Back to the bush…

And so I continue my sojourns into the unknown world of social media, blogging and online advertising through storytelling…

Next week will mark the one year anniversary of our return from beach to bush (with a trip to the drizzle of London in between).  Bean and I have spent the weekend looking back on our two years spent living a beachcombers life in Mozambique: our permanent residence a beach shack made from reeds and thatch, the shining waters of the Indian ocean just a stone’s throw away from our verandah, and our staple diet of oysters and fresh fish.

Our days were spent dodging between the waves for an early surf, working amongst the coconut trees, and transforming fascinating wax print capallana cloth into interesting, but mostly quite bizarre products to sell to raise funds, such as bean bags that pop when someone sits on them (covering the sand in a kind of squishy white snow), quilts (never needed in such a hot climate, but a nice idea non the less) and cushions (make great beach pillows for tourists).  Evenings were a culmination of busy days, sunburnt skin and salty hair, stories exchanged and drinks chinked beside a roaring fire overlooking the moonshine on the darkened surf.  

Paradise? Pretty close.

That is the best way to remember what was, for us, a remarkable experience and inspiring two years, that brought us closer, helped us grow as people, both emotionally and intellectually.  However, as we trawl through our Monday morning here in Monzi, Bean and myself are also reminded of the sadness, the trials and tribulations, the difficulties, the impossibilities of living in a village such as Xisondwe, next to a South African resort such as Zavora.

Our working days are now, typically, a struggle with education, childcare, attitudes, sickness and ill health on a backdrop of severe struggle, poverty and disadvantage caused by both circumstance and (current, not past) regime.  This was also the case in Xisondwe, slightly less sickness, slightly more prejudice, slightly less problems caused by regime, more by circumstance, bureaucracy, hatred, illegal activity, and jealousy.  These are the memories we try to hide.  

Rather better don’t you think to remember the paradise, and leave the sadness to the company who has now taken over the day to day running of our beautiful school in Xisondwe, and the guardianship of the children who gave us so much pleasure.

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Beach, Bush and Beyond.

Moving onwards and upwards: Bean, Bali, Angoras, Mitsels and Myself have now entered the world of real, full scale blogging (not just the micro-blogging option offered by Twitter etc).

After nearly 4 years of blogging, tweeting, facebooking and website editing our adventures from various corners of the world (particularly about our work: MozVolunteers based in South Africa and Mozambique – more to come!) and trying to keep up with the fast-pace, quick-moving technological advances of the 21st century, we have finally found wordpress.com and aim to keep the outside world up to date on the trials and tribulations, successes and dilemmas of our life while we try to succeed at running a self-founded NGO and volunteer project called MozVolunteers all from the beach, the bush and of course beyond.

So what do we have to talk about? Beach? Bush? Beyond? Who are we? what actually do we do?

We are as mentioned above, the founders of MozVolunteers (www.mozvolunteers.com) NGO that was founded by Myself (…), Bean (pro-surfer/intrepid ranger) and Bali (dog) with a later addition of Mitsles (pampered princess) and Angoras (11 goats). Each of whom deserve an individual blog post and will get one! We live in Monzi, a “picturesque, golf estate in the heart of Zululand” (reality: a selection of farm houses from the second world war, with dodgy water supply, a fence with holes in it and sporadic electricity connection from Eskom). We try to help communities in our area, who are sadly afflicted by HIV/AIDS (more about that later too) through education, trade and healthcare initiatives. This also means that we have volunteers, mostly from the UK/Australia who become welcome (or otherwise in some isolated cases…!) house guests for prolonged periods of time.

Clearly, MozVolunteers is not a fortune-making industry, so we each have our own sidelines (side being the operative word in most cases!) myself: trying to complete a PhD in women’s health, Bean running safari and golf tours (Zululand’s premier provider of course: http://www.safariandgolf.com )

Consequently this blog is a mixed bag of assorted amusing (hopefully) inspiring (definitely) exciting (occasionally) truly bizarre (myself = a British bird in the bush) hints and titbits to keep you occupied when you should be working, cooking, looking after children, working on your dissertation (students) and may hopefully inspire you to one day book a volunteer place on one of our projects and come and join us for a period of time to enjoy the beach bush and beyond of Zululand, South Africa.