Tag Archives: Vilanculos

August: The Last Month Abroad

An afternoon of collecting rubbish in Khula township with African Impact volunteers and local Zulu ladies.

I can’t believe it… after 22 months living outside of the U.S., this will be my last month abroad.

My original plan was to return to the U.S. in December, but issues with the Department of Immigration in Mozambique weren’t able to be resolved and the African Impact project in Vilanculos has yet to be reopened.  As my time working in St. Lucia, South Africa draws to a close, a decision had to be made: potentially transfer projects again or head home four months early.

And then I remembered that everything happens for a reason.

Beach day with Eswenelisha Afterschool Club kids. The little ones were waiting for the waves to touch their toes.

So for the first time in 22 months, I’m going home.  But not before I savor the last 12 days of my last month abroad.

Elephant Interaction with Carla at Thanda Private Game Reserve, South Africa

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My Life’s a Beach – Tofo, MZ

Breakfast on the beach at Mango Beach in Tofo, Mozambique.

Nobody’s life is perfect, but these days, mine often comes pretty darn close.

This past weekend, I turned a visa renewal trek into a roadtrip with two girlfriends I’ve met since living here, French and Dutch respectively.  We ventured out of Vilanculos for the first time and took a trip to Tofo, a lazy beach town popular with backpackers, located about four hours south of Vilanculos.

Our trip included three long chappa rides (16-passenger vans that commonly squeeze 25-30 inside at the firm request of the driver and his lackey), two ferry rides and one day-long stroll on the endless stretch of beach which is Tofo.

Add to this one four-course meal, some serious shell-collecting and a fantastic tan and you could easily say that my life is a beach.

Our arrival in Tofo town center.

Did I mention that the chef who prepared this makes his own chocolate?

Saturday morning sunrise over Mango Beach.

My two travel partners, Caren and Yvane, were determined to find the most beautiful shells ever washed in from the Indian Ocean.

One of the largest pieces of coral I’ve ever seen outside of the ocean.

We stopped for a seafood lunch at a South African-owned bar on the beach.  A fantastic view!

On Sunday morning, just before leaving for Vilanculos. Even a cloudy day at the beach is breathtakingly beautiful.

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Celebrating Dia de Criança

One of the toddlers at Bernard’s Orphanage who got caught in the crossfire of a sticker war on Children’s Day.

In many countries around the world (including Mozambique), June 1st is known as Children’s Day – a day to celebrate the youth of a country, the future of a people.

In Vilanculos was no different.  African Impact (kudos to my boss and friend, Sonja!) along with local Mozambican teachers and mothers made sure that the day was full of food, stickers and laughter for each and every child.

Source: Sonja

Source: Sonja

Making paper chains for decoration at the orphanage. They had so much fun!

Making paper fish out to decorate.

Singing songs as we play ‘Pass the Parcel.’

Orphanage kids eagerly awaiting sweets from Sonja.

And honestly, what kind of celebration would it be without some cake?

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One Month in Mozambique

Morgan’s last day at Escolinha de Boa Esperanca preschool.

It’s official: I have been living and working in Mozambique for one month already.

It’s hard to believe that only a few weeks ago, I was stepping off the 20-seat plane onto the tarmac of the tiny Vilanculos International Airport.  I had left Thailand only two weeks before, spent a brief but lovely two weeks in South Africa with Morgan’s family and friends and after a 36-hour delay in Johannesburg, I had landed in the small Mozambican town I will be living in for the rest of year.

A small group of talented preschoolers learning about shapes and colors.

I’ve learned a lot throughout the past month.  I’ve learned how to cook rice in a hut over a fire for 80 preschool kids (thanks, Morgan!).  I’ve learned that there are various degrees of ‘Africa time’ (Durban ‘Africa time’ and Vilanculos ‘Africa time’ are not the same).  I’ve also learned how important African Impact (the organization I work for) is to the community of Vilanculos.

Tatiana, her little cousin Mariela and feisty little Sophia eating their beans and rice before going home for the day.

