Tuesday 22nd December
Today was the workday we had all been dreading…cleaning up the mess left in the toilets at the school. The toilet buildings were built by previous ROV groups but we were improving them by fixing the water system and installing taps and replacing the toilet seats. However, the bathroom buildings and the toilets had to be cleaned before we could attach any toilet seats. It was absolutely filthy which was a shame, and certainly the hardest part of the work we have done there so far. Seeing the end product of white shining bathrooms all with toilet seats and working flushing systems was…well, almost worth it. We also had a bit more to do on the pump enclosure – showing a staff member how it was opened in case they needed to access the pump for some reason, and putting the finishing touches so the lid wouldn’t slide around.
Zoe and Sarah, the budding artists of the group, began a great mural on the wall of the bathrooms either side of a previous group’s ROV hand. They started painting two fantastic elephants whose trunks ended at the new taps we installed, so it looks like the water is coming from their trunks. Above the mural Paige painted instructions to make sure the taps are turned off, in English and in Portuguese. Some of the kids that come visit us each day while we work came over and we let them have a bit of a paint, and little Lele painted a great picture on an old box that we had.
On the way home from the school we stopped at the Coconut Can for ice- cream again and they had a ‘mystery flavour’ that none of us could guess – it turned out to be condensed milk which is pretty obscure – plus, they dyed it bright green to be deliberately misleading! After a hard day at work that evening we played cards as a group and then had a “Braai” for dinner which is like a barbeque but with charcoal instead of gas.
Wednesday 23rd December
Pouring rain meant a quiet morning of playing cards and reading. Once it cleared up we drove out to a paintball site and played a couple of games of capture the flag. We got a mask but that was all in the way of protective gear – some of us have come out with spectacular bruises – those paintballs hurt, especially on bare skin!
After paintball we stopped at Jack’s Barefoot Bar for a cold drink to help us cool down – paintball had us all disgustingly hot and sweaty! They had a driving range there, and they had a competition that if your golf ball landed in a circle you would get a free drink, so we all had a few goes at that, but unfortunately none of us managed it. Dan’s attempts at hitting the golf ball were particularly hilarious because he is such a tall guy that he struggled to get the club low enough to actually make contact with the golf ball. After cooling down, we headed back to the lodge and some of us decided to go and finish some shopping we still had to do, particularly our Secret Santa presents.
Dinner was amazing that night. Sean took us to the house of one of his friends for dinner, a lady called Ntuntu. She cooked us a delicious traditional meal – beef curry, rice, stewed sweet potato leaves with carrot, and ‘samp’ which is a creamy corn dish. Ntuntu was a fantastic cook; it was easily the best meal we had all tasted since arriving in Ponta do Ouro. She also had homemade fruit juice and told us some great things about Mozambique. This was especially useful for Zoe, who is majoring in anthropology and doing a university unit with ROV while we are over here.
Thursday 24th December
Christmas Eve in Mozambique! Dan and Sarah began their day with a dive in the reef of Ponta do Ouro, as they both have their diving licences and wanted to experience a dive here. The rest of us headed off to the school in the morning to do the last bits and pieces there – the mural needed to be finished, and the tools and supplies needed to be packed up and cleaned. Lele and her two brothers and a few other kids came to play again, so we had fun playing with them and splashing them with paint, which they loved. It was a nice day to end our time at the school, and the mural looks absolutely wonderful, really brightens up the bathrooms.
After a solid morning’s work, we had chicken Prego’s for lunch and then we picked up some party supplies and headed down to the beach at Ponta Malongane. It was a gorgeous day. The waves were absolutely insane though and tired some of us out pretty quickly! We had a gazebo on the beach to sit under but the waves came closer and closer until they flooded our picnic area and we had to start digging trenches and walls in the sand to prevent being flooded. After a few more waves and watching the people in the gazebo next to us get flooded yet again, we gave up and shifted our things back to some drier land. The hot African sun sure makes you thirsty, and we had all the supplies, so we made some more homemade Caipirinhas and enjoyed those on the beach before setting off for the Sunset Shack to watch the sun go down.
The Sunset Shack had an amazing view of the sunset over the lake, and some fantastic music to listen to while we watched. We decided to have dinner there on the spur of the moment, and we got humungous meals of chicken, chips and salad – which were perfect after such a full day!
As some of us were leaving the next day, the whole group – except for one very sleepy Dan – headed out to Pintos for one last ‘jol’ together as a group. We tried some delicious frozen drinks called Mango Apple Sours, and danced the night away. Many of us agreed that it was by far the best day we have experienced in Ponta so far, and a fantastic way to spend Christmas Eve.
Friday 25th of December
This morning started off with a delicious breakfast of the lightest, fluffiest most delicious pancakes in existence. They were brought over by Sean’s family as a special treat because it was not only Christmas but Sean’s birthday as well. After breakfast we exchanged our Secret Santa presents which was a load of fun. Everyone bought lovely, thoughtful gifts and we had a good time guessing who our Secret Santa was at the end.
Soon after that it was time to say goodbye to half our number who decided to leave today to ensure they would arrive in time for their flights tomorrow rather than risk being held up at the border or getting stuck in traffic and missing them! It’s oddly quiet here with 4 less people, but we’re all pretty exhausted after 2 massive weeks so it’s a good time to wind down and relax, and catch up on our journals (and some sleep). We also go the chance to go back to Sean’s family holiday house and have an amazing Christmas lunch with his family. We were all stuffed full after a big Christmas meal, but we still found room to stop on the way home at the Coconut Can for some festive themed ice-cream colored red and green. The rest of the day will probably be a lazy one with the rest of us packing our things and getting a good night’s sleep, ready for an early trip to the airport tomorrow morning.
From all of us here at ROV Mozambique of December 2015, we hope you have enjoyed keeping up with our adventures via this blog as much as we have enjoyed our time here! Thanks for reading about our journey, it has been an enlightening experience that none of us are ever likely to forget. We would especially like to say a big thank-you to Sean, Grant, Jona, Toucan Dan and Bradley for all helping make our time in Mozambique such an amazing one.
Zoe brought that most important artistic flair to spice up our lives.
Sarah always gung hoe and ready for anything and wont turn down a chance to work or play
Geremy the life of the party always making us laugh and a uniquely broad general knowledge giving us new insights into our history and our time
Daniel great guy friendly and easy going, glue to the team keeping us together
Andrew a solid gentle man who always considers others and always helpful
Miranda a cool and friendly with everyone and game for anything, laid back brick layer
And not to mention to Paige (who wrote the blogs) Paige ever helpful and reliable and just stern enough to make a great teacher on day
All in all an outstanding group to work with and a winning team, it was a privilege to meet and get to know everyone and I won’t easily forget anyone
And a big thank you to you all, Don’t take lightly what you have done here at the school, running water is a rare and important resource here and now the 900+- children at the school will benefit from flushing toilets and taps with fresh clean drinking water.
Ps We should definitely do it again maybe build a building next time!
Good Vibes Tribe Sighing out
Happy New year to all.