Ilivetolearn's Blog

March 1, 2013

our post-Habitat Africa sojourn

Filed under: on the road — ilivetolearn @ 12:55 am

Even though the days we spent with Angelica and her family and neighbors and Habitat employees were just a small percentage of our trip, they felt like the most important part. I’m glad they were near the beginning of our weeks, so we got a taste of life in the REAL Mozambique, where most people are truly subsistence farmers, without electricity and running water, and the simple tasks of everyday life take most of the day.

From Xai Xai we drove north, stopping overnight at a totally deserted beach resort called Sylvia Shoals. Elliot had booked it online because he didn’t want to drive all the way to Vilankulo in one day, and thought it would be a treat since it looked slightly more deluxe than Honeypot, where we had stayed during the build. Looked good at first–our cabana, with the kids’ cabana (and Elliot’s car) just visible in the left rear:

sylvia shoals

It was just about dark when we pulled in, and the one employee we scared up told us they were full even though it was obvious we were the only people there. When Elliot convinced him we had a reservation, he fired up the generator so we had lights. Unfortunately there was no running water, but he brought a huge plastic gerry can to the kids’ cabana and we proceeded to warm up some dinner. Margo amused herself swatting mosquitoes with an electric zapper, and we had a hilarious time trying to decant the water into usable jugs, during which process the very old plastic (probably WWII vintage) gave way in two different places and an entire room got soaked; at least half the water disappeared down the bathroom drain.

In the morning we all took a walk on the beach:

sylvia shoals beach

Not another person in sight. Some great shells to be had. Everyone swam but Elliot. Then back for cold dribbly showers (they had fixed a leak so there was some running water), paying of bill, loading of car, and off to Vilankulo for the next adventure.

Elliot had bought a two-night stay at a VERY fancy resort at a fundraising auction and so Bill and I got to live in the lap of luxury while the kids hung out at a kind of hippy-dippy place in Vilankulo. We flew to Benguerra Island on a tiny plane, looking down on this:

view from plane

And were greeted by the staff of the lodge, singing us welcome:

benguerra staff dance

It was sweet but not quite as spirited as the ladies singing at the Habitat build. We were in a very different sector of Mozambiquan society. To be continued…

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