Pulpology: Mark & Sonia's Intercontinental Absurdities!

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05 November 2012
Africa Always Wins

me and my new Moz boyfriends
me and some of my new Moz boyfriends

More than a week has passed since we've returned from our Mozambique adventures, and I'm still trying to process the experience. One of our teammates did a great job encapsulating the week into a single post, but I think it's going to take me some more time and work to find the right language. Plus I have like a million photos to go through. :)

oh, the places oktapodi will go
oh, the places oktapodi will go

Months back, when we first started talking about this trip, two good friends who'd done time with the Peace Corps nodded sagely and said simultaneously, "AAW!" Big smile. "Africa Always Wins."

Sheila is excited about her new home

Yes, I can vouch for this. Africa does provide more than its share of forehead-slapping moments. Like when the only functioning ATM accepts Visa cards, not the MasterCard you'd counted on using. Or hearing the whine of a  mozzie, right next to your head, *inside* the carefully-draped gauzy netting around your bed.

But the real AAW comes from something deeper. Africa always wins because it gets inside your heart and soul, with its warm friendly people, its powerful landscapes, its sense of time standing still and rushing forward headlong simultaneously. Overlay that with a week spent working side-by-side with some of the most compassionate, funny, smart, strong people I've ever been randomly thrown together with, on a project that literally changed lives, and maybe you'll understand why every attempt to describe this trip quickly drowns in a sea of hyperbole.

Team Pedro works hard and plays hard
Team Pedro works hard and plays hard

Coming back to reality has been harder than I'd expected, too. Reverse culture shock after visiting the third world -- like standing dumbstruck in front of 17 different brands of toilet paper in the grocery store -- is something I'm used to and thought I was prepared for. But somehow this has been different, probably because we weren't just visiting a place and then strolling away to the next lovely spot on the map. We built something tangible, we connected with the people whose lives we were able to help change. Coming back to this past week of Frankenstorms and bowls full of Halloween candy and election politicking has been a real challenge. "Walking in two worlds," I'm told they call it in Habitat circles, and that sums it up nicely. Everything's the same, but different. Moreover, I'm different, but still the same.

Nosta and Felismina celebrate their new homes
Nosta and Felismina celebrate their new homes with a song/dance

We've been telling people this trip was a play in three acts: safari, Habitat build, scuba. I'm going to attempt to break it down a little further, into manageable themes, in my puny effort to make sense of it all. Don't worry, I promise to tell all about the fun parts too! Because we did have fun, we had an absolute blast... it was a grand adventure on an epic scale.

* browse
all Mozambique-related posts
Kanimambo Means Thank You
Oh, The Humanity, Part I: Just Passing Through

Posted by sonia at 12:00 AM | Link | 2 comments
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Re: Africa Always Wins
I'll have to second that it was an epic adventure and a life-changer.
Posted by mark on November 5, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Re: Africa Always Wins
Love this "first of many" on what was exactly as you described: a grand adventure on an epic scale!
Posted by lacyemartini on November 5, 2012 at 3:01 PM

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