Tsetses and Tics and Mopani Flies, Oh My!

We went out to the bush this weekend to show our family the backside of Mozambique to a beautiful place called Taratibu.

Okay…it wasn’t really that far out and it was a slice of civilized camping. Both sets of parents and the Charles’ were able to stay in small huts with en-suites. The Du Preez’ and ourselves stayed in tents.

Sunday morning we got to watch a family of baboons on their morning jaunt.

We had our biggest Mozambican meeting ever.

We then took a drive to all our favorite spots. During the drive we introduced our guests to tsetse flies. Furious shrieking, slapping, and arm flapping ensued. I managed to squash one with my OFF! insect repellent bottle (that stuff really works!) and made a very pretty (blech!) blood splatter pattern on the window.

We then stopped for lunch at the top of a hill to take in the view and relax and enjoy. Unfortunately, the Mopani flies decided to join us. We didn’t take in much of the view because they buzz incessantly around your eyes, nose, and mouth trying to get the moisture there. They then make a honey out of it. Not something I really want to try. “Come get your fresh eye and nose jam!”

The driving was quite jarring at times and throughout the trip Franklyn was channelling Elvis as he was feeling “All Shook Up”.

It was a short trip but we had a good time.

It wasn’t until later that we realised we had also brought home souveneirs. I got a text the next day saying that the Du Preez had found tics! We all did thourough body searches and 5 of us had them. We all felt crawly for the next few days and a couple of us found others that we had missed the first time.

Here at “Kells Adventure Tours” we want to leave you with an experience you will never forget.

It will either be awesome or awful…but you won’t forget it!


Look out below!

This sign makes me laugh every time I see it. It is just outside the parking lot at Dayne’s office.


I had seen “beware of dog” but I never guessed there could be vicious mangos.

As amusing as it is, it can be pretty dangerous during mango season as they have many trees in the yard. There is a constant thudding as they fall on the aluminum roofs of the camp housing and there have been casualties! A couple windshields have been smashed and cars dented.

Know Your Place

I was turning right at an intersection.

There was a car in the outside lane so I decided that I was okay to turn into the inside lane. As soon as I did, the other driver laid on the horn for at least 10 seconds. I can see that he thought I had done something wrong. When I didn’t show any remorse for my actions, he proceeded to follow me until I stopped at the next intersection.

As my window isn’t working, I stepped out, knowing that I was in for a severe tongue lashing. He starts telling how I was going to cause an accident and how I have to drive better. I explain that there are two lanes. He had the outside and I had the inside.

As we are arguing about who is in the wrong, I notice that the driver and all the passengers are wearing uniforms. Hmmm…I have managed to offend a Very (Self)Important Person here!

When I refused to admit any sort of guilt, he finally sped off with a “VOCE!!”(YOU!!).

I later saw him chatting with some men outside the Governor’s Mansion.

Upon further reflection, I realised he was absolutely right about me being in the wrong.

NOTE TO SELF: People who drive whilst under the influence of EGO require the whole road (in this case, 2 lanes) at all times.

Run for your life

I saw the army guys running again the other day…in summer…at the hottest time of day…in the high humidity.  I was just sitting in my car and I was sweating.

My brain was obviously not completely cooking as I came up with a brilliant idea. This looked like the ideal thing to implement in prisons as a punishment system! Every prisoner has to run in the middle of the heat of the day. The worse the crime, the longer you run! That would for sure cut down on crime by a huge amount making this one of the best ideas to come along in the last few years!

A second later I had an “oh, right!” moment. OH, right! There is already a program in place where people have to run in the middle of the heat of the day, some running longer than others.

They call it a marathon and people actually do this for fun!!!

Well, I guess these prison programs could be used to integrate people back into society with a means of making something of themselves. Mozambique could have a ready made athletics team and go round the world competing at events. These people could make money and then they wouldn’t need to commit crimes! And my idea is back to being brilliant again!

Driven around the bend

There is a new law that requires us to get Mozambique drivers licenses. That wouldn’t be so bad but they also want to take my Canadian license away! I am having a hard time wrapping my brain around this one! All I can come up with are reasons not to. So here they are:


5. No idea about road rules

When the round-a-bouts were first introduced, the police stood in the middle and made drivers drive the wrong way around them. Thankfully someone figured it out and now it is sorted…sort of. They still have no clue about who yields to who.

4. The clueless driving speeds

There are 2 main types of drivers (yes, there are also some normal ones!).  The over-confident who drive break-neck speed wherever they go. Or the under-confident (is this a word?) who will drive a maximum of 30km on a 50km road. It normally is more like 20km.

3. The mind-boggling and interesting (in a train wreck sort of way) accidents that happen

Words cannot describe! Only in Pemba!!

2. The instructors themselves don’t know how to drive

A man we know went for his motorbike licence. He was told to start from one point and then stop at another. He did this in a very good, controlled fashion. When he was done, the instructor said “No, you did it wrong! You are supposed to skid to a stop!” He then did this and was passed with flying colors.

1. How am I going to be able to renew my Calgary Public Library card?!

The most important thing is to be able to have something to read while stuck in hours-long line-ups!

Down in the Dumps

There are no such things as garbage cans anywhere in Pemba.

There is no garbage collection and so the average person is without a place to put their trash and it ends up on the streets.  There are unofficial dump sites all over town and it is pretty depressing to see the trash piling up daily. The city comes around sometimes and cleans up some of the main streets, but within days the whole process restarts. We are fortunate that we have garbage pick-up weekly and our trash is incinerated.

You can often see children rummaging thru piles trying to find bits and pieces they can fashion into toys and all the animals scavenging for food. I may have mentioned before that the goats in Pemba are the healthiest, most well-fed beings here.

We have one spot that I pass many times daily while doing the school run. It has become a home to a few families of chickens. I will now leave you with a challenge and a new definition of “free range chickens”.

Can you spot them all? There are 5.

You Beg and I Beg to Differ

I picked up Matteo and Meghan (our neighbor) from school yesterday. As usual there were a line up of vendors scrambling to sell their wares to all the parents pulling up to the school. A man, whom I have purchased from before, came up to my window and started badgering me about buying. To say no one time generally means nothing. You need to say it continuously until the time you are actually driving away. So, he kept telling me that I should buy and I kept refusing. Finally, in desperation, he said “Senhora! I am hungry! You need to buy!”. Meghan burst out laughing beside me. “He is saying he is hungry and he has a big bag of bananas in his hand!! Why doesn’t he eat those?!”

Ah, the wisdom of a child!

It was good for me to be reminded to see the funny side in each and every frustrating situation I find myself in.

Thanks, Megs!

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