The transport arrived 20 minutes early. It was a big truck - one you would put animals on, I climbed over the wheel and into the back. My big bag got moved to the front and I sat on the floor on a piece of plastic (the truck base was wet). I noticed almost immediately that my knees showed (as did the men)when I sat on the floor, so I put my bag on my lap and tried to cover as much as possible.
I spent the 4 hour trip to Metangula trying to learn some Portuguese. No-one on the transport could speak English. I listened to them speak Portuguese just to try get used to the language. I couldn't pick up much. This was definitely going to be a challenge. What truly amazed me, was every time I thought the truck was too full for any more, they would pick up more people or more stuff. At one point the truck was full of people and we pulled over next to a man with a huge pile (4m long) of bamboo. I was thinking - there is no way that will fit on here - turns out it could,
and everyone sat on top of it. Incredible.
When we got to Metangula, I tried to ask where I would find a minibus to Lichinga. No-one seemed to understand but every time I tried to get off the truck, the guy told me to wait (I assume). After most of the people had disembarked, the truck went around the corner to the minibus stop.
It took about 4 hours to get to Lichinga, so I arrived at about 3pm. As we were coming in the main road I saw the SIM guest house as we drove past. I probably should've asked the bus to stop so I could get out there, but I didn't. I thought the bus station can't be too far. It started to rain and then it started to pour. I tried to take in as many landmarks as I could to find my way back to SIM. When we finally arrived at the bus station (at least 2-3km from SIM), it was raining so hard, I was dreading walking in the rain.
I managed to find the road and after I long walk in the rain, I found SIM. At the entrance I
found Claude who could speak English and I was super relieved. There was another missionary family there who stayed just outside of Lichinga, and Belinda was so welcoming and supportive. She left me some food and told me to eat. She also gave me the number of a place to stay in Nampula and said she would pray for me. It was a completely different atmosphere arriving in a mission station as opposed to a backpackers. It was a good change and I could feel the love and support that oozed from this place. I was so relieved. And to top it off - they had wireless internet! I didn't cared how much it cost - I signed up for it and got online as soon as possible - geeky I know.
I ended up having rolls and butter for dinner with Claude. He is a computer specialist and helps run training programs and a sports program (Floor Ball) in Lichinga. He was good to talk to and helped me calm down to a comfortable level again. I settled into my room and I fell into bed and asleep. God works in truly mysterious ways. About 30 hours ago
I had no idea where I would be staying, or what the next stage would be and I happened to meet missionaries on the beach in Cobue, who told me about SIM, which actually ended up being the best place to stay in Lichinga. I couldn't have planned it better if I tried.
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