Friday, August 28, 2009

In July, I went to the airport to big up some visitors.
Photo by Ali P. Gross.

And, anxiously awaited their arrival.
Photo by Ali P. Gross.

Palms sweaty, nerves on edge.
Photo by Ali P. Gross.

And then, they showed up.
Photo by Ali P. Gross.

My sister, Emily.

And brother, Sean.
Photo by Ali P. Gross.

It was the beginning of our first sibling adventure.
Photo by Ali P. Gross.

They had no clue what they were in for.
Photo by Ali P. Gross.

We met a friend of Tupac and Biggie on our first bus.

Then got on our first "chapa" to Namaacha.

Less than three hours after their arrival,
we were on a bus in Swaziland.

24 hours later we were looking at rhinoceros.

3 siblings?

Or dinner?
Photo by Emily Maule.

Giraffes are one of the most beautiful, aristocratic creatures.

We encountered a caterpillar train on the path to our room

Then a nhala interrupted our lunch.

They weren't shy at all.

Especially for being on the menu last time I was at Mhkaya.

Another species of guinea fowl. These are some pretty class birds.

And, some pretty classy siblings.

I swear that this is a hyena.

And this, an elephant.

A spider figured he would say goodbye to us.
And, terrify Emily on our way out of the park.

Before heading back to Maputo, we stopped in Namaacha.

At the peak of the growing season.

My host-mother in front of her farm.
Photo by Emily Maule.

My two families.

I stumbled upon a calf in Inhamussua.
Photo by Chase Nye.

Chase thought it would be a good idea to invite it inside his home.

Fresh from the mother's womb.

The next morning we slack-lined.

And, we learned capoiera.

Brazilian Dance Fighting.
Photo by Emily Maule.

Sean and Chase warmed up.

Then Chase and I began our showdown.
Photo by Sean Mohundro.

It was a pretty good match.
Photo by Sean Mohundro.

But in the end, I had to show Chase who is the "Rick Ross" of capoiera.
Photo by Sean Mohundro.

We spent some time chilling at the school's
failed attempt to restor a colonial dam.
Photo by Emily Maule.

Then, made vegetarian pasties for dinner.
Photo by Chase Nye.

This is how we slept for the majority of our adventure.
Photo by Chase Nye.

We crammed into open-back transportation to return to Maxixe.

We had between 20-24 people in the back of this truck.

In Massinga, my siblings prepared salsa for our black eyed peas.

Emily ate true organic food, possibly for the first time in her life.

Sean and I washed his clothes.
Something I haven't done myself in over a year.
Photo by Emily Maule.

Then, we got all dressed up to see the traditional healer.

Emily was not happy about the 15 minute walk.

The traditional healer's die.

An assortment of charms, bones, and seashells guaranteed to read our fortunes.

After reading our fortunes, the "curandeiro" told one last spell.
Photo by Justino Cossa.

Amongst all his ritual artifacts,
the bottle of dollar gin made its way into the ceremony.
Photo by Justino Cossa.

Though a popular spirit, I would hardly call Carvela Gin traditional.
Photo by Justino Cossa.

The siblings and Silvin.
Photo by Justino Cossa.

Silvin gave us some magic to help us with our problems.

Apparently, our deceased grandfather Cotton felt neglected.

So, we said our prayers in hopes that he would be placated.

The smoke filled my house.

And set an eerie stage for our spell.

We gave thanks and expressed our concerns.

And advanced to level seven wizardry.

The end of the magic.

The following morning, we crossed the Inhambane Bay.

I convinced my siblings to take the dow.

And that this was a cultural experience.

Sean was less than enthused.

Nevertheless, we had a beautiful boat ride to Inhambane.

Unfortunately, the beach was cold! We spent a ton of time indoors.

Our last night, we splurged and went out to eat.

The mood was somber, the food unimpressive.
Thanks Flamingo Bay.

After five days on the beach, it was time for my siblings to leave.

It was the end of our first sibling adventure.

I was sad to see them gone.

To cross the bay alone.

And to begin my last trimester at Massinga Secondary School.

A clip of Sean being fearless.

My best slack-line attempt of the day.

We had been playing around with the idea since March but we weren't sure if we would be able to make this happen. Emily had minor aviophobia, Sean is a struggling design student, and my mother, a concerned parent. Africa seemed like a long shot for my younger siblings. However, one late May evening, Sean, Emily, and I made a spontaneous, unanimous decision to buy two plane tickets to Johannesburg. Sean and Emily would be coming to Africa.

