In the past two weeks, my life has been filled with the incredible. First and foremost, I find it incredible that my mother, of all people, managed to not only decide to come visit me, but actually followed through and made it back and forth in one piece! My mom joined me for the final leg of my sabbatical/hiatus/migration in Beira. She was able to meet some MCCers, play with a bunny, eat some delicious meals and gaze lovingly at the ocean. I introduced her to the lovely and eclectic community of friends I have in Beira, and was delighted by their hospitality and welcoming of her. They’re pretty great people. A small collection of these friends joined us at Rio Savane, a beach “resort” north of Beira, where we witnessed the incredible beauty of crabs, stars, sunsets and tides. Daily, my mom distributed gifts from family and friends from home. I was blown away by the love from so many dear people so far away. Thank you for your incredible thoughtfulness for such gifts such as trashy magazines, candy, faux snow, coffee and cards!
Halfway through her trip, my mom and I made our way down to Maputo so she could see where I live and work, and so I could get settled back into where I live and work. The month and a half in Beira was great, but it has been nice transitioning back into the life of the capitol. My mom stayed with me the guest house where I’ll be living for the remainder of my time in Mozambique. I will be helping the two short and sweet ladies who run this missionary guest house with simple yet revolutionary tasks such as answering the door late at night, planning guest bookings and replying to text messages on their cell phones. In return for my few hours a week I’ll work for them, they will provide me with a place to stay and three meals a day all within walking distance of my CCM office. I feel so incredibly blessed to have a housing situation actually work out well within the city. So many prayers have been answered, and it’s quite incredible to see everything unfolding so seamlessly. I’m actually starting to feel like I have a home in the city in which I live, and it’s a great thing.
I also received a new perspective on Maputo through my mom’s visit. We decided to spend my mom’s last Saturday at another incredible beach: Inhaca Island. On the other side of Maputo Bay, Inhaca Island was a touristy three hour boat ride away from the city. Our stay was short and fairly sweet, despite my bout of a boat-induced migraine. The island was extremely pretty, and it was delightful to see the water of Maputo Bay with a shimmering turquoise gleam instead of the dismal and polluted grey I’m used to on the city side. Plus, seeing Maputo from the outside looking in made the city so appear so impressive and sterile!
My mother lady’s short and sweet trip ended with a trip to a short and sweet lady. Whenever I travel, one of my favorite places to go is a local market. I love the smells and the makeshift, low-hanging ceilings and the bartering and the noise and the produce. And at my favorite market in Maputo, I love my friend Ilena. Throughout the past few months, she has been a welcoming presence in the city as someone who is always excited to see me and someone who won’t make fun of my horrible Portuguese. Her kindness always spills over as she slips me a few extra bananas or throws in an extra orange for free. I wanted to introduce my mom to her first market and first Ilena experience. We went earlier in the week, but Ilena insisted that my mom come back to see her one last time before she left. So we did just that. On our way to the airport, our taxi made a quick stop at the market for a final farewell, but the sweet lady did not want to cut things too short. She sent my mom on her way with two incredibly large mangos and an apple and orange, as well as a wooden spoon and two purses she grabbed from a neighboring stall. She presented these parting gifts to my projectile weeping mother who was overcome by Ilena’s generosity as a woman who gives tremendously more than she herself has. I was struck with the profound simplicity of loving a virtual stranger in such a lavish way, and wondered why it would be so hard for me to do what Ilena did so freely. It was pretty incredible.