Thursday, October 30, 2008

The wonders...of a pressure cooker.

Dried beans are prevalent and cheap here. But to cook beans takes a lot of time. People generally start cooking beans at 9:00 for a 12:00-1:00 lunch. If you soak them overnight, it takes off 2 hours but one’s still cooking for an hour and a half. Once we bought a kilo of black beans, soaked them, cooked them all at one time and froze them in 2 cup increments. That worked so well, that we decided to try it again with butter beans. Then we discovered a pressure cooker. Instead of having to cook them for an hour and half after soaking, all we did was soak them overnight, cook them for 10 minutes and wa-la! Done beans, 8 2-cup bags of beans in the freezer ready to be used! Hurray!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Things I’ve learned
Today marks the two year anniversary of our MCC term. It’s hard to believe that it has been two years since we entered orientation in Akron and yet two years seems a short amount of time for all we’ve experienced. Here’s some of the things I’ve learned over the past two years:
- I didn’t like roosters in Russia; I still don’t. They don’t just crow at dawn, they crow in the middle of the night, in the middle of the day, whenever one feels like asserting his kingship on all the surrounding countryside. Then the others, have to assert theirs. Their continual crowing gives me headaches.
- The scenery in Mozambique changes quickly—sandy plains to hilly red dirt, to dry, dusty brown.
- God is always faithful.
- Each person has different gifts and when we use our gifts, it creates unity and builds God’s Kingdom.
- I really appreciate a cup of tea with a bit of milk and sometimes a bit of sugar. It has come to be something that helps me relax.
- The country side in Mozambique is beautiful around Gondola and Chimoio, some of the prettiest in the country that I’ve seen, though each region has its own beauty.
- The devil attacks a society where it makes sense in that society. Here in the spirit world, with jealousy, theft. In the States, excess, apathy, comfort.
- Water is wasted by whomever has unlimited access to it.
- Social change is inextricably linked to spiritual transformation and visa versa.
- The big African 5 animals are advertised as the lion, elephant, giraffe, rhino, and zebra. Joél says that the African 5 are instead the chicken, goat, pig, cow and guinea fowl.
- Literacy is more than the ability to read—it’s also having confidence and/or a desire to use it because without practice, it is lost.
- Many people speak several different languages.
- I prefer to wear pants (though sometimes it’s so hot, a skirt is cooler).
- Though I do not like hot days, there are advantages to living in a tropical climate—fruit, outdoor living spaces, outdoor cafes, beautiful flowers and landscaping, palm trees.
- I can live without running water and random electricity outages and keep going with life.
- I like having a relationship with the owner of the store where I buy the majority of my groceries.
- I like shopping in open air vegetable markets.
- Worship is most meaningful to me when I understand the words.
- I like cooking.
- I like experimenting with new recipes; but can not make up new recipes.
- I like watching people grow, become empowered, become more confident in who they are.
- I like learning Portuguese.
- I really appreciate the Bible Study that we attend where there are missionaries and development workers from all over the world coming together to worship and pray.
- I don’t really like driving here—too many people on the sides of the roads who can unexpectedly dart across the road, not to mention goats, chickens or cattle.
- Always wear a scarf when riding in a car without air conditioning. It prevents fly away hair and protects from dust.
- People do not always eat three meals a day. Sometimes on purpose, sometimes they don’t pack food with them, sometimes because they do not have enough.
- I really appreciate a hot shower.
- Cheap conditioners for hair don’t work well.
- Sun screen is necessary.
- People working together can better their lives if they are committed to working together (to better their lives).
- Savings groups work, but better in the country than in the city.
- People do not always know what they want.
- Prayer works.
- Giving to a beggar is complicated. I’m beginning to think that it may perpetuate the violence of poverty instead of meeting the needs.
- It’s hard, but necessary to look for the underlying emotions/circumstances in order to understand what is really being said instead of jumping to conclusions.
- There is need to meet suffering in the short and long term, sometimes at the same time.
- Suffering is real to whatever extent a person feels pain. We cannot compare our pain. But we can live with awareness of others’ sufferings and look beyond ourselves to see how Jesus is working in the lives of others.
- God is bigger than all our lives.
Travels
We’ve done a lot of traveling lately…
Beira
Mandie
Tete
Rio Savanne
Sinhara
South Africa (next week)

We’ve been gone more than we’ve been at home. It’s nice to see the country, but living out of backpack gets tiring too. It's always nice to come "home".
Transitions
In August, the MCC team received a SALT (Serving And Learning Together) participant. She is working in Tete with CCM Tete on their sand dam project. She's a civil engineer. She’s living with a host family and is progressing quite well in Portuguese. We’re glad you’re here, Holly!

Two weeks ago, our beloved neighbors moved. Now when we lock our grate each night, Maria’s not there cooking. Or during the day, Gercia and Mila are not playing on their veranda or Dona Teresa and Manuel doing house work or Sandra getting ready for school or Rodrigues telling us about public health. They moved on a Saturday and two days later a Zimbabwean man and his child moved in. They are gone most of the day and so it’s much quieter. Though there were times I was tired of always greeting our neighbors, now that they’re gone, I miss knowing that I can go out on my veranda and just chat with them. They moved a block away, but it’s not the same as the daily interactions.

Sara’s MCC term is over. She’s leaving Moz on Sunday. She’s been a calming presence on our team as we all went through the waves of culture shock at the same time. She’s done a fantastic job with the Anglican Education Program, helping them fortify 13 preschools through teacher trainings, ideas for toys and, curriculum development. She’s a great cook (makes a mean chocolate cake). She’s been a great friend and we will miss her.