Yesterday I caught a ride up to Inharrime, my old site, with the Peruvian engineer who works for the Salesian sisters in Namaacha and Inharrime. We had only gone about 60k (of the 350k) and I was starting to nod off when he pulled over. There was a hissing sound coming from beneath the hood and steam rising out. When we popped the hood it wasn’t the radiator as we had expected, but it seemed like a tube or attachment was loose and allowing steam to escape. He called the mechanic who works for the construction company, who was apparently 1.5 hours behind us on the road. We refilled the car radiator with water and cautiously drove some more. We stopped twice more to fill the radiator and then refill those water bottles before he decided we should pull over in the shade and wait for the mechanic to catch up with us. I read for a little while and napped. Eventually the mechanic and driver pulled up in a mid-sized flatbed truck and fixed the problem, though apparently we still needed something because we stopped in four construction stores along the way before we found it. I was glad to be moving again—I had people to see in Inharrime! But in the next big city we stopped to eat lunch. It was 3pm, I just wanted to go! Luckily we just got the meal that the kitchen had prepared that day (a huge pot of beans served over rice) so the whole lunch break only took about 20 minutes—the least of our worries today. We got back on the road and caught up with the guys in the flatbed, who had waited for us. We were cruising along and I was content because, although we were getting in much later than I had planned, we would be there in time for dinner. Suddenly there was an explosion and water covered the front windshield. We pulled over, popped the hood, and saw that a large tube (not the one that had been having problems before) had burst. We tried to call the guys in the flatbed who had been right in front of us but hadn’t seen us stop. They were in an area without service so it took a few minutes to get through to them, and then they had to backtrack. They pulled a long rope out of the back of the flatbed and tied the busted truck to it. I switched seats and sat in the flatbed so that the mechanic could do the steering and braking of the truck being towed. And that is how we drove the last 100k of the trip. We finally got in at 8:20pm, but I was just pleased that I got there before the girls went to bed.
It’s been wonderful being back and seeing everyone again, from the sisters and girls living at the mission, to my former students, colleagues, and REDES girls at the school. People keep asking me if I am back for good now and they are disappointed when I say no, I am only visiting. Everyone is extremely pleased (and vocal about it too) by how fat I got while back in the states. Except one colleague who took it kind of personally, “you gained all that weight there? So you eat more there than here? What’s wrong with Mozambican food that you gain more weight in America?”