February 22, 2008


I’ve been asked several times this week, “What is the hardest thing about living in Mozambique?” I had to think for a few minutes. The transition from my life in Australia to living here in Maputo has been quite smooth and uneventful thus far, aside from a day or two of rioting at our front gates. This had nothing whatsoever to do with us here at Zimpeto. Honestly.

The uninvited guests in my room haven’t troubled me particularly – two geckoes, one large frog, a myriad of cockroaches (may they rest in peace) and, last night, a mouse brazenly chewing on a cardboard box in the corner. I have become quite unexpectedly blasé about such visitors and suspect that they’re more bothered by me than I am by them.

The food is fine – so long as it’s thoroughly washed due to a high prevalence of cholera in the area at the moment. The weather is hot and humid and unseasonably blustery but quite manageable. The noise of 350 children playing after school, many of them choosing the sand just beyond my front window as their ideal play area, generally delights me and occasionally forces me to reach for my headphones and some loud music.

All in all, there is a rhythm developing to my days here at Zimpeto that is beginning to feel like the start of something wonderful.

Even as I say this, though, I feel a sadness rise as I think of home today. This is the first day since I moved here a month ago that I wish I were there.

My big brother gets married today. It will be a wonderful celebration and my family will all be together. And as I, here in Mozambique, think of not being there to witness this special event, I’m sad. I’d like to give my brother and his wonderful bride my love in person, to hug them and wish them well. They know my thoughts and my love are with them even if I’m not.

It will be a joyous and special day. Whether together in one place or separated by distance, family is family and nothing changes that. I am blessed to have a family like mine, parents and brothers and sister who love and support me, nieces and nephews and the start of another generation on the way.

At Zimpeto, I get to give to children the love that’s been given to me. I was raised in a family and now I have the opportunity to give from the fullness of this blessing to children who have no family of their own.

To be here today, missing such an important family event, is a small price to pay for the blessing of being able to pour out what has been poured so abundantly into my life. I know my family understands this and blesses my choice to be here today. The children of Zimpeto are the family I share my heart with during this season of my life.

What better way to spend a family day.