Rice and Beans

Spaghetti bolognaise is a welcome treat after rice and beans for the past ten days. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy the menu at Zimpeto Iris base, but a change is relished. We had been invited to have dinner with Laura, one of the missionaries on the base. Along with the 3 of us was an Austrian who is currently a missionary in India and 2 Americans who are missionaries in Madagascar. An interesting bunch of people, to say the least. Conversation bounced between Mozambique, India and Madagascar. As food was served, conversation turned to the recent Xenophobic attacks in South Africa. I had been following the updates via the BBC and we had prayed for the victims at our church meeting the day before. Laura knew that the following day we were returning to South Africa and she asked us about our route. After we gave her the particulars she asked us what the latest was on the border between Mozambique and South Africa heading to Nelspruit. Little did we know, the border had been closed that day in retaliation to the Xenophobic attacks. In particular, the border had closed because of Mozambicans protesting and throwing rocks at vehicles with South African registered number plates.

This came as a shock as we had originally intended to cross that exact border that day and would have been amidst the chaos. Luckily we delayed by a day due to a mistake when we gave our next hosts dates and also Laura’s dinner invite. After a while, conversation moved on to other topics but my mind was pondering the border we had to negotiate the following day. Would the border be open? Would we encounter problems? Should we remove our number plates?

Another stream of thoughts were more focused on our film. Would this event prove to be a plot point in our film? If it does, then we need to shoot some footage. I hadn’t really shot much at Zimpeto as it wasn’t directly related to our topic. Now all of a sudden I needed some establishing content showing where we were and why. I need some content explaining the Xenophobic outbreak in South Africa and the effect it was having on our trip. You can’t just shoot random content and expect to put together a coherent story.

The following morning we got up early and got to work. I went to the local market to buy some breakfast supplies and took along a camera. On the way there and the way back I shot content around the orphanage of ordinary life on the base. When I got back, we set up cameras and shot 2 interviews / video diaries. Also when every conversation with other people about the situation came up I tried to get it on camera. We found out that the border had been reopened but there was going to be a protest that day in Maputo and it was advised that we avoid the center of town. We decided to play it safe and rather return to South Africa via a different border and first cross into Swaziland before crossing into South Africa.

Leaving the base was a mixed bag of emotions. We said goodbye to many of the missionaries that we had gotten to know. Our minds were on the day ahead and not on saying goodbye to people. This was highlighted when we were just about to ride through the gate and Alex, one of the boys we has built a relationship with, ran up to us. He asked with a sad look on his face whether we were leaving that day. I tried to reassure him that we would come back at some point but to be honest I wasn’t sure if that would be the case. We had been to Zimpeto once before but this time I felt like we had gotten to know a lot of the missionaries and orphans a lot better. It was sad to say goodbye to Alex.

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In the end, the border crossings proved to be uneventful. We got stuck in traffic leaving Maputo, which seemed to take forever. We also had to ride further, because we were riding through Swaziland, which meant we got to Nelspruit after dark.

I feel through this incident that God was reminding me to not let anxiety prevent me from being present and valuing relationships.

Before I wrap up, I should summarize the past 2 weeks. We left Durban and connected with a couple that owns a pineapple farm near Hluhluwe. We had a great time there learning about pineapple farming and visiting the Hluhluwe game reserve. We’d especially like to thank our hosts, Stephanie and Mienie de Haas, for their gracious hospitality.

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From there we crossed into Swaziland. Our first border crossing went well apart from a police lady knocking over Anneen’s bike when she wanted a photo on the bike. We were occupied with another police woman at the time. But Swaziland was beautiful.

The following day we entered Mozambique and went to Zimpeto Iris base, in Maputi. Mozambique was exciting as we definitely felt like we where in a foreign country. At Zimpeto, we spent time with the kids and did a few outreaches. We made friends with a young American family that is based in Beira in central Mozambique. We’re hoping to visit them later. I had the privilege of leading a young man to Christ who was working on the rubbish dumps on Maputo. We returned to the rubbish dumps the following week to see that he had connected with the church there!

After Maputo, we went to Nelspruit where we had a fantastic couple of days with our hosts, Adam and Melanie. Steady flow of coffee and good company! I also got my quad-copter in the air for the first time in a while. We got to meet Surprise Sithole who has some amazing stories.

From there we are heading to Zimbabwe. This morning we are heading from Tzaneen to Musina and crossing the border tomorrow.

There is really so much more I’d like to include in this post but it’s becoming too long. We’ll write again in 2 weeks time. Make sure you are following our progress via the map on the website and Facebook!


