GORONGOSA, Mystical Mountain fraught with catastrophe, tragedy and danger.
Myths and inexplicable spiritual traditions lie enshrouded in the mists and crevices of this magnificent mountain. An eco-system unlike any other in the world is intensely woven and knitted within the dense vegetation of rare flora and fauna. Right now this beautiful mountain is being shredded by bombs and gunfire. The colour red slashes across the brilliant green that comes with the months of January, February and March in Mozambique. The mountain is situated in the centre of Mozambique and forms part of Gorongosa National Park.
Gorongosa is the Anglicization of the word “gorongobzi ” as in ” goro ” – hill, mountain and ” ngobzi ” – mishap, accident, disaster, misfortune.” Here is the origin of Sandjundjira ; the name of a traditional healer/leader . The Anglicization of the word ” mtsandzundjira ” of ” mtsandzu ” – tree branch and ” ndjira ” – path , which literally means a branch of a tree left on the way . Whoever does not respect the tradition of the mountain automatically undergoes a series of reprisals and suffering s such as bee stings snake bites , blitzing by lightning or getting lost for many long hours. (According to tradition).
Beautiful Dimba Valley starts its descent near the edge of our Inhaminga campus boundary.
It was into this valley that rockets and machinegun fire was launched from close proximity to campus, sending local people running in terror to live in the bush. Though they came running right past our house, I did not have the heart to take a picture. Instead we were shouting encouragement and protection prayers to them as they ran.
After some days the people hiding in the bushes started coming home. They were so happy to come back, carrying the supplies that they had hidden in the bushes. They also brought home firewood and sweet potato leaves from their fields.
This week Dimba came under fire again, though this time not from campus area. Sadly a lot of them went running off to the bush again when shooting started again.
PS. Point of informative interest: In the rural areas it is very common for women to expose their breasts which are viewed simply as a functioning part of the anatomy for feeding babies.
The road to Inhaminga winds through 160 kilometres of scenic beauty along the Southern edge of the mountain. This road is now blocked by defence forces and we have to come 240 kilometres around the mountain across paved road full of pot holes. This turn off is on the Northern edge of Gorongosa town.
The building team in Gorongosa town had to stop making clay bricks due to heavy rain. They continued with cement breeze blocks for the church. Camping beside the thatch shelter that we use for a temporary church is messy but good things are happening. We have had to extend the thatch (see right at the back) for the increase of souls being won to Christ. The field planted to corn is producing nicely.
Inhaminga wa Yesu Church is sending out members to establish the work in Gorongosa. They are supporting their own missionaries (Marco and Manuel in the centre) to a region that has great need. We dropped Maria off to minister to the women for a week.
PS. Point of informative interest – In African culture it is very normal for men to hold hands with each other as a sign of brotherly friendship. It does not mean they are homosexual.
The Pungue river that starts in Zimbabwe and flows on to form the Pungue Estuary at Beira is red with muddy water due to heavy rains.
The best part of being back in Zimbabwe is having our grandson Raurie (17) come home from school for the week-end. Special, special time. Yes, Raurie is tall and handsome. Rod is handsome too!
FOR MORE ABOUT US, TEAM AND THE PEOPLE OF MOZAMBIQUE, visit our website and read our latest newsletters. www.afrikawayesu.org