africa: the indian ocean and news withdrawls.

so, i know you are supposed to go on vacation and enjoy it and leave your cares (and work) behind, but WOW! do i feel out of the loop. seriously! three nights ago i was talking to our driver – we’ve rented a chapa (pronounced shapah) for the month which is a little van that comfortably seats 14 but on a regular basis seats about 20 people sans deodorant, plus chickens, goats, barrels of rice, breast-feeding babies etc.

luckily we have our very own chapa while we’re here and our driver, musa. he is muslim and gets a huge kick out of us…. i was talking to him the other night and asked what he does while he waits for us to fix the roofs on houses. he says he reads the newspaper. i was awe-struck. i hadn’t even thought about buying a newspaper.

i grabbed his and read as much as i could about tropical storm arlene (great name national weather center), iraq, president bush meeting with the african presidents, etc. but of course that paper was greatly lacking…. i just found out today michael jackson was acquitted as i read over musa’s shoulder. i flipped. he asked how that would happen. it was kind of like how i couldn’t understand why the traffic police would pull us over and give Musa a ticket for not stopping to pick people up at a bus stop even though it was obvious he was a rentable chapa, not a public one…. corruption can be african just as much as it can be american. but if there’s anything positive in the jackson trial it’s the fact that i don’t have to write any more stories that start with, “later today the prosecution will wrap up its defense in the child molestation case of michael jackson.”

yesterday i went to the most beautiful beach i have ever seen. a little tucked away resort. we passed by huts as we road for about an hour on a dirt road. the water was gorgeous. warm. clean. the beach was virtually empty (it’s winter here). we went running on the beach and found a little fishing village, a sand bar. it was as if we had discovered the place for the first time.
one of the fun times this past week was to be able to attend church in portuguese again. i ended up being a translator for the girls in my group the entire meeting. they just had a brand new chapel dedicated here two months ago. they’ had been meeting in houses like most of my areas in brazil. this is all extremely reminiscent of brazil. not to mention the fact that i hand wash my clothes. that is mexico, brazil and mozambique all in one.

i get by with my portuguese but they definitely think i’m brazilian. the only time it’s hard for me is when they slip into the local tribal dialect of senna. our team usually splits up to work on three houses or so at once and one portuguese speaker stays at each site. i’m on my own with my small team in the middle of no where. as for me learning extreme make over home edition skills for my future house… sorry mom, don’t count on it. unless i live in a mud house with a bamboo ceiling my current skills won’t be utilized.

yes i did recover all of my luggage. and yes we are out after dark, but we are always with out driver. we usually leave the house by 8:30am and drive to the construction sites. we work until about 3 or 4p then we head home to eat and rest. we then go to the baby orphanage from 6p-9p. then we get home, go running, eat dinner, clean, read etc.
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