Beginnings and Endings

Many things have happened since our last update and since leaving Cape Town. We have been soaked riding from Kirkwood to East London, slipped and slide through the Transkei on roads little more than cattle tracks and blessed to stay with wonderful hosts along the way. Travelling from Cape Town, we once again stayed in Montagu, went on to Uniondale, and slept the last night on the road in Kirkwood. It seemed like the rain was following us, or we were following it, I’m not sure. We arrived in Uniondale at around 5:45 on Wednesday afternoon after leaving Montagu too late (yet again…). We found a small campsite in town which appeared to be slightly out of use and after negotiating a price of R50 to stay, we pitched our tent. By 7:30 the heavens opened. There was a big thunderstorm. Luckily the Super Dome seemed to hold up and we were still dry by morning. We rode on from there to Willowmore and then Steytlerville. About 30km short of Steytlerville we caught up with the rain. We arrived in Steytlerville wet and cold, but happy to find a mince vetkoek and milo, even though the power was out. What champions. By the time our lunch was finished, the sun was out, and we were on our way.

Arriving in Kirkwood the rain started again. We needed to get groceries so we made our way to the Spar. As we entered the shop the clouds broke open. The rain was intense. We could almost not hear each other talking inside the shop. We decided to find some food and then possibly consider alternative accommodation to camping. We did not want to pitch a tent in torrential rain. After phoning about three different places that were roughly in our budget we still had no luck. It seemed that we would have to camp after all. The weather seemed to be on our side though, as we left the shop the rain died down and by the time we arrived at the campsite there was glorious sunshine. We could enjoy our dinner sitting on the lawn on the bank of the Sunday’s River watching the sunset. Bliss.









The following day started off well but nearing Alexandria the rain started and by the time we reached Port Alfred we were drenched. Even though our jackets are water proof, the water just seems to get in somewhere. At least our heads were dry. We eventually arrived in East London feeling cold, hungry and wet. That was quickly fixed with a hot shower, a cup of tea and a rusk. So started our last weekend in East London for a long time. It was crazy busy with editing to catch up with and numerous admin tasks. We had a wonderful going away party with bunny chows prepared by a real Indian and lots of laughs. It was wonderful to see many of our friends. We felt truly blessed, and God’s goodness hasn’t stopped. We have been blessed to be hosted at Zithulele by Louise Ferreira, as well as in Durban by Luke Pienaar. Thanks guys! You have made us feel loved.

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After sewing shwe shwe skirts and shorts until late Sunday night, a lot of editing and packing up (and filming the packing) we managed to leave East London at about 12PM on Monday. Since time got away from us we decided to ride on the N2 as far as the Mqanduli turn-off that leads to Zithulele as well, instead of cutting through the gravel back roads. Just as well, we stopped outside Zithulele at 17:30 to be greeted by Louise saying we are presenting our project to the community in 5 minutes time! Our timing was perfect. We had a really great time chatting with everyone at Zithulele and sharing our vision with them. Louise also showcased her brilliant cooking skills serving a delicious veggie curry with banana bread for dessert.

We left Zithulele Tuesday morning feeling rather relaxed and not in a hurry. Why should we be? We only planned to ride 100km that day. It might have only been 100km but it might prove to be one of the hardest 100km stretches we have to ride. We followed a route along the coast that our GPS advised. At times the “road” was little more than a cattle track. Some sections were seriously rutted by water and difficult for me to traverse with my short legs. We eventually arrived at our destination well after dark (19:00) feeling a little battered and bruised. We decided to share a beer for dinner (we were too late to find a shop) and went to bed.



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Wednesday we missioned through the rest of the Transkei, luckily on tar, and stayed over in Umtentweni just north of Port Shepstone on the Natal South Coast. We tried to get an early night. We were tired and needed to be in Durban by 9:00. This meant we actually had to be organised and get up early for once. We did manage and arrived at the studio where we were working at 9:00. Again, perfect timing. We had the privilege of interviewing Mike, who has worked extensively with the persecuted church in the Middle East and Egypt. Thank you Mike, for your time and interest in what we are doing!

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We also had the opportunity to interview missionary friends as well a Muslim background believer before we left Cape Town. Thank you Tracey, Peter and Uthmaan for your time and for the honest stories.

Lastly, we were very sad at the passing of Jeff’s uncle. He passed away just before we left from Cape Town. Please keep Jeff’s family in your prayers. It is a difficult time. Also pray for us as we cross the border to Mozambique on Tuesday. We will be in Maputo for 10 days. It will be our first international crossing, so hoping all goes well.

Please feel free to respond to our blog posts and send us updates of what is happening in your lives.