I'm pleased to say that the two teams who were due to arrive this week arrived without any hitches. The Mercy Air team was the first to arrive and they barely had half a day to settle in before we handed over all the tools, paint, glass and window putty, etc. for them to start work with. They showed alot of spirit and gumption and got stuck in to their work right away even though we knew their heads were likely reeling with the shock of the realities of bush life! They even invited us for supper at their cottage at the end of each long, hot day. We had lots of good laughs. Their 5 days here were very packed indeed as they not only worked hard at their different tasks but also had the chance to squeeze in visits to orphan homes, ladies groups, the mission's primary school and even the bustling Vanduzi outdoor market! (Above and below: painting camp facilities and working in the woodshop.)
One of their jobs while here was to fly to Beira to pick up the team of nursing students who arrived from the University of Saskatchewan 2 days ago. The Beech 18 and the Cessna 182 are certainly a whole lot smoother and quicker than that old pot-holed highway in a van! The girls were pretty tired and quiet on the evening of their arrival but they have certainly perked up after a few nights sleep!
Today both teams packed into 3 vehicles and headed to Chimoio in order to drop the Mercy Air group off at the airport (to return to South Africa) and so the USASK team could go on their first shopping expedition. Our first stop was at our famous and pretty much only grocery store "Shoprite". It's a mind-boggling experience to shop in a new country with strange new brands and prices for entire team who will not have a handy 7/11 nearby. After Shoprite and lunch (that we're pretty sure had to be hunted down first) we headed to a few of the local markets in search of fresh vegetables and a few other items. Local markets here are always a buffet of variety for the senses from the deafeningly loud music to the unforgetable smell of salted fish...to yes, some nice fresh veggies as well!
For most guests the night sounds here are rather alarming so we do our best to inform them of what sound is what ahead of time so they can concentrate on getting their sleep rather than imagining what beast or activity may be going on outside their tent! It's surprising really how noisy the nights here can be with drums beating, owls hooting, bats squeaking, bush babies shreaking and in their season--Christmas beetles churning out their steady, high-pitched "zweeeeeeeee". We don't really notice the sounds anymore though. To us, these are wonderful sounds of silence pleasant to sleep by. I'm not so sure that our reassurances always help our guests sleep much better when they first come, but when days are as packed with activities as the last week has been, I think sleep has a way crowding the noises out!