Wifi has been limited over the past few days, but tonight and tomorrow, we are in good shape (as long as I don’t jinx it). So, there is lots to share!
On Tuesday, we drove from Beira to Gorongosa, stopping at the Dondo Orphanage on the way in addition to the Episcopal House under construction in Beira. The Dondo Orphanage held its dedication the week before we arrived with the funders (Foundation 4 Orphans), and they expect to accept 25 children and open in January to house the children. This is good news, for the thousands of orphaned children in the Dondo area due to a very high (50%+) rate of HIV/AIDS due to the trucking industry here.
Our respite was to be to visit Gorongosa National Park. We arrived on Ezy’s birthday (Oct 18) and were able to treat him with a morning and afternoon safari on the day after (19th, Thursday). I highly recommend Gorongosa. I’ve been wanting to visit since I became the MI coordinator. Doing a safari and supporting the reintroduction of native animals to Mozambique that were decimated after the War of Independence and Civil War is really important to me.
Our morning safari started at 5:30AM with our safari driver, Castro. We had an extra guest with us, Tammy. We hit it off with her immediately, as she said she was raised Methodist! We were all family for the rest of the morning. We saw water buck, kudo, impalas, pumbas, beautiful birds, and an elephant! We even saw the elephant knock down a coconut/palm tree! Tammy knew the philanthropist, Greg Carr, whose foundation is primarily funding the project and helped set us up with a lunchtime tour of the scientific lab portion of the park that isn’t open for public tours. We learned that at any point in time, more than 20 scientists are working to categorize and take note of all of the species of animals in the park.
In fact, we learned that there are two species of bats that are only native and found for the first time ever in Gorongosa Park! After lunch, we had an afternoon safari where we got to see a beautiful lion, named Senator. A gorgeous sunset at the watering lake ended our evening.
Then, Friday, we headed out early toward Zimbabwe.
We stopped at the Gondola Training Center and the Inchope Water Project. The Inchope Water Project is 2 years in-the-making and just got started last month! After overcoming challenges of not finding water at the initial well site, no electricity at the new well location, and their water tank falling and breaking before full in a storm --- the project is going and is doing well!
This sustainability project fills via electric (solar) pump 20 liter (approximately 5 gallon) buckets of water. This water is filled and sold for 3 MZN (5 cents). They fill approximately 100 buckets of water per day, making between 250-300 MZN per day ($4.15-$5.00). This pays for a worker and will provide profit for the church to continue funding priorities of the church! God is good! What was really neat is that there is a hand-pump (not owned by the church) within site that also sells water—for 2.5 MZN. However, to save time, people are willing to pay the extra .5 MZN to have it filled within seconds.
Our journey continued through the Manica province where we headed into Zimbabwe to visit Africa University. With no problems, we were able to obtain visas and get to Africa University. It’s a beautiful campus that we will learn more tomorrow (we arrived right at sunset).
The Vice Chancellor for Advancement joined us for dinner. Our topics of conversation ranged from business incubation and intellectual property coursework AU is leading Zimbabwe in, our Missouri endowed scholarships, to opening conversations between Central Methodist University and AU to explore potential partnerships. We were joined by Revs. Chembeze and Zunguze (Alfiado)–both Mozambican who were at AU for the Board of Directors meetings that just concluded today.
It’s getting late here, so I won’t comment too much on my thoughts and reflections over the last few days. However, I can share that experiencing God’s wonderful physical nature in Africa is breathtaking. Enjoying a sunset at AU and at Gorongosa back-to-back nights with different landscapes (mountains vs. water plain) is spectacular. In addition, hearing and seeing the work of the Inchope Water Project only reminded me that often times in the USA, we know so very little of the successes. If I hadn’t suggested to Ezy that we perhaps stop at the water project, we would have zipped on by. Even Ezy was impressed by their work and early successes. Ha!
The phrase that keeps popping into my head over the last two day is this: God is Good, All of the Time. And all the time, God is good. Deus e bom, em todo o momento. Em Todo o momento, Deus e bom.