The preschool that our volunteers come to teach at is completely funded (teacher/night guard/farmer salaries, food for students’ breakfast/lunch and school supplies) by African Impact.  The ultimate goal is for the preschool to become self-sustainable, but at the moment, it’s not possible.

Source: Christine (former African Impact volunteer)

Our newest project is working at an orphanage in Vilanculos, but it’s not an ‘orphanage’ in the big building – lots of beds – and – a – cafeteria sense.  It’s a Mozambican woman with little means, but a big heart who decided to open up her small straw hut compound to children who don’t have anywhere else to go.  Our volunteers teach simple English lessons to the orphanage children on Tuesdays and arrange a fun play day for the kids on Thursdays.

Source: Christine (former African Impact volunteer)

Our third main project is Edson’s Adult English Class.  On Monday and Wednesday afternoons, volunteers teach a two-hour English lesson they’ve prepared earlier in the week to one of four English classes.  The 80 Edson’s students registered are eager to learn English, as it helps get the a better-paying job in the Vilanculos tourism industry.  Classes are taught outdoors on straw mats under a few tall trees.

Over 50 preschool moms have been coming every Saturday morning to help clear more land at school in hopes of expanding the preschool farm.

Throughout the past month both on and off projects, the concept of ‘community’ has been constantly evolving in my mind.  My few weeks in Vilanculos have reinforced the idea that “it takes a community to raise a child” as neighbors and friends here don’t think of themselves as such, but instead, ‘sister’ and ‘brother.’  These brothers and sisters help care for each other’s children, farm each other’s land and often help build one another’s first home.

This isn’t to say that Vilanculos, Mozambique is a perfect place.  Poverty is everywhere.  A small percentage of the population has electricity and running water and like everywhere else in the world (particularly Africa), crime does occur.  Nonetheless, as much as we westerners feel like Africa has to learn from us, we definitely have a thing or two to learn from Africa.

Just because I like this picture… and because I already miss my boy (Morgan flew back to South Africa on Wednesday).

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Moz Days with Morgan

Scuba diving along Two-Mile Reef in the Bazaruto Archipelago.

The adventures of Kassie and Morgan continue!  After being delayed a week due to the combined forces of the U.S. and South African postal services, Morgan finally made it to Mozambique.

While he’ll only be staying for three weeks, we’re determined to make the most of his time here.  To be honest, the first week without him was hard.  The first two years of our relationship consisted of us being on two different continents, we lived together for a year and a half (in South Africa and then in Thailand) and now we are actually switching continents (I’ll stay in Africa while he heads to the United States).  It won’t be the longest we’ve been apart (I’ll see him again in December), but it’s a testament to us and also, our love of adventure.

For now, we’re just enjoying being together in Vilanculos.

Heading out for the first dive of the day.

Diving!

Morgan working hard to clear more land for farming at the preschool this morning. He’s been so great with the kids.

Standing on top of a sand dune on Bazaruto Island.

The agenda for this weekend?  After working hard all week with a great new group of volunteers, Morgan and I are going to have a date night tonight with dinner and a movie (on laptop, of course) in a hotel by the sea.

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My First Week in Mozambique

My first day of preschool in Africa.

I can hardly believe that I arrived in Vilanculos, Mozambique only seven days ago.  Here’s a recap of my first week working for African Impact.

 Tuesday, April 24th:

Flew in from Johannesburg (after a 25-hour delay) and moved into what will be my house for the next eight months!

Wednesday, April 25th:

Little Wilma taught me how to get water cans ready for hand-washing at the preschool.

Thursday, April 26th:

Went for the first of many visits to Bernard's Orphange. The kids there are incredible!

Friday, April 27th:

After a very intense beach clean-up, the preschool kids went for a swim!

Saturday, April 28th:

Day off: Taking some time to sit on the beach and do something very difficult...find internet!

Sunday, April 29th:

Horse safari on the beach? Yes, please!

Monday, April 30th:

Went for an run before work and watched the sun come up over the Indian Ocean.

Tuesday, May 1st:

Public Holiday! Rode in a microglider airplane over the Bazaruto Archipelago. It was abstolutely breathtaking!

Not a bad first week of work.

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