Sunday, January 10, 2010

2010--Busy times!

It was time to quit eating so much and kick life and work back into gear again on the Monday after New Year’s. Besides routine work for the first part of 2010, some priorities were to focus on finishing up a few orphan/widow homes, completing data entry (on new program) for school kids, planning for mission’s Annual General Meeting preparing departmental budgets and reports, finishing the health manual and sending it to print (me and Keren), and so on. Things were abuzz.

Then we heard that the government had moved up the date for the first day of school from early February (the norm) to January 18th!

Now, we have a lot of kids in school--both in the mission school plus those with sponsorship who attend other schools beyond grade 5--so there was some serious student registering/accommodation searching/parent meetings/last minute organizing to do!

Students at Chitundo, where many of the mission's sponsored students transfer to.

To add to the chaos, we were told that some of the kids could not transfer to the usual school we transfer kids to (Chitundo, where we have things more or less in place) because a new school nearby had expanded its capacity and they needed to transfer there instead. The new school is closer to the mission so, in many ways, that works better for us too. But it was the last minute scramble starting from scratch in a new school and finding housing in a new area that added a little touch of “crazy busy” to the mix. And all this while Dwight and I had to leave on a trip south. We’re very thankful for a capable home team!

It seems I’ve written volumes about this topic already but every time we have to travel the EN1, Mozambique’s only national highway connecting north to south, there's always another comment or story to add. This highway is in a perpetual state of both repair and disrepair, where the speed of repair somehow never overtakes disrepair, despite numerous work crews and contracts.

Right now there is a new outfit contracted with rebuilding long portions of the road.

They’ve done a terrific amount of earth moving which is a bit disconcerting considering the apparent lack of progress they’ve made since they began and considering the chaos with which the job seems to run. Heavy rains reduced certain sections to a nearly impassible quagmire in November.

This detour road has only one proper lane to drive in, and no flag people to direct traffic, so what you end up with is vehicles having head-on meetings where the only safe place to veer off is the portion under construction (evidenced by the branches on the road).

The engineers don’t like this very much, of course, and tell people to “get off of there!” Ok…but to where?

And get this: the new highway’s base layer of pressed dirt is already undergoing repairs. Yes, they’re repairing potholes in the sub-tar layer. This is not a good sign.

Here's a shot of the highway as it enters Maputo, the capital city. There are 2 paved lanes here with only dirt shoulders, but the norm is for the traffic to be 4 or so lanes wide regardless. So watch out pedestrians! And watch out motorists...a lot of cutting in and out goes on.

Anyway, we’re currently in South Africa on business for about a week. While here, we’re working on (besides the immediate tasks at hand) coordinating our schedule for the next few months. There are several teams slated to arrive fairly soon, plus individual volunteers as well. After that, there will be more teams, some from South Africa and two from Prairie (Canada) between May and July. So, busy times ahead. Good, but busy.

And with that I will close and get back to work!


1 comment:

Laura said...

Hi Lynn! I am heading to Mercy Air on Wednesday - will you still be there then? If so, maybe we'll see each other! hope your time there is productive yet restful as well! Loved the photos and so glad I only go 11 ks up the N1!!!