Friday, September 27, 2013

Food on the Brain

Food is always an interesting subject when moving to a new place.  Even when I left North Carolina to attend college in Washington DC, food was an interesting topic.  (“You don’t have sweet tea?  You have never tried grits?”)  Moving to Mozambique has not been any different.  We are slowly learning our way around the market and food stores and have moved from surviving on peanut butter sandwhiches (yes, there is peanut butter here) to really thriving on some of our favorite meals.  

Fresh roasted peanuts make a great snack
Food options in Nampula are fairly plentiful, though expensive at times.  Foremost, there are little to no processed foods.  No premade tortilla shells for taco night and no spaghetti sauce in a jar.  Since we don’t eat many processed foods in the States, this is not a big change for us.  Dinner does take a little longer to prepare sometimes and one does have to think things out, but I am sure this will help us to eat healthier in the long run.

You can buy bread rolls, but I am making most of our bread and all of our tortilla shells by hand. One difference in preparing baked goods is that I need to freeze and then sift all of our flour by hand to ensure nothing is hiding in it. Not a big deal, but another step in the process.  I end up using a lot of flour making muffins and quickbreads for snacks.  So far we have enjoyed banana, oatmeal raisin, orange, and lemon.  I want to try carrot and sweet potato next. (Let me know of any other of your favorites to try!)

Peeled tomatoes ready to be sauced

One of the biggest differences that is a little harder for our family is the lack, or rather the expense, of refrigerated dairy foods (butter, cheese, etc.)  Cheese (cheddar, mozzarella and super orange processed) can be found most days in the larger supermarkets, but it is pricey.  Still, cheese is an integral part of one of our favorite foods (pizza!) and the price paid is worth the joy that it brings to our lives.  (There is a little yogurt, though most of the expats make their own it seems, no real sour cream and the ice cream is made from vegetable oil instead of milk.  Yum…or not so much.)

The biggest pineapple we have ever seen.
Fruits and vegetables are plentiful even now in the dry season.  At the local market there are normally tomatoes, onions, green peppers, carrots, green beans, and potatoes. Now is the time for lettuce and tangerine season is just about over.  We look forward to pineapple season and mango season in November and December.  Papyas and bananas are available year round I think.  

Interestingly enough, the bananas here are smaller and never turn yellow.  They are sweet when greenish brown.  This has caused great discussions around the dinner table about who paints the bananas yellow in the States.  Most of the fruits and vegetables need to be soaked in bleach or vinegar before eating to kill any bad stuff.  I usually do this as soon as I get home from the market so that things will be ready to go when needed.  Again not a big deal, but an important difference.
Seriously, it was bigger than David's head.

As for other parts of meals, we eat a lot of eggs, rice, beans and pasta.  Beef is available and we have it two or so times a week usually.  Fish is available too, but we really don’t eat it often.  There is also a local chicken farm that is run by a Christian organization and we can buy whole frozen chickens for a good price.  Still, there is something special to be said about needing to wash and finish plucking the chicken before you cook it.

We have had the chance to try a couple of traditional Mozambican dishes, mtapa (greens in a peanut sauce, great fried fish and a yummy chicken/bean stew.  We look forward to trying some more as we spend more time here.

 Many have asked if there are any certain foods that you can send our family as a treat.  Really, there are no great needs. (We have chocolate and everything you need to make brownies, so the basic needs are covered.)  Still, if you would like to send something, some ideas might be:

parmesan cheese (the kind that doesn't have to be cold)
goldfish crackers
graham crackers
sunflower seeds
pudding mix
granola bars (the chewy kind)

Even more than foods treats, we would love to receive a card or letter just saying hi! (You have no idea of the great joy and the spring it puts in our step to receive word from you all.) 

If you would like instructions for mailing us something, comment below or checkout the last newsletter. 

Now that I have made myself hungry, I am going to go enjoy another new treat for us here…tea time!  Most days from 10:00-10:30, work stops for a cuppa and a small snack...yum!

