I do realize how ridiculous it is to say "Africa" when describing where I've been. It's like visiting Halifax and claiming to have explored North America. It is my romantic soul, who has dreamed of the continent since I was a wee adventure girl, that felt like I was finally getting a small taste of this land of mystery and majesty. I realize that each country, village and neighborhood is unique, of course. There is a much larger conversation to be had about this very complex place, but it's not for this space right now.
The word AFRICA encapsulates (in my imagination) the scenes from the National Geographic magazines I flipped through as a youth; the novels and films that were set in that most wild of settings (Out of Africa, The God's Must Be Crazy, The Power of One, to name but a few...) and the nature shows I've absorbed on rainy Sundays. If you have yet to watch the BBC series Planet Earth, do it. I had a lot of powerful nature imagery in my head, but I left a great deal of our destination un-investigated. I knew we weren't stepping off the plane into the wild savannah, but I can't say I knew what to expect of the cities and towns except that it was going to be drastically different than what my kiddos were used to. I was surprised at how calm and accepting my little ones were. They are still so young, but it was lovely to hear Jack's comments and observations.
A tiny bit about Mozambique: It's a stunning coastal country in South East Africa, rich in natural resources, the national language is Portugese, the seafood is fresh and tasty and the people are very beautiful. Also, it is a developing nation where safety is a small concern, the water is not potable, malaria is a bit of a risk and some guidebooks still caution travellers about land-mines. I'm a flexible and adventurous mummy, with a firm belief that stepping outside of your comfort zone often delivers the greatest rewards... And my anxious, mama-bear side really battled with the adventure-mom side during our travels, as you might expect.
My dreams are what directed me to an "african" adventure, but our family was what allowed these dreams to become a reality. My sister and brother in law are living and working in Maputo and their home was our base, allowing our wee ones to enjoy their cousins and creating a feeling of safety and familiarity for all of us. They were incredible hosts and helped plan an itinerary too amazing and diverse to fit into one post.
...So here is part one.
|sunrise in Bilene, where we spent the night in a hilltop cottage and listened to monkeys on the roof at night. At least, we hoped they were monkeys...|
|fishing boats in the quiet lagoon|
|dancing to the music at the market where we had a yummy cafe lunch and found treasures|
|love the artists here, it was hard to choose|
|the stunning beach was so worth it!|
|The fish market, where we looked, haggled, bought and watched our shrimp get cleaned. A jealous kitten looks on.|
|A very different day at the office, we witnessed an aggressive baptism just down the beach from here. The kid got dunked like a basketball.|
|I was in awe of the women carrying such heavy loads, often with children in tow of course|
|The museum of Natural History|
|Artwork made from repurposed guns - French Cultural Center, Maputo|