Saturday, August 20, 2011

Mark and Debbi Take on Mozambique


We have been home for a week now and we are still processing all the sights and experiences we encountered on our trip to Africa. First let me say that it was an amazing trip and how wonderful it was to see Annie for the first time in 10 months. She guided us through her new homeland with ease. From amazing meals (chocolate pancakes to homemade tortillas to musafaca (a traditional zambezian dish of lentils, rice, coconut milk and spices) to her mastery of Portuguese, each day in Mozambique offered insights into Annie’s daily life. We shopped in the local market, drank local beer, collected water each night, visited her classes and even took bucket baths! The countryside was full of many different landscapes and housing options.

We then spent 3 days at a private game reserve bordering Kruger Park in South Africa. We observed the " big 5" as well as numerous other creatures and birds. The baby elephants and observing leopards mating were just 2 of the drive highlights, fabulous meals rounded out our stay at Idube Lodge. Have you ever eaten ostrich?

On to Cape Town,  a very beautiful city. The picturesque waterfront and surrounding areas reminded us alot of San Francisco. The 2 ½ hour drive to the Cape of Good Hope was beautiful with baboon and ostrich sightings as well as stop by a penguin habitat. Baby penguins are a close second to baby elephants on the cuteness scale. There are amazing gardens at Kirshtenboch in the center of a residential area of Cape Town.

Words really can’t describe our 3 weeks in Africa..It was a trip of many eye opening contrasts…..we have many photos and anecdotes to share….
Now off to Florida to celebrate Arthur’s 90th birthday!


Debbi does an excellent job of briefly describing our three weeks in Africa. The travel and experiences were an eye-opening look at poverty and prosperity and included many things that I will never forget. Seeing Annie with her students was inspiring and a powerful reminder of how much I love her. The trek through Mozambique  (from the cities, to the mountains, to the coast) at first created a kind of culture shock but developed into respect for the people who can live and, in some cases, thrive without water coming into their house and living on $1 per day.  I am proud that the United States sends volunteers to help these people. I asked other Peace Corps Volunteers if other countries had programs like the Peace Corps and the only other country was Japan.

The traveling to and from Africa with 18 hour plane rides and even longer travel periods were exhausting and difficult.  The bodily system changes with added medication for malaria and concerns about the drinking water created some uncomfortable times but both Debbi and I faired rather well.

The pleasures of the luxurious safari including lodging and meals were great. The 12 hours of driving in the bush and, of course, the animals made that experience very special. It was amazing that our jeep could pull up in front of wild animals and it would not faze them. If they were sleeping they might open their eyes and look out, but then would just go back to sleep. The leopards mating just continued their activities as jeeps from the lodges pulled up (not more than two jeeps at a location at a time) and pulled away. The rangers have radios and tell each other where the animals are located. However, we were just lucky to see a zebra and giraffe. 

Cape Town was, again, a slight reverse culture shock because it is a cosmopolitan city with lots of tourists and restaurants. The coast line was beautiful and baboons were plentiful and acting out for the tourists. There are signs all along the highway saying “Baboons are wild animals, do not feed” but they seemed to get along by stealing food from motorists who stop to take pictures of them. The government has hired Baboon Tenders to chase the baboons from the road and make sure tourists don’t harm the baboons or visa versa.

I look forward to sharing more of our adventures with you.

I need to thank:
·      Debbi for helping me through the travels. I could not have made it without her.
      Annie for going into the Peace Corp and giving me an opportunity to visit somewhere I never would have gone. I will never forget these experiences and you made it possible.
      Emily and Mike for sending us off from D.C. and welcoming us home after traveling for 25 days. I felt like I was home when I reached your home and it was a good thing because I literally passed out the first night back.

     Enjoy and keep smiling. 

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