The month of December is slow here, what with the coincidence of the summer an Christmas holidays, and the long hot days before the rains commence. So what better time to travel?
The first stop in the month: the first major Peace Corps conference, called Reconnect because it is primarily an excuse for those of use who went through training together to, well, reconnect. Spending the week with all these people in Nampula.
Traveling to the beautiful Ilha de Moçambique post-conference. What better way to explore new places than with friends and the sound of waves? The Capela da Nossa Senhora de Baluarte, built in 1522, is the oldest European construction in the southern hemisphere.
The Fortaleza de São Sebatião, constructed in the mid-16th century, remains a marker of the Portuguese colonial power. Ilha was the colonial capital of Mozambique until the late 1800s, when the capital was moved to Lourenço Marques (now Maputo).
Reefs and a dhow from inside the Fort.
Sunset over the island.
The best part of visiting the Peace Corps office: Mail drop!
My mom’s the best: Helping me celebrate Christmas traditions in Mozambique.
Back on the road again, this time heading north and west to the mountains of Gurue.
Halfway up a mountain on a Christmas Day hike (in what is possibly the most beautiful place I’ve yet been in Mozambique), it started raining. By raining, I mean torrents, veritable buckets dumped on our heads.
We found a shelter with some Mozambicans. And some bananas.
Some lovely people, post gift exchange. A bunch of Americans spending Christmas in a South African’s house in Mozambique. Hard to get more Peace Corps! (Photo credit to Lina)
Spoils: A Santa hat and a pineapple. (Thanks to Lina for the candid shot)
Big fancy group breakfasts are the best. (Photo cred to Lina)
The boys decided to move a rock down the waterfall. (Photo credit to Kevin O’Brien)
Gurue is famous for its tea fields. Under the Portuguese, this factory was used for processing the tea. Now it is empty, and picturesque.
Looking upward in a storage tunnel, roof shrapnel-punctured by a grenade during the civil war, gives the illusion of a planetarium.
Looking out at the mountains from inside the factory.
More lovely people.
And yet more.
Post-Christmas, traveling to Lichinga, Niassa province. The roads are just about the worst, making every trip an adventure (not to mention a core workout).
Spending New Year’s on Lake Niassa (a.k.a. Lake Malawi). A brewing storm (captured by Nicole, since none of my photos from the weekend came out well).
Sunset on the Lake.