We began our early rising today (around 6:45), got showered and joined the Brothers for another great meal, this time consisting of an egg, bacon and sausage omelet dish along with some fruit and coffee. Br. Chris told us we have to run an errand before heading out to Chimoio. One of the buildings we saw yesterday needed some repairs on its wall, so we’re going to pick up some bricks and transport them to the workers.

We hopped in the jungle car and took a route down a small dirt road we had never seen before. The road ran alongside a mountain, once again giving us an amazing view of the country. We precariously backed the car down this smaller side dirt road where we came across 500 over-sized bricks. Br. Chris, Michael and I began helping the workers load the massive heap of bricks into the back of the car. There was no way we were fitting 500 bricks in the back of this car. Br. Chris told them to stop around 200.

We lugged the bricks back to working site in the now even more rickety vehicle. We pulled up to see the workers gathered in a circle looking at something. As we stepped out of the car and started walking towards them, one worker raised a stick up holding a fat, slimy snake! All three of us froze instantly waiting to see if this beast was still alive. All the workers laughed at us and started poking the snake with sticks. Br. Chris – having done his homework upon arrival in Moz – immediately identified the snake as a Puff Adder!

For those who don’t know, Puff Adders are one of the most deadly venomous snakes in the world and considered by many to be the most dangerous snake behind the Black Mamba. If bitten, its prey has a mere 24 hours to find anti-venom or its sayonara. One Puff Adder has enough venom to kill 4-5 men. And here it is just sitting on this stick in front of us! After further investigation and conclusion that the animal was indeed deceased, we all took our turns poking, prodding, petting and photographing the deadly demon. We all took turns posing with the snake and each got our chance to hold it. We used sticks to pry out one of its fangs. With a little life still left in him, the snake’s tail end kept wiggling around, attempting to escape. The workers found the snake while clearing out another patch of overgrown land. The best part is they killed the dang thing with a slingshot!! Simply amazing. “Just another day in Amatongas,” we joked. After jokingly scaring a few local children walking around, we put the snake in a box and headed for Chimoio. We thought about bringing him with us, and finding a taxidermist in the city, but Br. Chris said it’s best to leave him behind. Turns out the workers ended up gutting him and filling him with dirt for fun.

We headed off on the hour-long journey to Chimoio, passing a city called Gondola on the way. As always, the sights were breathtaking – rolling mountains as far as the eye can see on both sides of the road. We parked the car, and walked with Br. Chris as he headed to do a little banking. Chimoio was a lot larger and busier than any city we’ve been to so far. Walking down the street, locals try their best to sell you cell phone minutes. We passed probably 25-30 different people selling the same company’s minutes on the same street within a few blocks of each other. Br. Chris finished his financial doings and we made a couple more stops looking for outlet converters. Nothing popped up so we headed off to a small restaurant Br. Chris said had delicious pizza.

We go through a small white gate and through a bush-filled walkway to a nice looking restaurant called “Vapor.” We were the only ones in the place, but Br. Chris said it’s usually a favorite spot at night for the Peace Corps in the area. We each ordered a beer (which comes in 550 mL servings here) and waited on our pizza. Br. Chris went with his favorite four-cheese blend, Michael chose the Mexican pizza and I ordered the pepperoni and sausage. We finished our pizzas and washed it down with another half-liter of beer and headed home. On the way out we stopped at the Internet café (which we’ll need to go back to if we want to upload any photos or videos), and hopped on our emails. Br. Chris knows the guy who runs the electronics shop attached to the café.

He’s one of the very few people in Mozambique who know English, so Br. Chris started talking with him. I hear him asking the man about some mountain that resembles an old man’s face. The man tells us it’s fun, safe and close so we all agree we need to go check it out. We head down a back road Br. Chris said he’s never been on before and we see the giant mountain appear to our right. We finally decide on a side road that brings us closer to the mountain and head down it. The road ends next to some people’s home, where Br. Chris talks to them for a moment and then parks the car. The rest of the journey takes place on foot.

Still overstuffed on beer and pizza, we begin our trek toward the top of the old man’s forehead. It was pretty much a barren rock mountain with little patches of grass and weeds sprouting up in crevices. Under the heat of the Mozambique sun we climbed and climbed, passing groups of locals who must live there. We saw people praying, bathing and washing clothes along the mountainside. “Are you enjoying our mountain?” they would ask us excitedly. We took several breaks on the way, feeling the aftermath of our greasy meal.

After about an hour of a hike (in TOMs and jeans) we made it to the peak. We were too exhausted to even take in the view at first. We all passed out on our backs for 5-10 minutes before finally sitting up and seeing the beauty surrounding us. This must be one of the highest points in Mozambique, overlooking all of Chimoio and again showing us a wave of mountain ranges. We stayed on top of the mountain for about a half hour, soaking in the view and getting some rest before the journey back down. I left my lunch on top of the old man’s forehead (and Michael very nearly joined me) before we took off back toward the car, which was Hot Wheel’s sized from this point.

Br. Chris was a little slower getting down because of past ankle issues. On our way down, Michael and I took a route that somehow brought us through the yards of some locals, who gave us stares as we passed … but who can blame them? When the two of us finally made it back to the car, we were ready to drop a blank check for a fresh bottle of cold water. The family we had spoken to before we left gave us friendly smiles, and in as broken of Portuguese as possible, we asked for a market where we could buy water. Probably only being to make out the word ‘water’ from our jumble of “Portuguese,” one of the boys ran inside and came back out with a cup of water and a chair. Br. Chris told us about his bad experiences with the water when he first moved here, but we couldn’t be rude when this family gave two strangers a cup of their water (which probably isn’t in large supply). We thanked them for their generosity several times. We knew they probably didn’t have much, yet still gave part of what they did have to us. We felt terrible, and continued to thank them as we drove away. On the way out, we made one more stop at the Internet café (since they had cold drinks) so Br. Chris could email a friend before heading to our final stop at ShopRite, the Wal-Mart of Africa. Br. Chris grabbed a few things he needed for the house and Michael and I picked up some drinks for the road. I snagged three Mango flavored popsicles to cool us off on the drive, which we downed before we left the parking lot. We arrived back to the residence dead tired. We all went to our rooms for the afternoon’s siesta, which lasted a lot longer than normal. In fact it lasted all the way until dinner, which we also inhaled before heading right back to bed. Needless to say, Chimoio took a lot out of us. We get our first taste at the weekend life tomorrow!



10/05/2012 12:19pm

Your blog template was so nice I decided to make a Weebly account too.


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