Sunday, October 23, 2011

Making Things Fit

One of the joys of heading out on the long trip home is packing the vehicle. I use the term “joy” loosely because it’s actually a big chore to ensure that all the stuff we need to take home will

a. Fit.
b. Pass South Africa/Mozambique border inspection without too much ado.
c. Be safe all the way home (no water damage from rain, no breakage over bad roads).
d. Be packed so essential items for our stopover are accessible without unpacking and repacking more than absolutely necessary.

Here, Dwight and Andy pack things in as tightly as possible to make them fit. The back was half filled with boxes of study books.

These are essential items after our mid-trip overnight stop though, not the initial pack. That happened the day before and was not done during daylight hours, nor in such pleasant weather. It was done at 9 pm during a nasty thunderstorm. Darkness, pouring rain, lightning, howling wind and falling branches sure make for an unpleasant packing experience. We had an awful lot to cram into the vehicle, but somehow it all fit in.

Once we get packed up, it’s an 18 hour trip home that we split into 2 x 9 hour days. We don’t stop much along the way, but on this trip both Andy and Dwight had to pop in to their respective embassies to get the necessary signed letters in order to process their Mozambican driver’s licenses.

This meant navigating Maputo streets and crazy traffic.

Dwight checking out some High Commission literature while waiting for his official signed letter. We got to meet and shake hands with our High Commission Counsellor too.

But back to the trip.

There are several marked differences between Day 1 and Day 2 of this trip. On day 1, we’re still in the south’s highly populated areas where, simply put, there is more money. Gas stations have better supplies like ice cream and yogurt that is still safe to eat, and their restrooms are fairly decent.

On day 2 of the trip we enter what is more truly rural Mozambique with its poorer communities and limited supplies.

There are few places to stop and order food along the way so I took a few photos of the almost one and only food stop.

Looks like prices have gone up.
Looks like their menu writer had a challenge making things fit too.

Here's some of the decore:

This is just plain funny. A live chicken displaying a roasted chicken :)
Ok, he's a rooster.

As a nurse, I'm glad to see the "no smoking". Most places here don't worry about that.

The front serving counter.

We knew if we ordered hot food we'd be there awhile so we just ordered sandwiches.
Pretty sure the chickens were happy for that.

Note the large Cerebos salt shaker on the right. It's tough getting just a sprinkle out of that.

The 2nd day stretch of highway is cashew nut and pineapple territory so you can usually find them for sale along the way.

If you’re brave enough to put your window down and face the-battle-of-the-vendors, that is. Next challenge is, yes, to find a place where they'll fit!

During our absence, our main generator (the "Genny" mentioned in Ruth’s post) went on the blink for several days. This was made worse by the fact that our back-up generator hadn’t been delivered and hooked up yet.

When the generator’s not running nearly everything comes to a standstill. No power = no machines working. Very importantly, no water gets pumped either. Thankfully the guys at the mission managed a work around. The back up has been delivered since and will soon be hooked up.

It can be quite a hassle, this generator business. That is why we rejoice in scenes like this along the highway: power line poles!

They’re not quite in our neck of the woods yet, but it looks like they’re headed our way so we’re very hopeful.

Let me close with this morning’s excitement. We woke up to no water in the taps even though the generator ran the usual hours yesterday and would have pumped the 10,000 liter tank full. After some scouting around, Dwight found the broken underground pipe where most of that water leaked out overnight.

He and Rick did their best to repair the break with some pipe connectors, but the sizes were a bit off and wouldn’t fit. The only solution was to tie off the end of the pipe thus cutting off water supply to one of the homes.

Here’s hoping that pipe/connectors that fit can be bought this week. Oh the joys...


ruth said...

Oh brother. The excitement never ends does it!!

Royden Lepp said...

Hey! Dwight got a haircut! :)