We arrived in Maputo in the evening hours of Friday, July 29th and were met by Matt and Sherri Steer from Iris. They took us to the Zimpeto base where we would stay at the visitor’s center for 2 nights before we moved into our home in Matola-Rio. While we were disappointed we did not have a house to stay in, I was glad to be “forced” into the opportunity to experience living in the visitor’s center. I would never request to stay at these less than plush accommodations. I was able to deal just fine with the basic housing and community bathrooms, but the lack of privacy was what ultimately made me happy to pack and move out to our home on Sunday. We were greeted at our home by Elizabeth (the owner), Alberto (the caretaker), and George (who would be available to assist us when extra help was needed) and his wife. I was touched by these Mozambican people who treated us like royalty by wearing their very best clothing to be there to meet us. Elizabeth showed us around and left us with final written instructions regarding the maintenance of the home and her beloved dogs, two Jack Russell terriers named Jack and Rusty, that she was leaving in our care. I could totally empathize with her as she got in her car and left for South Africa. We had had the same experience of leaving everything behind only days before.
Again, God provided for our needs with this home. Elizabeth sold us the contents (furniture, decorations) of the home, and even left some dishes and pillows to see us through until we could buy our own. She was also thoughtful enough to leave a daily devotional for the year and an American cloth runner in the bathroom complete with stars and stripes. As we arrived, the government was installing an outside light at the back of our property along the road. Therefore, we have lighting at both ends of our property providing safety for us at night. As many of you know, the house is a blessing from God in how beautiful and accommodating it is for us.
We even have monkeys next door at the guesthouse to provide entertainment and, as we have learned, to teach William first hand why monkeys are wild animals and do not make good pets- more on this later). Our backside is a family with 3 children (one close to William’s age) and the front is bordered by a police officer - nice! We have settled into the home very well. We have needed to buy items for the kitchen (plates, pots and pans- we are still looking for silverware that doesn’t break our bank account. It is amazing how expensive things are here.) and other things like towels, sheets, and believe it or not- a down comforter for our bed. Funny that I never owned a down comforter until I moved to Africa! Yet the nights get very cold, especially during the winter months. Buying what you need is time consuming and frustrating. Shopping in Mozambique is dreadfully expensive. Everything must be imported in, therefore the price the store charges has to be high to cover the transport costs and taxes. Then there is the difficulty of finding a store that has what you want. It took many unsuccessful shopping trips for us to finally find a shower curtain and rod. Shopping across the border in South Africa is an nice as shopping in the States. The problem for us however is that we can only bring $50 or less of purchases per person back into Mozambique. If we go over and they catch us at the border, we have to pay a 40% import tax! Ouch! All in all, our house is starting to take on the feel of home for us now. We look forward to our shipment arriving from the US so that we can add our personal items. Until then, we are making due.