Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Email Forwards

Like probably many of you, I recieve many email forwards on a daily basis. Most of the time I read the subject line and either hit delete or decide to open it and succumb to my curiosity. To tell you the truth most of the time I hit the delete button.

But once in a while, after you have gone through all the dirty jokes, chain letter, emails from Bill Gates telling you he has money for you and then requests from people for your personal informaiton becuase they have a business deal you just can't pass up.....after you deleted all those emails you get one email that was worth it.

This happened to me the other day....my friend Paty sent me an email that I thought I would share with you. The funny thing is that I had actually deleted it and she kept asking me if I opened the email...I wasn't sure what email she meant, but she resent it. Gracias Paty!

I won't say much about it, just that it gives you great advice on life and it was truly refreshing and inspiring to watch. It was GREAT. CLICK HERE

Have a great day.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

A Deadly Explosion in Maputo

Last Thursday started off like a normal day. JJ and I went to work. At about 4:30 pm the Science Fair at the American International School was underway. The event was busy and the kids seemed to be excited about showing off their science experiments. I was handing out programs to the parents and celebrating some of the kid's inventions and experiments. There was a dog feeder, ant farm, rocket launcher and much more. We were outside and started hearing noises that resembled thunder and you could feel the ground slightly shaking. We were not really sure what was going on. Then it happened....a huge explosion that you could see clearly in the air! I had NEVER experienced anything like that my entire life. It was like a scene from a movie. The sky over the explosion turned pink and shades of orange followed by a cloud of smoke.

We all panicked. Some of the kids started to cry. I was so perplexed. I immediately called JJ to see if he knew what had just happened. He told me that he had heard that the Mozambican military had planned to "clean out" their armory and were getting rid of old weapons. Okay, that could be the case. It could be a controlled explosion...

Well, the Science Fair quickly ended and I went home. As JJ and I got home we heard another strong explosion. Our building shook and I thought that our windows were going to break. We don't have a local TV channel at home so we started listening to the radio. All sorts of rumors were stirring, but it was clear that Maputo was in a panic.

As I sat at home, I thought....could someone have hit Maputo with a bomb. I thought...oh, no...they have bombed the US Embassy. Just as I thought that, we heard (well thought we heard) that the USAID building had collapsed, been hit or something. We still didn't know what to make of it.

We knew that most of the blasts were coming from the direction of the armory and we knew that Elizabeth - our "empregagda" - lived nearby. We called her and could not get through. Finally we were able to talk and she told us that part of her roof had come off and some windows had shattered, but she and her family were okay.

The next morning we woke up and we heard the real story. For some unexplainded reason (maybe heat, maybe poor maintenance) the Mozambican arms depot had started to explode and shoot off some of its weapons. 93 people had been killed. We couldn't believe it. How could this happen? Check out CNN.com for stories and pictures - Click here.

Can you imagine sitting at home watching TV and a bomb lands in your house? That is exactly what happened to many people. There was a house where all 13 family members died. The picture above shows that house, where a bomb landed and killed everyone. JJ went out with co-workers from the embassy to assess the damage and was able to take some pictures.

Well, it has been almost one week since the incident and life in Maputo has gone back to normal...normal for some of us. But many people were affected, not only with damage to thier house, but hundreds of people were hurt and many people are having to deal with the consequences of severed limbs or other terrible injuries.

This was a stupid accident, something that should have been taken care of when a similar, but smaller incident occured in January of this year. This is what happens when you have a very young country just learning how to run the government and with limited resources. Remember the Mozambican government has only been in existence a little over 25 years.

Check out www.cnn.com for more information.

Sunday, March 11, 2007

Home Sweet Home


It has been a week since we arrived back home in Maputo. Let me tell you, I never thought I would miss this "home" so much. I don't mean to sound cheesy and cliche, but I guess it is true what they say that "home is where the heart is." JJ and I have made Maputo our home and although we enjoyed every minute of visiting with family and friends while we were in Holland and Miami, we are happy to be home back to our life in Mozambique. I think I was extra happy to finally get home after 46 hours of traveling! Almost two days....

Visiting the "first-world" for a month did have its perks I must admit. There are definitely things I realized I missed while I was back. For example:

1. The concept of "open 24 hours." In Maputo you sort of have to plan your shopping. Shops close at the end of the day and close very early on the weekends or don't open at all.
2. Fast Food - I know...I know this is horrible to admit. But I missed being able to stop at Subway for a sandwich or Einstein's for a bagel...yummmm bagels!
3. Lincoln Road & People Watching - There is not really a place to do that here. The best people watching we get to do in Maputo is from the balcony of our apartment...you don't really see the same characters you see in South Beach.
4. New Movies - JJ and I went to the movies close to 7-8 times while on vacation. It was exciting to see films that had just come out. The movies here take about 6 months to one year and many times I don't even recognize the film since it was a "straight to DVD" movie.
5. Coupons - I am such a nerd....but I love to use coupons and royalty cards. None of that stuff here. That is how I used to get my kicks back home.
6. Finding shoes in my size - I don't know what it is, but finding a size 12 in Africa has been impossible. I came home with 8 new pairs of shoes!

As I look at the list, these things are NOT important and I didn't really miss them until we were in Holland and Miami. Life in Maputo for us has become "normal" and we love it. We have our routines, our new friends, our work and most of all we have each other.

Truly, the most difficult part of being so far away from Miami and Holland is not seeing our family (Maxwell and Benthe have to be the cutest niece and nephew in the world!) and everyone that is important to us. Thank goodness for Skype! I don't what I would do if we didn't have the Internet. For me some days it is really hard being away and not being there for the day to day things, but being able to call and see someone just after a couple of clicks on the computer makes it a little better. Subtle hint for all of you that have not installed Skype.

These are just some of my random thoughts after a week back from holiday! It is late so I am sorry if I am not making any sense. You can see pictures from our trip here. You will get a kick out of our Noche Buena (Christmas Eve) dinner in February. My family re-enacted Noche Buena complete with all the Christmas trimmings. I don't want to know how they kept that Christmas tree alive! Well, until next week...