Hey guys.  I am having an awesome time so far.  The plane flights were long but I slept through the two long ones and slept all night the next night.  They offered a wake-up call the next morning at the Airport Game Lodge to feed us breakfast and get us off to the airport.  So apparently we didn’t have a phone in our room, and so the wake-up call ended up being a knock on the door, which we didn’t hear, and they went on to the next room.  We were supposed to be up at 6am, but at 7:05 they came by again and asked us if we didn’t hear them knock the first time.  We just about missed our flight from South Africa to Mozambique!

The base in Pemba is awesome.  They weren’t kidding about the red sand being everywhere.  You can’t get away from it.  It blows in your window, gets in your bed sheets.  The conditions aren’t nearly as bad as I thought they’d be.  I definitely don’t miss hot water for a shower because it is so hot that cold showers are welcome.  We get a roll and hot sweet tea for breakfast.  Lunch and dinner are rice with a topping.  So far we’ve had beans, goat I just found out from the lady sitting next to me as I’m writing this (I thought it was beef, but it was good!), and some kind of greens.  They give you way too much rice.  Yesterday was national children’s day – I’ll tell you about that in a second – but me and a guy Max from England shared a plate of rice and chicken and we still didn’t finish it.

So yesterday was national children’s day – a holiday in Mozambique. We had church for around four hours while the food and kitchen were being prepared.  Then we fed around 2400 children from the village, a few mothers, and the rest of the Iris Ministries base.  It was so awesome.  I was on the kitchen crew, so we had a meeting before church.  I missed most of church – I got to go for around 30 minutes, but honestly I don’t feel like I missed much.  Worshiping God through music and the Word is really important, but I found myself really close to Him cleaning the floors and moving benches for the meals.  Me and two other girls were also in charge of marking all the village kids with Sharpie’s as they came in so they wouldn’t try to come back through for a second meal.  That was wild and crazy.  I prayed regularly and used lots of hand sanitizer and prayed some more!  They did games with the kids like duck duck goose, three-legged races, volleyball using a sheet as a net, etc.  We also gave every village kid a gift bag (I got to help stuffing them in an assembly line the day before) as an incentive to get off the base and go home. Ha ha. They formed a line and prayed over every kid as they left.  Our Iris children got many gifts, so we had to get the village kids off the base before they started giving those out.

After we got settled down, Max and I went to the beach and a village kid tagged along with us.  The water is nice and there is plenty to see up close if you are snorkeling.  Sea urchins, fish, etc.  We had met a larger group of guys and girls, and so we ended up walking down the entire length of the beach and back, which wraps around in an L shape and has several restaurants on it.  Sunday is like our Friday in the states – the beach was totally packed out.

I have met a lot of really nice people here.  I am getting to know several of the kids and bible students (from Mozambique).  There are also a lot of really great people here on our 10-week mission school and alot of nice visitor missionaries as well.  It is like one big family here.  I went to town once on Saturday and I have led a group into town today to show them around.

In our house, we have a married couple that are house pastors, a married couple from Scotland whose kids are arriving on another plane in a few week, and then me and my roommate.  Our bunk bed takes up most of our room actually, so I don’t stay in there much.  There’s definitely no room for furniture – not even a chair really.  However it’s nice to live in a more quiet house with married people.  I guess I feel like I’m getting old. LOL.

Right now it is 9:15am in Pemba.  That makes it 2:15am Central Time. We are 7 hours ahead and 6 hours ahead for Eastern time.  Don’t call after 7:30pm here, which is 2:30pm Central, because we are in our houses and supposed to be having quiet time.  There are no glass windows, so everything is community conversation here.  Texting is alright after then though.  Probably the best time to reach me would be 4am-2:30pm Central time.

What else before I go… well worship with them is awesome.  I am starting to pick up Portuguese from conversations, my reading material, and learning from one of the Mozambican guys.  It is very similar to Spanish and alot of the words sound the same so even if it’s not exact, if you know some Spanish you can pick up on some of the things they say.  Culture is different here.  Guys hold hands regularly as a sign of friendship, but if a girl were to hold hands with a guy then they should expect a proposa.

Life here is really great.  I can’t wait until the school part actually starts tomorrow.  I guess I’d better get off here though and lead this group to the market and stores so we can get back for a meeting this morning..