conference.  It was so awesome to have people we know come to Mozambique to see and do life with us.  We are so thankful that they came to serve us and our team!

  4. Mozambican winter.  Leaving Texas in July (and missing the hot month of August) meant getting back to Mozambique while it was still winter.  Yes, we still wear t-shirts and flip flops but the 80s are better than 100 degrees.
  5. Community.  Unlike the US, where pretty much everyone is independent, we rely on friends and colleagues to do life here.  With that means we have come back to our “family” on this side of the ocean.

    Welcome back gifts of deliciousness
    Came to rescue a friend stuck in the mud...and got stuck in the mud...
And what is a blog without some nature pics... this time from the US and Mozambique!
Texas Horned Lizard

Barred Owl visited us during a walk in the park

Western Grebe

Hammerkop nest near our house

Striped kingfisher hanging around our house

Collared Sunbird checking out his reflection in our window

Lunar eclipse in progress

Full lunar eclipse and Mars