Monday, June 21, 2010

Always An Adventure

In Moz, almost any road trip becomes an off-road adventure, at least for part of the ride. On Friday, we traveled north to Inhambane Province to allow Caelyn to complete her four open-water dives required for scuba certification.

On our way, we encountered many items of interest. One in particular was a procession of people marching in honor of "Chama", or "The Call", which refers to a call to unity. I don't have any more information than that, but we learned that these folks were marching all the way to Maputo.

A little over half-way to our destination (normally a six-hour drive), we ran into a road block. Some construction trucks had been abandoned at the end of the work day, leaving the road impassable to vehicles without four-wheel-drive capability. Our only recourse was to take a detour, which is no small undertaking on this continent. The queue of vehicles had grown considerably as we sat at the roadside contemplating how best to handle the situation; so we followed behind several other adventurers and headed into the bush. The lead vehicle suffered a flat tire, which brought our line to a halt temporarily.

Sitting in a vehicle in the middle of the Moçambican bush at night, having heard countless stories of car-jackings by bandits, I pondered our vulnerable state and was reminded of God's sovereignty. As I tried to imagine the worst-case scenario and my own helplessness, I experienced the peace that can only come from knowing that God is indeed in control.

"You discern my going out and my lying down;
you are familiar with all my ways.

You hem me in—behind and before;
you have laid your hand upon me.

Such knowledge is too wonderful for me,
too lofty for me to attain.

Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?

If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.

If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea,

even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

If I say, "Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,"

even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,

for darkness is as light to you."

Psalm 139:3, 5-12

Thankfully, we were soon on our way and reached our destination unscathed. The next morning, I was anxious to get out onto the veranda to bask in the glorious view of the valley leading to the beach, before heading there for Caelyn's dives. After a cup of coffee and some breakfast bean cookies, we were all ready to pile into the van to get her to the dive shop in time to suit up.

Graham, too, was awed by the spectacular view.

We found that the van couldn't maneuver the deep soil of the steep driveway, so we managed to push it to the lower, flat portion.

Caelyn is so funny.

Our second attempt at moving the van was unsuccessful, as well. In situations like this, I console myself with thoughts like, "Nothing lasts forever" and "We won't still be in this spot next week". I busied myself by watching a butterfly while the guys tried putting stones beneath the tires for traction.

I took a peek to see how the guys were coming along. They had to first dig some of the dirt from around the tires. I'm so glad that I'm a girl.

Gabriela was laughing at me, saying, "Mom! We're stuck in the dirt and you're looking at a butterfly!" Everyone must have a "happy place" in times like these.

At last, help arrived to pull us out, which also wasn't without difficulty. Caelyn was in danger of being late, so our "help" took some of us ahead to the dive shop while most of the guys stayed behind and waited for a tractor. It was some time before they eventually joined us at the beach, where we waited... and waited... and waited for Caelyn to dive.

Morgan was first on the beach when we arrived.

People watching in Moçambique is an interesting pastime. This family was so fun to watch. The children splashed and played while the mother collected water. I'm told that salt water is used just as we use fresh water -- even for coffee!

Can you see our baby girl? She's third from the right, heading down the beach to meet the boat. With the peace only God can grant (Philippians 4:6-7), I was not anxious about this.

Finally, the guys arrived at the beach, just in time for Craig to join Caelyn on her second dive. This really meant a lot to him. He was amazed that I was able to be so calm. Although he has dived before, he was somewhat apprehensive about Caelyn's diving. What a special treat it was for them to do it together.

While we waited, Sheri and I enjoyed some girl talk while the boys and Morgan amused themselves and Kenyon sat and talked with Gabriela. During our time of leisure, I looked up at the water just in time to see a water spout from a whale. I sat, stunned, momentarily before speaking up. No one else had seen it, and I wanted to be sure. I've never seen a whale in my entire life. (Sea World doesn't count.) When I again saw it surface, I mentioned it to the others. Kenyon, being a natural skeptic, insisted that I was mistaken. I just sat quietly until all had the opportunity to see for themselves. This was a really big deal for me. I'm so thankful to have witnessed it.

The divers reported later that they had seen humpback whales on their outing, so I'm assuming that this may have been the same kind. I really don't know. This is as far as it came out of the water.

Here are Henrik, Caelyn, and Craig returning with the rest of the group from Dive #2.

Our lodge

Back at the lodge, we ate egg-salad sandwiches that the children prepared for our trip, and I had one of Gabriela's fabulous Greek salads. She has been Caelyn's salad dressing apprentice, and I wonder how many eleven-year-old girls make salad dressing that is this good! Honestly, it should be bottled and sold.

After dinner, we played a few games, including Balderdash. I like to think of myself as reigning champion of this game, but alas! Craig has taken my title. The look on Caelyn's face was priceless when she, in the role of "dasher", read my definition for "googol". It was somewhat disappointing, however, to learn that of our entire group of ten, I was the only one who remembered what this is. I thought this was universally taught. In fact, I remember when some of my children learned this term in math.

On Sunday morning, we again headed to the dive shop so that Caelyn could complete her last two dives. When we arrived, the hot topic was the whale shark that was very close to shore. It is somewhat visible in this photo, but it's the best that I could do. There was a man snorkeling nearby, and he swam over and grabbed onto the tail fin. This got me thinking about what others call a "bucket list". I've never seen that movie, so I prefer to call it my "Scavenger Hunt of Life" list. I'm not sure if I really want to grab the tail fin of a whale shark, but I certainly have a new longing to do some sea kayaking after seeing several people doing that over the weekend.

While we hung out at the dive shop, eating lunch and chatting with another family from Maputo, Gabriela befriended their Jack Russell Terrier, Freckles. Normally, this would bother me, but hey! I'm a dog owner now! Not only that, but I'm also now the mother of a certified scuba diver. Congratulations, Caelyn!

(If you'd like to see more photos of our weekend, click here.)

For several weeks, I've been participating in Bits of My Weekend with Michelle and friends. With our upcoming move back to the States, my time will be very limited, and it'll be all I can do just to maintain my own blogs and the sewing group that I join online each Friday. So, please do visit Michelle and her friends. They have many interesting things to share. For now, at least, I must take my leave from it, but it has been great fun to participate.


  1. Yea, Caelyn! Yea, guys...for getting the van out! Dayna....what are bean cookies? You know, I want the recipe! Beautiful pictures!

  2. What an encouraging, interesting and fun blog today! I happened across your blog somehow because of the sewing, and I really appreciate reading of your adventures and faith!

  3. I finally remembered you had a blog! Good for me :) OK, so in light of my post today...What is your niche? Adventurous Women Who Also Sew, Cook, and Have Gorgeous Husbands and Children?
    Not much competition in that category. You've got it cornered.
    I love the pattern on your sidebar thingy. I can't get blogger to give me many choices, and I certainly can't figure out how to do the live traffic feed. I need a tutorial (...on so many things....).

  4. Our boys like to dive too, I am content to snorkel!
    i haven't been to your blog before so I don't have any knowledge of your life but I see that we do have our faith in common!
    Thanks for visiting my blog, & blessings for your return to the USA.

  5. Nothing boring about your weekend, heh? I am so amazed at all you stuffed into just a couple of days. And your sweet, sweet spirit through it all. I would have just sat down and cried, more than once.

    So, you are headed back to the states? You do lead an adverturesome life. Whereabouts? And what brings you back?

  6. Congrats, Caelyn! How does she manage to look beautiful while scuba diving - she's a scuba diva diver!! Hehe - I crack myself up! Can so relate with the stuck truck in the muck - although you seemed to be enjoying the whole thing - miss your happy smile!