Mozambique - Mocimboa da Praia to Pemba

November 25, 2011 - Pemba, Mozambique


Leaving Noddy at the workshop in Mocimboa da Praia George and I set out for Pemba with our tent, it was a long drive very slow in places with 120kms of bad pot holes then conditions improved. We arrived at Russel’s camp late afternoon after managing to get a bit of money out of the ATM in town. This continued to be a struggle for some days, every day we would do the rounds through the few ATM’s in Pemba drawing what we could so that we would have enough cash to cover expenses. Sourcing what you needed required a bit of direction but lucky for me, the veggie vendors seemed to find us. In Mozambique everything is so much more expensive!

Pemba was a mixure of filth and beauty, like Malawians the Mozambiquans live in their rubbish, children sift through and play in it. Russel’s camp was in a cleaner area just over the road from the beach all we had to do was walk through one vacant stand. Every day we enjoyed long swims when the tide was in then would take cover in the bar area to avoid the heat of the day. Even the nights were too hot and the first dip of the day came as a relief though sometimes unpleasant if the stinging jellies were more abundant than usual! The Thomas’s were already in Pemba and remained for another few days but then pushed on ahead. George and I waited and wondered, we had no idea if the axle had been put on the Saturday flight or if we were stranded till the next one on Wednesday. The courier agent was very unprofessional, he messed us around, avoided our calls and kept us in the dark. He had plenty of time to get the axle on the plane but missed it. George had an alternative plan which depended on us knowing where the axle was, the frustration mounted higher and higher for him.

Sunday morning we finally knew that the axle had not made the Saturday flight. In the height of George’s frustration he decided to hire a trailer which was available for two days to go and pick up Noddy. Wise Man was not answering his phone so we could not discuss things with him and the trailer was only available for limited time so we set out. The journey to Mocimboa da Praia went okay though I found it stressful, they had given us the trailer with inadequate securing and the loading ramps were bouncing around and so was the tail gate, several times we almost lost the lot out the back! This was my fear, to damage someone else’s property and have more problems in the end, I was not really happy about this trailer expedition in the first place.

We got to the workshop after dark and dropped the trailer, it had taken us 7 hours. The accommodation we used before was fully booked, we said we would be back for dinner and asked for queen prawns..........even prayed for them cheekily, salivating at the thought all day.‘No prawns...sorry’, we were so disappointed! Off we went hunting for a place for the night, down the road was also fully booked, things seemed to be going pear shaped. We tried one of the guesthouse campsites and very luckily the owner happened to drive in as we arrived, it was his last stop before leaving for Pemba where he lived! The guest house was under renovation and was not yet open but we were allowed to stay for free and were only asked to give ‘small money’ to the guard. A few more men showed up and in no time we were face to face with the workshop manager, this one was only Portuguese spoken but there was someone with him that could help us a bit with translation. Unlucky for us Wise Man was back in Pemba. Our host kept stressing that we were his ‘family’ and could stay one night, ten or a year if we wanted ‘for free’, he really was exceedingly kind. There was no running water but at Ilha Vumba where we had dinner there was an outside tap with a hose which I asked to use, instead the manager showed me to a nice private shower...bonus! On top of that, he had even arranged queen prawns by the time we had returned. Now things were looking really good!

Next day the trouble began, our starter motor was playing up so we had to push start. At the workshop loading Noddy on the trailer was complicated since they had taken off the temporary axle, Noddy had no wheels! George had lots of help but no English speakers so it was difficult, finally he  gave up since the risk of damage was too great, George was red faced pouring with perspiration and beside himself! Defeated and exhausted we began to head out back to Pemba with an empty trailer that had cost us US$200 never mind the petrol for the round trip 14 hour drive!

Pulling into the petrol station George noticed his power steering seemed to have gone. He lifted the bonnet and discovered the fan belt had broken. Gosh, could things get any worse we wondered! Actually it was a blessing in disguise, if the fan belt had broken an hour or more out of Mocimboa da Praia or Pemba we would have been in so much more trouble! Not only that, we broke down entering a garage with the tail of the trailer just clearing the main road. Within minutes we had helpers who began to disentangle the bits. A spare parts guy arrived from down the road but this fan belt was a special kind, he did not have it but at least he could ease communication with his English. George caught a bike taxi back to the workshop since he had an extra fan belt in the caravan. Everything was sorted and we were one the way again.

Although the trip was futile and expensive we learnt many lessons in the process: 1. Listen to your wife.... or at least both parties must be in agreement; 2. Don’t make decisions when you are frustrated and 3. Even though we make poor decisions at times God is with us in it! We were amazed at God’s love for us and provision, the places, people, the timing of events and even the small details like ablutions to queen prawns! To me it was worth it just to experience that.  Again on this journey in the midst of trial we had an overwhelming sense of God’s goodness towards us. I knew it was so cognitively and distantly but this was so much more and tremendous treasure to me!




Pemba - Russel Camp - our new hot home 019-550
Pemba-Mocimboa da Praia roadside snack 053-550
Roadside signs Pemba-Mocimboa da Praia road 046-550
Pemba -  136-550


Sharon Johnson:
November 25, 2011
Trust in God and fortitude in prayer! Wow, what an adventure...Something about giving up the effort and letting a greater plan unfold - we will get the answers. This is a time of reflection for me as the year draws to an end and there are many challenges and unknowns ahead in 2012. It will all unfold and I will relax in that wisdom.
November 25, 2011
Yikes! Sounds like you are having a tough time. Just keep praising. Like you say, even though it's tough, God is still surrounding you with love, care and provision. Samuel started writing exams yesterday. They will finish exams next week Friday. Our weekends seems to have become just one long study time. Very frustrating for Hannah. She is very tired at the moment and practising hard for the end of year ballet concert. Looking forward to seeing it on the 10th Dec. Schools break up then too. Otherwise, all is well. Sneaking out for runs in the mountain early morning - keeping me sane for the rest of the studious day! Christmas mince meat made & hope to bake Christmas puds this weekend. Jason will be soul owner of Plaster art at the end of Nov. it's a big step and we have 4 years to pay the current partner out. Hoping all will go well with Noddy and you'll soon be back on your travels. Take good care, Ellie
November 26, 2011
Having a tough time !! Really hope that you will sort it out. Understand the frustration and stress but keep it cool. You have up to now done wonderfull. Lovely days in the Westen Cape and the Sand and Clay Workshop ended this morning. Lots of love.Take care. Boet
brigitte parfitt:
November 26, 2011
Hi dear friends, could feel with you as I held my breath, broke out in sweat and overheard any silent or loud emotionally charged words. Who wouldn't have... But, Alice, as you said: It's all part of the journey.... through Africa and (my humble opinion) through life. When you feel yourself in the "furnace" you can see clearly the "4th person". I am glad you could see Him!! I had a busy study week as I had just finished a big assignment and participated in a 4 days intensive module. But it was so great and so enriching. Ek was baie mug but so was everyone else (1/2 my age) and I am now officially half way through my course. Had a glass of wine on my own to celebrate. Roy is doing fine and the South Easter is blowing. May God continue to protect you and may you hear His whispers. With much love, Brigitte and Roy
Moira Richards:
November 27, 2011
oh dear, memories you can do without it seems. but they will make the good days and experiences seem so much better. i am also having a very tough time but of a totally different type. when you guys heading home? i will be leaving for Zimbabwe on the 9th Dec. can't wait.
love and prayers for safety and a good sense of humour,
November 29, 2011
Yes George listen to your wife next time! LOL
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