I’m on the move

I’m leaving Mozambique!

After 18 very happy months here I’m being moved to our Sri Lanka program so today I handed over my phone, said my goodbyes and ate some tooth rottingly over sweet cake with my fantastic team of guys, patted my dog farewell and took the (delayed, bumpy, chaotic) flight out of Chim for one last time.

I’ve got mixed feelings about my move although not having had much time to think about it up until now. In fact yesterday was a manic day of handover of work and last minute report writing randomly mixed with meeting my first ‘traditional medicine man (check out his headgear)!

My feeling is that it’s time to leave the job but not time to leave Africa.

Before I arrived everyone told ‘Africa gets under your skin’. ‘No’ I retorted, ‘not me’….

but it would appear they were maybe, ever so slightly, rather annoyingly RIGHT!

I have a funny feeling I might be back to this awesome continent at some point in the future but in the meantime it’s back to Asia for me!

I’m not 100% what my job will be, something similar to my role here…”same same but different” so to speak.

WATCH THIS SPACE…

Daddy would be proud

Well Pops, it looks like I’ve entered the construction industry!

The news of severe flooding in Mozambique maybe hasn’t reached the outside world but we’ve had more than our fair share of rain over here recently (ironically after months of drought!) and not only is my the salmon shack in a serious state of disrepair but I now have rivers running through several of my minefield camps, leaking tents and seriously soggy deminers!

More annoyingly access to some of our minefields has been completely cut off from river bursting their banks. I never truly understood how a ‘flash flood’ could literally wash away everything in its path in a matter of minutes. I always wondered whether it really was possible for rain to come down in such force in such volume. I now confirm it IS possible!

At the end of each month we all come out of the field and have a few days admin. The demining teams go home for a rest and the support staff get on with maintaining vehicles, servicing detectors, repairing equipment and refilling paramedic kits. This month exiting one of our minefields was proving a little ‘problematic’ due to the fact a previously dry river bed which we used to drive across no problem, now has several feet of fast flowing water racing through it.

After a bit of um-ing and arh-ing, head scratching and something resembling a bad joke along the lines of ‘how many supervisors does it take to get a landrover across a river…’ we decided we would have to build a bridg. So we did just that!

First you buy as many sandbags (empty rice sacks will do) as you can get your hands on, then find yourself some unemployed folk who want to earn some cash to fill the sandbags with sand  

Then you take off your socks and shoes, roll up your trousers and start wading through the river dragging the filled bags across to create with 2 raised ‘tyre-tracks’ to drive across.

 

I made my (rather grumpy) bunch of deminers hand carry all the expensive equipment across just in case the bridge didn’t quite hold and I not only had to explain to HQ why my landrover was washed 2 kms downstream but also why it had been filled with $1000’s of kit at the time (not that I didn’t have UTTER faith in my bridge building expertise of course!).

Then slowly, slowly we inched across the bridge – or rather my driver drove and I stood on the other side of the river signalling him left a bit, right a bit to keep his tyre’s on the tracks.

I would have a photo of this last part but as he reached my side of the river he got rather excited about making it over safely, slammed on the accelerator and I ended up leaping into a bush to escape being run over by a rather relieved driver!

Kangaroooooooo

Now I know if you are an aussie then seeing a kangaroo is about as exciting as me out in Africa seeing a monkey!

However I am neither aussie nor a regular sighter of kangaroos…so when I saw this big guy hopping past me I practically squealed with delight!

Just back from an awesome 2 weeks in Oz. The reason for my trip…Boots getting married!

So first stop was to see Boots (it’s unbelievably been 4 years since we were together in Scotland!) and to meet the 2 new men in her life…husband to be the lovely Trav and the gorgeous baby Archer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Happy family!

 

 

 

 

 

Boots & Bells back together again!

After a few days in Melbourne (and having been repeatedly beaten in an afternoon UNO contest!)

I nipped up north for a few days diving up on the Great Barrier Reef, staying in Port Douglas – the closest jumping off point for the barrier reef. It’s a quaint little town with the most beautiful sunsets.

It was just a week after a pretty bad cyclone PLUS its stinger season at the moment (the time of year jelly fish are out and about in their masses!) so it was to be an interesting scuba experience. Donning my very sexy lycra stinger suit we jumped in to find visibility about 3 times better what we expected…brilliant!

Then it was back to Melbourne for Boots and Trav’s wedding. Now Boots is quite a unique girl and in true fashion she had a totally unique wedding – it was certainly the first time I have ever been to a wedding in someone’s front room!

Actually Boots managed to pull off the small intimate wedding I think a heck of alot of ‘brides-to-be’ actually want….pre them being snowballed down the big white wedding route…

(although I should just say we did end up in one rather long discussion over which lights should be on to create the right ambience which we managed to get stuck on for about 2 hours!!). 

The whole evening was jolly good fun, by 9pm shoes were off, the champagne was flowing and the dancing had well and truly commenced…!

With some slightly foggy heads the next morning it was off to Boots’ mum’s house for a much needed big breakfast then I hit the road for an adventure down the great ocean road.

The road trip took me down to Lorne where I found a divine little tea house which rather handily was below a funky surfing lodge run by an aging ‘surf-dude’ who gave me a bed for the night. 

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The next day it was back on the road where I spotted my dream home…a lighthouse!

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then it was on to Bells beach to hang out at the world pro surfing championships before heading back to Melbourne.

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After a fabulous 2 weeks it was sadly time to head home to Mozambique…a big thanks to my antipodean pals, old and new, for a fantastic time down under!