Thursday, September 26, 2013


As I look around at the fresh fruit in   I walk up and begin to look closely at each one.  I pick one up to feel its weight, smell to see if it is ripe.  I look at it closely for bad spots.  As I consider it for purchase, my heart flashes back to what I read just recently.
the market, a small stand of pineapples catches my eye.

Consider Jesus.

Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession…Hebrews 3:1

Now, truly, Jesus is not a pineapple, but there is something to be learned from how we consider something and how we should be considering Jesus.

Consider Jesus.  Ponder. Reflect upon.  Peer intently.  Feel His weight.  Let your senses taste and see that He is good.  

As we enter into any given situation, consider who is Jesus in this moment.  Is He your hope, your peace, your confidence?  Is He sufficient? Does He satisfy your desires? Is He your deepest treasure?  Is He this and so much more than words will ever be able to describe?

Consider Jesus…and allow the truth of who He is to filter through and bring truth into your circumstances.  Allow Him to silence the criticism, the defeat, the hurt, the fear.  For as we consider the truth of who He is, the truth of who we are and the truth of our circumstances comes clearer and clearer.

Consider Jesus…and then choose Him.  For you see, choosing is inherent when we consider.  

Whether we choose to say yes or no to a certain pineapple or we choose to say yes or no to the peace of Christ, as we consider, we always end with a choice.  

Consider Jesus and then allow your choice of Him to change who you are. 

Monday, September 23, 2013


Home.  A simple word, but far more than a simple location.  A place constructed of brick, wood or stone but built upon memories, laughter and tears.  A place marked by day to day tasks that grow into years of joys, sorrow, challenges and triumphs.  This is home.  

A simple house constructed with 
cinder blocks, a tin roof and a concrete floor...

...that could be described by the number of bedrooms (2)...

The boy's room has two sets of bunkbeds.

Our room.  Mosquito nets are a new reality and necessity.

 ...or the spacious kitchen/living area...

Loving the new (to me) stove!

Great windows for light and an almost constant breeze.

 ...or the great location on the SIL Center...

Built in neighbors and friends.

...or even the beautiful views.

Taken from our front porch.

But hopefully a place that will come to be described as so much more...a place that will come to be described as home. 

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

School Days

With great excitement and a just a tiny bit of hesitation, both Caleb and Nathan started school this past week. Both boys had been looking forward to the new school and to making new friends, but both boys were understandably a little unsure on the first day....being the new kid isn't always easy. This year we are blessed that both boys are attending a local Christian school, Rapale International School.

Favorite overalls and first day of school

 Nathan is starting "grade 0" which is the same as kindergarten.  His class meets on the same center in which we live and is taught by a fabulous missionary teacher that has over 40 years of experience teaching.  One of the great things about his class is the diversity.  He attends class with Mozambicans, Zimbabweans, Nigerians, Brazilians, and Dutch children.  In his class of 11, he is the only American!

His days (well half days as he his home at noon) are filled with learning the alphabet, numbers and other fun activities.  So far he is having a blast and says his favorite part of school is his new friends.  (A funny side note, in Brazil one of Nathan's best friends was a Dutch boy in his class.  Seems like we might be repeating that trend here too.  Maybe Nathan needs to learn Dutch?)

Caleb's uniform is this shirt and black shorts.
 Caleb is starting "grade 2" which meets on the Rapale campus about one hour away.  Rapale is on a beautiful tract of land surrounded by large inselbergs (rock hills.)  Every morning around 6:15 am, he loads the bus, returning about 3:30 pm.  His teacher is also a fabulous veteran and truly has a heart for the students.  Caleb's class is also as diverse as Nathan's, but he has a couple of American boys in it as well.

As part of his school week he will have PE, art and swimming amongst other things (like math, reading and writing).  His favorite part so far- building a fort with the other boys during recess.  (They were having some roofing issues- kids kept falling through the tatching- so he spent part of his time earlier this week drawing up a design to fix it. Can we say engineer in training?)

