This is by far the hardest post of the Mission Trip posts, my thoughts and musings about what I have learnt and taken away from the trip. Angoche is a poor town, I don't mean I can't afford those new Nike trainers poor, I mean hand to mouth poor, so poor that people sometimes cannot afford to eat. Angoche is a town that was once a really splendid town and a town that was once very rich before the Portuguese left and before war. But now it's a tired town, but it is also a beautiful town and a safe town. A town were Children can run around bare foot and play all day long. There are hardly any cars a few motor bikes and lots of pushbikes.
There is a gentleness about Angoche that you would never see here in England, it will take years for that horrid must buy, buy, buy, must have consumerism to catch up, if it ever does. I guess to have that they would need money, and in a way I hope they don't get it, as I like seeing kids playing in the streets being children, though I do wish they were at school at least some of the time. I am not saying the people of Angoche are happy, they are not, but there is a peace from not having to fight to get the latest Wii or PS3 for the kids or the latest BMW or Prada handbag. I saw a little boy playing with a flattened drinks carton with 4 big seeds in each corner pulling it on a string. It was a crude car, he was quite contented. It brought a tear to my eye, not for him, but for me.
I think being there and sharing with the Churches in Angoche spending time with a wonderful team of friends from my Church has shown me that I need to listen to God more. Being in a church and not understanding I spent time listening, I heard God talking through things; seeing someone get a book of God in their own language and hugging it. Having someone serve you by poring a jug of water over a bowl and washing your hands is just so powerful, as Jesus washed the feet of the disciples, these men washed our hands. Catching a Dow a basic wooden boat that hasn't changed in thousands of years and was probably similar to the boat that Simon Peter fished from, the sort of boat that Jesus walked out too. These things spoke to me in a way I have never had before. I was left unable to control my emotions on a few occasions but I didn't really care, I know God was working on me. I don't know yet what he was saying, I need to wait upon God and listen.....see I am learning.
I was part of a team an amazing team, we all bought along our own strengths and weaknesses and it isn't for me to point any of these out about the team. I will say that Mr & Mrs Teamleader did an amazing job, I think a large part of the success of the mission was due to them. and the way they served the team. I enjoyed my time with each member of the team our chats, our evening Devotion's, each night lead by a different member of the team, and each night was just fantastic. I believe I have grown as a person on this trip with the help of this amazing group of people.
One day on the Mission, it was Missionary Man's birthday and to celebrate this an evening meal out was organised, Missionary Girl did this at a restaurant, she pre-ordered the food and it was an amazing buffet of chicken, fish, king prawns, chips!! and Coconut rice. I was blown away by that evening, the food was excellent and it was just a wonderful night, one that I will remember for many years.I am trying to think of all of the emotions I felt during my time there. I had so many things going on in my head I at times I found it hard to cope. I saw things I didn't want to see and felt things I didn't want to feel. Seeing young children with rickets in ripped clothes and hungry it hurts, it cuts really deep, I wanted to hold the child, make everything better for him, but that wasn't why I was there and if I tried, it would cause so many problems.
As Missionary Man said it was all about how we were perceived, so we couldn't go out to one of the small bars and have a quiet ice cold beer. We were a large group of white people, and that caused us to be a crowd puller, we had people outside our house watching us most of the time, I really didn't like that, I felt like I was a goldfish in a bowl and as Missionary Man said whatever we did would be common news around the town within a very short time. So if I went for a beer it would be perceived that we were all drunks, people go to bars to get drunk....that is the perception. So whenever we were on show, which was anytime we were outside of the houses, we had to be on our best behaviour, and as anyone who knows me that isn't always my best trait....but I managed. Though I have to say when it was so hot and so humid a ice cold beer would have been very welcome on more than one occasion. So helping one child would have meant helping every child.... and that wasn't possible, so I would pray for them, it was all I could do at that time.
In our house as I mentioned in an earlier post we had Assani, he was amazing. We would go out, leave our dirty clothes in the bathroom on our return they would be washed, ironed and waiting for us. He would cook us a meal on our off days. He wouldn't use the stove, oh no. Assani would cook via a charcoal burner, and boy could he cook, it always tasted amazing. Assani will be working for a couple who have come from The Mission Centre for a year to help with discipleship, he will be looking after them and will be earning a wage. I know they will be so happy with Assani he really is an amazing guy.
One thing I will never forget are the smells!!! when you live a subsistence existence you can be forgiven for not buying deodorant and I guess if you are really busy you may not wash your clothes. Body Oder is a big thing there or I guess it isn't a big thing, but you can certainly smell people coming.
It wasn't all hard work, we had some great times just being friends and enjoying each others company, one of my favourite times was when we went to the beach, white talcum power beaches with warm Indian Ocean Seas it was just wonderful and relaxing and some great fun swimming and just walking along the sands and letting the mind wander.
One thing about being in Angoche is I don't think I have ever had such dirty feet in my life and I am sure I still have mud and dirt under my toenails, I don't think I have ever had a shower got dressed and needed a shower again so quickly. I also have never felt so hot and so laid back about so many things either. I am guessing as the weeks move on I will feel different and then as weeks turn into months a lot of this will change and I guess I will go back to normal? I want to keep some of this "special feeling" that is one of the reasons for these blogs.
As long time readers of my blog will know I blogged most days after Matt and Chris's accident, this helped me to deal with everything, the feelings, the anger, the grief. So I am hoping in the future I can look back at these blogs and remember how I felt, remember those amazing things I did, the boat rides, the services, the people I met, the food I ate and most of all how God made me feel. I had some amazing times on this Mission, my last post on the trip will be about the last few days of our trip back to The Mission Centre and Johannesburg. In this post I am trying to reflect on the time I spent in Angoche. One thought I did have was, I wonder if this is the pace of life in Britain a few years ago, before the rat race. Though I doubt even Britain was that slow, everything is at a slow pace for a reason, it's so hot you can't do it any quicker.
I will finish this off by saying; Seeing God working through what Missionary Man and Lady have done has been one of the most amazing times of my life. I have a million memories and it is going to take a lot of time to actually sort through everything, so I guess there maybe another post or two about my feelings and how this mission has affected me, who knows? I would like to thank everyone who made it possible for me to go on the mission, those that prayed for me and those that bought the CD and those that gave so generously of time, talent and money, thank you from the bottom of my heart.