Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Return to Africa: Full Circle

Mozambique would be my new favorite destination even if we were not visiting Chris and Laurie, Peace Corps son and daughter-in-law.  It did help that they speak Portuguese fluently after two years and some local languages too.

But the people, the colors and the simplicity of life in Mozambique made the experience.  Add to that the spectacular and varied beaches and travelers from around the world...exotic and bohemian.

My kind of place.  Watch out Steve, this is where I would retire with one drawback.  It takes a long time to get there including my least favorite part, a short trip on a twin prop plane that looked like it was from WW I.

Other forms of transportation included hitch-hiking.  We were spared the real PC experience of riding in a chapas, a beat up pick-up or van piled high with people and livestock.   But we had that experience in Malawi and Haiti.  Two of my favorite modes of transportation were tuk-tuks and dows by motor and sail.

 We also took something called a ferry but I am not sure I would call it that.  As we loaded that boat Steve suggested that I take  off anything like a back pack that might drag me down and make sure I could easily remove shoes in case we did not make it to shore.

It was pure joy and a tad bittersweet to spend time in the village of Mapinhane where Chris and Laurie are teachers and to observe how they have integrated into community life there.  They have the respect of fellow teachers and the love of their students and many friends.

Chris arranged a goat roast (which turned out to be a delicious stew) in our honor but Laurie was the one to show off her culinary expertise and can cook gourmet on two gas burners, a homemade dutch oven and a charcoal cooker made out of a tire rim.

Steve and I relived our Peace Corps days and reveled in our pride at the fact that Chris born in Malawi into the PC and Laurie have pushed through the difficult times in a new culture with a new language in a vastly unfamiliar world to feel at home and to contribute in a small way,

 to know that they have received more than they have given and that they are changed forever.  They will have memories that only they can share together as Steve and I have similar memories.

Full circle, the kind a writer likes to achieve in her work...a gift.