Rapale's Main Campus
The view from the playground
 We are so thankful that both boys are adapting well and have had such a smooth transition to school.  David and I are transitioning well too...I think.  Admittedly, it has been a little hard on me to send them both off.  We started our educational journey with Caleb years ago homeschooling and would have thought we would be doing it forever. God has had different plans for us so far though.

Still, this momma's heart rubs up against that hour commute and not having my boys around as much at times.  I am working hard to remain in the peace of knowing that God has arranged this time for the boys at Rapale and that He will use it in their stories to bring Him glory...even the part about the long commute.

Brotherly love on the first day of school

If you are thinking about the boys and would like to be praying for them, some specific things you could lift up are:

-That the transportation for Caleb's school would be consistent and safe.  Pray that the upcoming rainy season would not create too many difficulties.

-That Caleb's reading and math skills would catch up to grade level quickly.  His time in a lower grade in Brazil has left him with a little catching up to do.

-For both Nathan and Caleb to develop life long, true friendships that would draw all involved closer to God.

-Health and safety for both of them.  (There are a couple of trees and rope swings that they are fond of that might just give me a heart attack!)

 Thank you for your prayers and we look forward to sharing with you about the many great school days to come!  

Monday, September 2, 2013

First Glimpse

One view from the SIL Center
As we circled the air above Nampula, I was struck by the beauty of the land. Red dirt roads snaked through grasslands, while large rocky hills stood guard in the distance. Small houses dotted the land, some with tin roofs, some simply thatched. This was Mozambique. This was Africa. This was our goal and desire for the past two years. I felt my heart grow a little larger as I prayed for our time to be fruitful and for us to be used by God to bring His Kingdom a little closer to the people we will soon grow to love dearly.

Beautiful Old Cashew Tree

When we landed and began to mentally prepare for heading through customs, our hearts lifted as we looked up to see a group of smiling faces waving at us. Friends from SIL (which is used to refer to Wycliffe here and many other parts of the world) had come to greet us and drive us to the SIL Center, where we will be living. What a joy for us to see them after we had been in the air for so long. (Their continued warm welcome has been a huge help in getting us settled!)

SIL Center

After we made it through customs surprisingly easily, we loaded up the cars to drive to the Center. As we drove over bumpy dirt roads, some of the harsh realities of Mozambique hit us for the first time. Mozambique is incredibly poor monetarily. Many of the houses we drove by were poorly constructed with trash strewn about the streets. The reality is that this too is Mozambique and that this too is part of so many areas in Africa.

It did not take us too long after entering the gates of the SIL Center to realize that it is a great place for two little boys to live. The Center is on a large track of land surrounded by a wall. Inside are several houses, offices, a playground and many, many climbing trees. The boys requested their bikes right away and they were off and riding the very first day. (David had broken the bikes down and we were able to pack them in among the 10 suitcases we ended up checking.)

Our boys are rarely seen without their bikes
Over the past week here, the boys have continued to explore while making new friends. There is another family who lives on Center with three little boys and several other families who are here off and on throughout the week. The boys have transitioned fairly well, but face one more transition fairly soon as they both start school on September 10.

 We have met their teachers and seen the schools they will be attending. Nathan’s class meets here on the Center while Caleb’s is at Rapale International School (a 45 min to 1 hour bus ride away). Both boys are excited, but also a little nervous as being the new kid is not always easy.

Our first injury- a black eye from rough housing

Giant Termite Mound

In little over a week or so, David and I will begin our official orientation to SIL Mozambique- how to live day to day and hopefully learning more about how we will be using our skills to help Bible translation. Shortly after that, we will be moving into our long term house on the Center (which will be a happy moment, but also a sad one as we will be saying good-bye to some dear friends who will be leaving to serve in a different city.)
Just one of many beautiful sunsets

We hope to spend much of our next few weeks exploring and learning more and more about Nampula and the beautiful people that call it home. As we do so, we will continue to make not only new first impressions, but hopefully many long-lasting impressions that will draw us closer to God and this land which is so very precious to Him.
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