Sunday, May 20, 2012

a really fast update while the pay by the minute internet is working

I could fill these pages with thoughts about just how simply amazing it was to be home. I have never felt such kindness, generosity and Southern hospitality. It was beyond words to get to see my friends and family. I am in awe of all those that pray for me and I now know why I have been able to do what I do. Your prayers sustain me. 
I loved every second of being home. I loved waking up knowing that anything I could possibly want for breakfast was mostly in the pantry downstairs or attainable at the local Ingle’s. I loved having internet. I loved driving Dad’s convertible. I was really disappointed that I was so busy that I didn’t get to see my cousin or spend a lot of time with my friends. But I was blown away by those who all wanted to hear more about the school and my life here. I stayed so busy. I never had not one single day with nothing to do. I found myself ready to come back to Pemba where I could rest. One of the neatest things about going home was making new friends. I am amazed by those who God seems to be handpicking to put into my life. I raised enough money to buy my plane ticket back and was given seed money to start doing some small business loans with our students! 
As I boarded the plane, I was at total peace, knowing that it was simply time to go home. As I previously mentioned, as I filled out my immigration forms in South Africa, I made a horrific discovery. I only have a 30 day visa. The embassy in Washington was horrible at getting me the visa in the first place. I called numerous times and have dubbed them the worst customer service on the planet. I was told that I was being given the visa I requested. When the visa arrived, a month late, I just checked the dates of validity, not reading the fine print that even though it is valid until my departure date of November, it is a 30 day multiple entry visa. This means I have to leave the country every 30 days. This means in less than a month I have to fly to South Africa to get it renewed. Flights to SA are $800. I cannot do this 5 times. I am meeting with immigration on Monday. We don’t have internet so I cannot post this so chances are you will not read this until after this meeting has occurred. I am not really upset, mostly just frustrated and wondering how I could have missed that. How could I not have seen that? How could they make such a mistake? I know I am supposed to be here. I don’t know what tomorrow will hold, but I have to hold on to my peace and know that if this costs me, it costs me and God will provide. He is faithful. 
I immediately got settled into my house and unpacked all the little things I had brought from the States to make my house a home. It’s amazing what a rug will do. I brought a juicer. I am having beet, ginger, apple and carrot juice as I write this. Phylis bought me a magnetized board and I put some of your photos there in my room. I washed my vegetables in a large new bowl from Target. I hung my new shower curtain. It feels better now. The house still has mold and I am congested and sneezing. It is a problem. I am going to tackle cleaning the ceilings tomorrow. Veronica, my cleaning lady will help me, of course. She was ELATED to see me and ran to greet me. That alone was worth the 19 hours of air travel, just to see her face and hear her squeal my name. 
The weather here is perfect. It is not hot and has been so pleasant and mild. I know this can change in an instant but I played outside with Nathalia and Bia tonight in the front yard and never would have dreamed of playing out there in the past 6 months. You would have died of a heat stroke. 
I am all moved back in and even got to swim in the sea. A group went on Saturday. I live in such a beautiful place. I live at the beach! That thought never ceases to make me grin. 
I got to see a lot of the kids, our Iris kids and some of my students at church this morning. It feels like family. I am honored to be a part of it and just excited to see what God does, with them and with me along this little journey. It looks like I may be doing private English lessons a few times a week. I am also excited to see what can come of our small business loans. I know there are mixed reviews on the effectiveness of micro loans but I think in a setting where there is education and accountability, we can really have some success stories. 
I feel that I am back where I belong. Hartwell and Atlanta were so much fun. I loved hot water, big beds, refrigerators full of food, shopping, driving in one lane, with lines and no potholes on a paved road, electricity, no frogs in the house. But other than the constant flow of friends to see and visit, there really is nothing there for me and this is where I belong. 
I am praying for major favor during tomorrow’s visit to the immigration office. I have been told there is little they can do. I will be relieved to just know one way or the other and make my plans accordingly. 

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I hope to be able to communicate a little better this time around, not only in coming here to write but in hearing from you! If you have a smartphone or an iPad you can download the FREE app, heytell (icon seen here) and communicate with me. You can find me if you sign in via Facebook. Another smartphone app, WhatsApp Messenger or whatsapp, allows us to text and send photos and videos to each other for free! Although the app itself is .99cents. I will set this up within the next few days and keep you posted. And as always you can email me at I look forward to hearing your voices and being able to show you Moz. 

that was fast

I am back in the very spot where I last wrote about coming home, in Johannesburg. I was so Christmas morning ecstatic to be coming home. It was all I ever hoped for and so much more. I wished I had journaled about it all but I didn't even keep a calendar. But I basically had something to do every single day and stayed really busy. I didn't get to see or talk to half the people I wanted to. I never anticipated being so busy and having so many dinners and engagements. I made new friends and got to connect with old ones. I got to speak to a few new places and got to report back to those who have been with me from the beginning. It all went by way too fast. But it is time for me to be back in Mozambique where I belong.

Yesterday Mom drove me as far as Howell Mill where we went to one of my favorite brunch spots, West Egg Cafe. Then we shopped in all the pretty design shops. I smelled candles and lusted after Brahms Mount blankets. We went in anthropologie and I bought a handbag and drawer pulls. Mother bought out Ballard's. The entire time I was keenly aware of the contrast I was about to enter.

Then I drove myself to the Gold Dome and Betty drove me to the airport. Apparently they opened a new international terminal yesterday, just for me. I had two oversized bags and Shane at the Delta counter, although was not able to send my bags all the way to Pemba, didn't charge me for the extra weight. I zipped through security and was disappointed to only see a few small shops, and a few fast food restaurants on the upstairs level. But it was all squeaky clean and not busy at all.

I am notorious for seeing people I know and this time I saw Shelia Lavalle. And later, boarded my flight along with Marilyn Hickey. Remember her?

I took melatonin and slept like a baby. I watched a whole bunch of movies and just when I thought I would scream if I didn't get off that plane, we were landing. As I opened my Passport to go through customs I noticed my Visa said "Multiple Entry" which made me read further of the fine print. I had called about this Visa numerous times. Each time I was either put on hold, given voice mail, told to email or that they would call me back. The times I did get a live person, they were no help. I got a live person the last time I called and was told my passport was on the way and that I was granted the 180 day Visa. When it arrived I simply looked at the date of expiration, November 12th, 2012. I didn't see what I saw so apparently today, 30 DAY VISA!

So now I am headed to Pemba for 180 days on a 30 day Visa. I am praying and I do feel peace. It will work out. It may mean I get to go to Kenya or Malawi or maybe even Zimbabwe. I specifically came home when I did because I wanted to come home each time and reapply for the 180 day Visa to "save money". This will cost. So I am giving this one up to God and His plans and His keen ability to turn it all around to make it look like He meant for it to happen all along.

I am leaving for Pemba in the morning. I am excited to be going home!! I made so many new connections back in Georgia that I am also already anticipating our times together. Kinda like that quote, "Wherever you go, there you are!". Tomorrow I will be in Pemba where I belong.