We’ve been planning Mr. Swero’s move to a plot nearby for quite some time already. He’s the man with leprosy that I’ve blogged about before who lived very, very far back in the bush on the old farm. Getting to his place was a trek that took several hours. Here is one such trek that I made back in August with Steve, George and a guide. Thankfully, there are no lions in this tall grass. Well, there usually aren't.
This man was only just barely coping on his own since, over time, he has lost all his fingers and toes due to leprosy. A local church and the mission worked together to provide him with monthly food supply, medical treatment, and care for other needs he had.
(Bush-style dressing for a deep foot wound--Socorrista Ernesto and I)
When we realized how far out he lived we knew how difficult it would be to check in on him regularly, so decided together with him to build a new home for him that was closer to the mission.
I think that in his mind the building process was quite slow because even before the doors and windows were ready, he wanted to move in. “I’ll just hang cloth over the windows and a mat in the doorway. It’ll be fine. I'm ready to move now!” So we set a day last week and loaded up all his earthly belongings which consisted of 5 goats, 2 small suitcases, a bucket, some pots, a few bags of ground maize (white corn) and a handful of other small items. The sight of his few humble possessions made me embarrassed about the seeming glut of stuff I have which requires a large shipping container to relocate.
As he got settled into his new home he absolutely beamed with pride. He smiled and smiled and smiled. It was what I consider to be one of those gift-moments for us all.
He is now part of a community with caring neighbours. The widow next door, who receives help from the orphan program, helps him cook and do some of his activities of daily living. He also receives a daily home visit by the socorristas who change his foot dressing and ensure he has an uninterrupted supply of anti-leprosy drugs (which will not repair past damage but will halt disease progression).
Other newcomers who arrived this week were visitors from the U.S.
Here they are in the camp kitchen:
Nat and Salena (above left), who have both served the mission previously (as single missionaries) and “found each other” right here in this very place, have returned for a month-long visit to serve and reconnect with everyone here again.
Tom and Mary (above right), have come up with Ron and Barb Wayner—Mercy Air (they are family of theirs, in fact). They are here for about a week and will be involved in some of the work, home visits, and whatever else pops up during their stay!
Tom entertains neighbourhood kids by showing them digital pictures of themselves. It's quite a novelty and always evokes squeals and peals of laughter!
And last but not least, here is another newcomer to our small neighbourhood.
His name is Magnum and he’s Rick and Heather’s new 8 week old Boerbull/Great Dane cross puppy. I “got to” puppy-sit him once already this week. It was very fun even though there were a few puddles to clean up! He’ll grow into a fine guard dog one day. In the meantime, we all agree that he’s just plain cute.
Well, we all--except our little dog Mushu, that is, who greets Magnum’s friendliness with a curled lip and grouchy snarls. I guess he figures Magnum is annoying with all that bouncy, boundless energy, silly playfulness and adorable-cutie-cuteness that has the humans going all ga-ga. Now, had it been up to Mushu, he would have arranged for a more mature, serious neighbour-dog to help shoulder the responsibility of guarding against (read: barking at) both (few) real and (many, many) imaginary threats. It’s a tough job for one dog to do alone.
Anyway, I better close for now since much work and some fancy packing awaits me! Dwight and I leave here next week to begin our trek to Canada where we’ll be itinerating until our return in July.
As for posts on this blog, they will continue ☺. And even though there will be stories of our travels, wherever they may take us in the next few months, there will always be tales of this our life in Mozambique as well!
PS: I don’t have a reptile/repulsive insect paragraph in this post, but here’s a link to a great story by a Mercy Air pilot that I’m sure everyone will enjoy.