But, getting here would not be easy. After a three hour delay in Atlanta, the plane to cross the Atlantic was behind schedule and my mother, a nervous wreck. After confirming their international flight every step of the way, the concern intensified when there was no post-arrival phone call. It was clear that they had missed their flight to Maputo. Nevertheless, the distraught mother of a thirteen year-old girl forced her oldest son to take a cab to the airport at 11 o'clock to investigate.

We didn't hear from Sean or Emily that night, but I was there to welcome them as the first flight from Johannesburg arrived the next morning. Out they came, like two newborns bursting from their mothers womb.

We began our adventure immediately, making a short stop at the Peace Corps Headquarters in Maputo then heading for the Namaacha-Lamahaacha boarder. We met a fellow American traveler, Maya, who accompanied us to Swaziland. The next day, we headed out to Mhkaya Game Reserve to see real African wildlife, something Mozambique lacks nearly entirely. There, we saw all of the things that my mother and I saw in November the previous year. This time, the park was particularly stocked with different antelope which roamed our dining and resting areas.

After Swaziland, we visited my host family in Namaacha. It was pretty awesome for my siblings to see where I lived and eat what I ate for my first three months in Mozambique. After roaming the hills and replenishing ourselves with a hearty chicken stew and rice, we got back on the road to Maputo.

After a nice restaurant meal and overnight in Maputo, we headed north by means of public transportation. We attempted to hitchhike for an hour or so but, as the morning sun rose, we decided it best to get on the road. It was a particularly eventful ride. My siblings thought the communal experience of box-wine-sharing between passengers was particularly amusing. There was even a huge fight about a bag of bread someone had forgotten on the bus on a previous trip that ended in our bus driver speeding off down the one-lane highway.

Chase welcomed us to Inhambane as we arrived in Maxixe. We stocked up on comfort foods and headed to the agrarian school Chase teaches at in Inhamussua. This would be my siblings "bush" experience. We were all able to rest for the next few days after being exhausted from travel. The bush brought unique experiences like hanging out with a new born calf, learning capoeira, witnessing the intense effects of malaria, and bucket-bathing. Chase was a great host and relieved me of my hosting duties for a couple of days. After wearing out our welcome, we all left Inhamussua together to see Massinga.

Massinga was another opportunity for all of us to just chill and hang out together. I had a bit of work to do since I skipped out on post-trimester meetings. However, we were able to get some culture in the intense Massinga market and in the small hut of a local witch doctor. Politically correct traditional healers, are government certified and culturally renown for getting done whatever job needs to get done. So, we payed an exorbitant fee so that the malungus could experience the culture. The healer informed my brother and I that our mother's father has been meddling in our lives because he feels we don't respect our maiden heritage. He informed our sister than the spirits of a former friend of hers are intervening with her love life. After fortune telling for an hour or so, the "curandeiro" prepared different potions to use at home and on the beach. These concoctions would protect us from evil spirits and assuage our grandfathers feelings of neglect.

After a night casting out the demons, we headed to the highly anticipated beach. However, Africa showed my siblings that it too can be a cold continent. The days were sunny but the wind was cold, so we were forced to stay on the porch or inside of our rented, 30 dollar-a-day house. But the Mohundro/Maule family is a creative one, and we entertained ourselves with card playing, cooking, haggling with beach vendors, and making bonfires. We also ran into another volunteer and her family and got to watch live music and dancing at a neighboring resort.

In the end, my siblings were ready to go home. I blame it on the shitty weather, but I'm sure the whole experience was exhausting for them. We traveled for thousands of kilometers and rest was diluted by a cramped bed. Not to mention, we had evil spirits haunting us for most of the trip.

It was tough saying goodbye, especially knowing I had to go home and plan for my last trimester. However, Sean and Emily had rejuvenated my spirit. I was ready to take on my last trimester in Massinga and all of the stress that would come along with teaching, isolation, and saying goodbye. Goodbye again? Holy shit. This is my last trimester. I am coming home soon.


Anonymous Tom Haslett (erstwhiley of Massinga) said...

Hey Patrick,

Parabens on getting to and through your last trimester; the most profoundly bittersweet experience I have ever, well, experienced. That curandeiro visit makes me jealous. Good luck staffing a Esc. 2a de Massinga with a legit new volunteer.

Tom Haslett

10:29 PM  
Blogger Pamelamaule said...

Hello Patrick,
What an interesting account of Sean and Emily's visit. So many great pictures! This last semester will go by faster than you think. I can't wait to see you.
Love, Mom XXOO

1:03 AM  
Blogger Sarah said...

Great pictures, you do a great job narrating us through them. How exciting for you and Sean and Emily that you all got to experience Africa together at least for a little bit. It seems like you are really close, which is great; brothers and sisters are the best friends you could ever have.
Best of luck on your last semester; I'll pray that it goes fast for you.

Sarah Grignon

2:58 PM  

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