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Sunday, January 6, 2013

Visitors in cookietown

So it has been a little while. Sorry about that! It turns out that highly irregular voltage isn't great for a computer cord, so mine stopped working. Both of them.
Lucky for me, my entire family decided to come all the way to Africa to bring me a new one so that I can write more blog posts for you! Okay......they might have come for other reasons as well :)
So much has happened since thanksgiving, and there are lots of posts written in a notebook back in cookie town that will be posted ASAP. Right now, however, we are all in Tanzania on an amazing safari where I have already taken over a thousand pictures. So instead of posting all of my blog entries, you get to read the ones that I made my mom, dad, and brother write about their visit to cookie town. More of mine will follow in the coming days! Enjoy
Love from,

Never before have I been so out of my comfort zone, so amazed and so proud all at the same time! This trip really tested my level of comfort. It was very nerve racking not having the faintest idea what people were saying around you. I could not tell if they were talking to me, about me or to each other. Not only that but I did not understand the culture. I was not allowed to hold Rob's hand but it was ok to hold Stephanie's and Rob could hold Greg's, fortunately  Stephanie came to our rescue. I was amazed at her Portuguese, at the fact she understood the culture and the way she lived. We walked to market. It is nothing like the farmer's market near our home. There is limited selection and yet amazingly she cooked, yes cooked us a delicious dinner of mango pasta on a two burner stove and no running water.  I was very surprised at how good the head bread is. I was amazed that I could have sweat running down my back when I  was just sitting.  I guess I don't have to tell you who I am proud of.

As a father, my first impression of Mozambique was how to best kidnap my daughter to take her back to Maryland.  Everything you hear about an impoverished country is laid out in front of you in Moz.  But after a couple of days in her town, I've seen that she has made a home for herself there and is thriving.  I am both amazed and proud of how much she has grown in her independence and ability to take care of herself and those around her.

Observations from an engineer:
1)  Her town is a mixture of cinder block construction for schools, government and some businesses. The rest are reed houses with thinly thatched roofs.  Most are one room houses.
2) Lowes does not have a franchise in the bush of Mozambique.  The market area consists of small shops that mostly sell the same stuff, except for what you need.  Try explaining to someone that you need a replacement plug for a fan.  You end up going to four different stands until you find the guy with the right part who thinks you need the receptacle.  The next trick is to find a screw driver.  Evidently the only one to be had was with the school director.  We made do with some scissors and a steak knife.
3) Copper must also be in short supply.  The service wiring looks like the stuff I used on my HO rail set.
4)The town is in desperate need of a bull dozer.  Much of the constructed school buildings have had the grading washed away and all that is left is the exposed foundation sitting on a column of dirt

I liked the dog.

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