After 15+ hours of buying time (sleeping on benches, reading, walking around) in the empty Johannesburg airport, I found Michael! He left the airport in London to go explore the city and enjoy some fish and chips over a pint and missed his connecting flight. Luckily another flight left just two hours later, but at the cost of £175. So I met Michael around 9:45 a.m. and had to yet again burn some time. Our flight to Beira, Mozambique didn’t depart until 2:00. After being conned into paying $5 for “luggage help” in the airport, we boarded the tiny plane with our four bags full of soccer gear and headed for Beira.

A small in-flight meal and a nice siesta made the 2.5 hours seem easy. We were met by Br. Chris and one of the other four Brothers chosen to start the mission here, Br. Angel. Even though we can’t understand a lick of what the Spanish Brother says, his humor has no language barriers. His reactions, facial expressions and overall personality make you chuckle. We stopped off in Beira at a small bar called Beira Bar. Br. Chris tells us it’s one of the fanciest places in Mozambique. He brought us here to “ease us into Africa,” he said. We enjoyed one of Mozambique’s locally brewed beers called Laurentina (surprisingly delicious) on the balcony of the bar, overlooking the Mozambique Channel. 

We’ve only been here about an hour, and already we can see both the beauty and the poverty of the country. There’s constantly people walking on both sides of the road headed somewhere. Some streets are lined with shops, where families are selling anything from fruits, to clothes/cloth or even bootleg movies.

We had a rough 2 ½-3 hour drive from Beira Bar to Amatongas. The roads are in bad shape, full of pot-holes, divots and bumps (Br. Angel’s driving didn’t help much either). The Brothers’ vehicle looks like your proto-typical safari jungle car. It’s a two-seater in the front with benches in the back seat facing each other, sort of like a booth at a restaurant (no table of course, and not nearly as comfortable).The car isn’t in very good shape either.We passed a few small towns on the way to Amatongas and also saw an over turned 18-wheeler. Br. Chris said this isn’t extremely uncommon, as he’s seen two or three like this in the four months he’s lived here. We arrived at the Brothers’ residence, anxious to escape from the crowded jungle car after the brutal ride. 

Our eagerness would have to be placed aside, as a comedy of errors ensued. Still new to the car, Michael couldn’t seem to get the back trunk door opened. We had had some trouble with the door at the airport, but didn’t think anything of it. Despite Br. Chris and Michael’s best push-and-pull efforts, the defiant door wouldn’t give in. Br. Angel scrambled to find a flashlight to help the situation, and thinking he knew the solution, began shouting helpful orders at Michael … in Portuguese. Amidst a combination of Br. Chris tugging, Br. Angel speedily giving his 2 cents and Michael apparently not doing what Br. Angel wanted, I decided I was fluent enough in the language to be the translator. “Just kick it, Kline.” “No, push on that wire.” “Try locking it, then unlocking it.” Sheer pandemonium. The giggles began to set in. Br. Angel decided he needed to take some action. “No problemo, no problemo.” The giggles turned to straight laughter. As Br. Angel tried to hop the seat to join us in the back, we hear a loud ripping sound, sending our laughter to the next level, gasping for breath in the back seat as we’re bent over, heaving. 

The four stooges eventually got the door open, at the expense of … the door. There’s no more ‘click’ or lock when you close it. A bungee cord keeps it shut and a padlock is placed over the handle to prevent intruders.

After the chaos of the car settled down, we got a tour of the Brothers’ residence and were treated to some of the local cuisine. Our late dinner consisted of a small white bean called fejaon that looks (and tastes) just like red beans back at home. Coupled with some rice and Tabasco sauce, our first meal was a familiar one. The night ended with a bang as well, as we got to witness an amazing lunar eclipse over the open African sky. I'm not sure if there's a better place in the world to view one of these. We hit the hay soon after dinner, sinking into a bad for the first time in about 3 days. Br. Chris told us to get our rest and sleep in as long as we’d like. We took full advantage of it.
 


Comments

07/30/2012 12:08pm

Great post, thank you.

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