Bird on a Bare Branch

Attempting to fling a frail song in my little corner of the world

Photo #87 November 29, 2011

Filed under: Pictures — Jen @ 1:53 am

Hmmm, I’m not sure this is my favorite photo since it brings back somewhat painful memories, but it did also make me laugh remembering what I used to wake up early on research mornings to do.


That is a giant roll of bologna.  Bright pink and easy to slice through, although sometimes is makes you want to gag a little because there’s just so much of it.  On mornings that I ran workshops (for research) in schools, I would wake up early to walk down to the bakery on the corner with my plastic bags and exact change and buy however many rolls I needed for the day.  Then I’d return home to slice bologna, cut rolls, butter them, and make bologna sandwiches for the students.  I’d also mix up bottles of a Kool-Aid type drink.


The funnier part is that usually by the time the workshops were over, I was pretty hungry for a bologna sandwich and bright purple juice!


Photo #86 November 23, 2011

Filed under: Pictures — Jen @ 5:25 pm

Those are my colleagues.  And that’s us moving offices.  Yep, it was perfectly safe for them to be riding in the back of the truck like that.  That’s how it’s done in Moz. 🙂


Photo #86

Filed under: Pictures — Jen @ 12:04 am

This is one of my favorite Moz photos ever.  It captures so much of our home:  laundry drying on the balcony, the flowery satin curtains, our ridiculously uncomfortable wicker furniture, our camp chairs that were our only comfortable furniture until we bought our living room set two months before I left Mozambique, and the cool dishes I found at Pep.  The picture also captures a really peaceful, comfortable, happy evening:  lounging around with a good friend visiting from out of town, enjoying a glass of wine and the ever-classy, always delicious Nik Naks.


Photo #85 November 21, 2011

Filed under: Pictures — Jen @ 10:31 pm

I have written about golfing in Beira before.  (See here.)  I mentioned the danger of the golf-ball sized crab holes.  What I did not mention is that the crabs actually steal the balls.  I’m not kidding.  I thought the caddies were kidding when they would frantically run after lost balls, exclaiming we needed to find them before the crabs did.  I just thought if the balls were gone, it was because they rolled into the holes.  Until I saw a big red crab come out of its hole, grab a ball, and retreat into its hole with its treasure.


This photo makes me laugh because it shows everyone searching in the rough for lost balls.



Photo #84 November 18, 2011

Filed under: Culture,Pictures — Jen @ 9:17 pm

I’ve posted this picture before.  (See here.)  But I’m going to post it again because, well, I just really like it.  And also I should add that I did eventually start drinking coffee.


Because it was so cultural in Sweden, and because at the time I anticipated spending much more time in Sweden, I told myself I needed to learn how to drink coffee.  You know, when in Rome…  So one afternoon in Beira, my housemate and an out of town guest decided to brew a pot.  I piped up, “I’ll have some too.”  I filled my cup with one third coffee and two thirds milk with at least two heaping teaspoons of sugar.  It was actually bearable.  I started doing that every day, slowly weaning myself to half coffee, half milk, then two thirds coffee and one third milk.  Very quickly I learned to not just tolerate coffee but enjoy coffee.  And suddenly I entered an aspect of social life that I had always lived on the outskirts of.


I eventually parted ways from my original motivation for drinking coffee, and I have yet to return to Sweden.  I’ve also realized that when I’m not working – and, therefore, needing the caffeine early in the morning –  I actually prefer to drink tea.  However, I’m still thankful that when I need to or want to, I can say, “Yes, please,” when offered a cup of coffee.



Photo #83 November 15, 2011

Filed under: Pictures — Jen @ 5:01 pm

Seven months into my time in Mozambique, I returned to the States for my brother’s wedding.  (I’m not sure how to post a favorite photo from a celebration of a union that is no longer, so I skipped that folder.)  During that trip, I was able to spend some good time in Chicago with my parents and then in Houston with friends.


This picture from Chinatown makes me laugh.



Photo #82 November 4, 2011

Filed under: Pictures,Uncategorized — Jen @ 7:39 pm

When I saw this picture, I thought, “Oh, I love my church!”  Which is funny because I never felt entirely comfortable there, nor did I always understand what was going on.  Looking back, as with so many things in Mozambique, I would have done church differently.  Like I would have gone to Sunday school, even just to practice more Portuguese.  I also would have made a point of getting to know the pastor.  I knew his wife because she worked at Oasis, but I never had a conversation with her husband.  Yet he is one of the reasons why I liked the church so much.  Many Mozambican pastors are power-hungry and readily feed into the hierarchy of African culture.  I have met pastors who ignore women and many who completely ignore children and youth.  They are stern and yell from the pulpit, often with no point because they have such weak biblical and theological knowledge.  This pastor smiled almost perpetually, spoke gently, encouraged women and youth leadership, and delighted in children.  In fact, on Sundays that he wasn’t preaching, he would sit in the back with his youngest children and their friends sitting in his lap and beside him.  He also knew the Word better than many pastors I heard and preached it more intelligently and succinctly.


I also say I love my church because many of my colleagues attended, so I knew a lot of people.  Plus, the music was usually good.  And always lively!  I miss dancing in church.  (Or rather clapping and moving a bit in my row since I never actually got up the nerve to join the other women dancing and jumping down the aisle and in the front!)