Saturday, April 30, 2011

Welcome Back Neufeld Family....

Students from our bush school very eager to see Tendai peer thru the windows of the new school clinic while I received the official tour.

We are HOME! And this time it really is HOME… not just the place we are currently laying our heads at night! We have had a busy week, adjusting to the warmer temperatures, humidity, unpacking and organizing not just our luggage, but all our belongings as everything was put away, and of course, evaluating the damage done by the rats! Thankfully, we did not lose too many things, although we lost a good chunk of the items we use for camping on our seminar trips so we will have to replace some of those items.

The trip up from South Africa was interesting. Having been away for 8 months we were interested to see how the roads had improved, and what if any changes had been made at the border crossing to speed things up.   The B & B we stayed at told us how on Good Friday  the border lineup was  FIFTEEN KILOMETRES LONG….. just to get INTO the border area!!!! We decided to leave VERY early the next morning to try and avoid a repeat of that scenario! We arrived at 6 am and there was no line in sight! Praise The Lord!
Our border crossing went well except for one small detail- the temporary import permit for our vehicle had gone missing and so we had to pay a fine. We were told it would be 1000 Rand fine, but we only had 500 Rand as we had just changed almost all of our rand into Meticais (the Mozambican currency)- Rick ran back to the money changers in the heat (yes at 6 am it was already warm and muggy) and tried to exchange some US Dollars for Rand.. they wouldn’t except US dollars… (on a side note- WHO does not except US dollars???.. I mean.. its like the universal currency !!) So he ran back to me, and got the Meticais we had just exchanged for and  ran BACK to the changers and exchanged them back to Rand (meaning we lost a good bit in the double exchange.. sigh) and then RAN back to pay our fine.. which we were then informed was… 500 Rand. The amount we had in the first place. ….. Welcome  back to Africa Neufeld Family!

The rest of our crossing went very smoothly and we were on our way in no time! In Maputo just up the road we stopped for fuel, a bathroom break and to grab a bite to eat at a little restaurant beside the fuel station. As we finished up our fuel and bathroom break we noticed an argument between a restaurant employee and a visiting south African tourist.  It seems the Credit Card machine wasn’t working, and the South African wanted to pay with his Rands (which are widely accepted in Mozambique). The employee was refusing his 200 R note and the man could not figure out why….  You see, over a year ago there was a problem in SA with counterfeit 200R banknotes so many places wouldn’t except them.. the issue has since been resolved and its no longer a problem.. but apparently the news has not reached Mozambique yet! Since I now had LOTS of Rand, I traded two of my 100 R notes for his 200 R Note and we solved the problem.. then our family headed inside to get some breakfast! We stood at the counter, perused the menu,  while four staff watched us intently. We looked up, opened our mouths to make the order and they said… “oh. Sorry. We have no food”   …… Welcome back to Africa Neufeld Family!!

We bought some chips at the gas station and ate those for breakfast.  J

Our next adventure occurred when Rick got a ticket for “speeding”. He was told he was in a 60 Zone (he wasn’t) and that there was a school up ahead where the zone changed for our side of the road. (yes  apparently school children only cross one side of the highway…).. There was no school (at least not one that was in use, the was one under construction but no classrooms or buildings were complete… an there was NO speed sign). Rick tried in vain to point out the holes in the policeman’s story and reasoning, but since he had a firm grip on Rick’s license already there was not much we could do but pay the fine.  (note to self.. DO NOT HAND OVER LICENSE TO CORRUPT POLICEMEN!!!)…. He did tell us though that once we were out of his  “60 Zone” (which didn’t exist) that we could go 200 KM an hour if we wanted since the 100 KM/hr sign was just a suggestion….
Welcome Back to Africa Neufeld Family!!!

Thankfully after this point our adventures stopped for the most part. The previously nearly undriveable sections of  highway that have been under repair for over THREE YEARS were completed in our absence… it was wonderful to be able to drive on nice roads for almost the entire trip- and it saved us a couple of hours of driving too! Now there is only one section of bad road and potholes to contend with on the drive south, instead of THREE very bad ones!!!!
Welcome back to Africa Neufeld Family!

Gina with the dress made just for her by her by her sponsor!

We arrived home safe and sound with only a minor injury to my foot incurred while walking in the dark at our overnight stop. We even we able to get home in time to stop at shoprite and get some groceries. Imagine our shock when we walked in to find shoprite completely remodeled with new coolers and freezers!! WOOHOOO!!! Welcome back to Africa Neufeld Family!
Tendai attempts rather unsuccsessfully to get Magnum to move out of the way... hes about 6 times her weight and a few inches taller!
 new paint on the walls, shower wall had been torn down in our abscence and has been rebuilt.. theres even a new toilet seat on the toilet!!
tiles in the shower (walls and floor... woohoo!) and a rainshower shower head! THANKS ANDY!

We even were blessed to come home to a very clean house and a brand spanking new bathroom (shower tiled, walls painted, new showerhead etc) thanks to the efforts of Andy and Lovemore who had a lot of work on their hands following the rat and worm incident and the remodeling of our bathroom following some pipes leaking in our wall. The new bathroom is wonderful and we are very appreciative of their efforts! Welcome back to Africa Neufeld Family!!!

Thanks for all your prayers, our first week home has just gone so fast and we have had a wonderful time seeing our friends and coworkers again. I (heather) was especially blessed when several of the orphan children and widows cried when I visited them. Gina, who holds a special place in my heart, held me tight and hugged me as she whispered.. I missed you Donna Heather (in Portuguese of course).  Ill, admit it, I cried too.  One of the widows cried as she grasped my hand and said she had prayed for us everyday that we would come home to Mozambique soon.  It really helped me realize the impact the work we do has here, I do not simply hand out food and clothing and school supplies, my presence here makes a difference, the love and care and fun I share with these children and widows impacts them! I guess I always knew that, but seeing their reaction to our return once again confirmed in my heart.. .THIS is HOME for ME!
Casamilo sees bubbles for the first time (i think- he was so suprised by them im quite sure it was his first time seeing them!)


God Bless, Rick, Heather & Tendai!

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