Bolinhos and Fish-eyes

My husband suggested that I write a blog article or something about our time riding motorbikes through Africa so far. The truth is the idea did not excite me at all. What on earth am I supposed to write about? And why should I be writing? What’s wrong with him? Not that we have not had adventures or seen beautiful places, but I cannot imagine writing any of that stuff into a coherent story of more than two paragraphs. To me it all feels like little snippets, a collage of little memories.

Jeff decided to help me come up with ideas about what to write, “Why don’t you write an article about what it is like overlanding as a woman?” Gag! It seems pretty much the same to me as overlanding as a man. It may be different for cats or dogs but I cannot comment on that. “Okay! Why don’t you write then about what it is like as a new rider?” Okay, so this is arguably a better topic. I did get my license the day before we left South Africa. I only learnt how to ride a motorbike about a year before we left and was not very experienced at all. All this said this still did not seem like a very exciting topic. The truth is that it hasn’t felt like a big deal to me. It is basically a case of just keep going. Riding on tarmac roads is not a problem. One gets used to African traffic very quickly. Off-road sections have been challenging. We have ridden through deep sand and tricky technical spots that have been pretty scary for me. It is not a big deal though, I either just have to keep going or if I feel like I really can’t ride something, hubby is there to ride through the obstacle. All things aside, my riding has improved a lot in the five months we’ve been on the road. So my advice to anyone thinking about doing a trip and being nervous because of a lack of riding experience is “Just do it”.

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Finally, Jeff suggested that I write about the benefits of riding on small bikes. We’ve taken on the African continent on Honda XR125’s. I guess this should make me an expert in this realm. The truth is that I have no clue about this topic really, as I have never ridden anything bigger than a 150cc Vespa! Big bikes scare me. I am petite and the thought of handling a big 1200cc or something similar puts the fear of God in me. That being said, our small bikes have been fantastic. We have not had so much as a flat tyre, the bike has been manageable for me in difficult terrain and it cruises comfortable at 80km/h, which I think is plenty.

None of those topics excited me. I really just wanted to escape from writing but then I thought I could write about something that I love; something that has come to be close to my heart. It has “saved our lives” a few times and life would be just boring without it. It has come to be something that we depend upon, something that we look forward to, something that makes the world a better place. This little everyday miracle is collectively known as street food.

We have now travelled through South Africa, Swaziland, Zimbabwe, Zambia, Malawi, Mozambique and Tanzania. Street food is to be found almost everywhere. Were it not for the mamas and kids selling vetkoek, a kind of semi-sweet doughnut, (locally known as bolinhos in Moz and maandazi in Tanzania) almost everywhere imaginable we would have gone many a day without anything more than powdered cereal to eat. These little treats have become a staple for us. They are dirt cheap and delicious.

But the story does not end there. My good friend Richard, a Zambian by birth, is always affectionately referring to Malawi as the land of fish and chips. This became a reality for us. Well, maybe not the fish so much. I will admit that we have not really been brave enough to buy capenta, the tiny dried fish that are readily available everywhere in Malawi and elsewhere, but we definitely made full use of hot chips. There are stalls next to the road in towns and at major intersections where this delight can be purchased. Usually the setup includes someone cutting and washing potatoes, someone cutting salad and someone frying and serving the chips together with some salad. This is often also accompanied by someone selling kebabs or some other bits of meat or liver. We also came across deep fried banana cakes, rice cakes, chickpeas and potato cakes. We once bought something deep fried that looked new but after Jeff spotted a fish eye looking at him from inside the batter we decided to give this delicacy a skip…

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However, the best street food, and seemingly the greatest variety (at least so far) is definitely in Zanzibar and the best time to visit the market is of course at night. This is the cherry on top of all delights. Here you can really satisfy your senses. From maandazi and deep fried, spicy potato balls, to chipatti, mishkaki (beef, liver or chicken kebabs) and fried octopus the choice seems endless. There is also a lot of fresh fruit available, bananas, watermelon and giant avocados.

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If you are ever in Zanzibar, do try the Zanzibari pizza. This is a local ‘delicacy’ that resembles an omelet. The maker seems to collect whatever food is available (vegetables, melrose cheese, mince meat, egg etc) and fry it together in a small pizza shape. It is surprisingly tasty and very affordable.


With all the variety that we have found here western fast food really dims in comparison (in my opinion). I’m looking forward to see what new little miracles I will find further north…

Witchdoctors and Islam

It has been a while since we have released a proper blog. I feel like I have forgotten how to write. There is so much happening and I sometimes feel overwhelmed to get it onto paper. Let’s back way up to the start, where our video blog left off. We left the comforts of Kuti Wildlife Reserve and headed for the unknown territory of Mozambique. We had met a very friendly American family whilst in Maputo in April and they invited us to visit them in Beira. The Reinagels are missionaries in Beira. They started their own organisation, Equip Mozambique, which is focused on helping locals start businesses and discipleship. They have partnered with a large, dynamic, local church in Beira. Jon promised us there are many Muslim converts in their congregation and so we decided to take them up on their offer and head down to Beira, even though it seemed like quite a detour.

We were welcomed with open arms and tremendously enjoyed Carla’s cooking skills. There were all sorts of treats like cinnamon rolls, banana bread and Mexican fajitas. After days on the road eating mostly dry vetkoek, morvite and peanut butter sandwiches, this seemed like heaven. The variety almost blew our minds! After finding our feet and figuring out some admin we got right down to work. Jeff was roped into presenting a film workshop to the church’s media team to help them improve their skills. It was received really well. Everyone seemed to enjoy the interaction and learning from each other.

We also had the opportunity to interview six Muslim background believers. It was very interesting to see the similarities on their stories. God is really working with healings and miracles in Mozambique. Since leaving Beira we have seen this thread all through the Muslim areas in the north of the country. On our last Sunday in Beira a witchdoctor brought all her charms and potions to the church to be burnt. As they went up in flames people were cheering and praising God. A glimpse of what is yet to come…

During our time in Beira, we spent much time thinking about our future plans (after the doccy) and what God is planning for us. Please pray for us as we continue to seek his will for us.

Our time to leave Beira arrived too soon but adventure further north was beckoning and so we headed to Mocuba to meet up with Antonio, a local missionary a friend introduced me to. We were told that Antonio is a very dynamic guy who talks a lot and has many stories about Muslims coming to faith right in the bible school he runs and other seemingly crazy stories. It was a tenuous connection but we felt excited as we arrived in Mocuba, where Antonio lives. We were accommodated at a missions base and bible school. Antonio is very interesting and charismatic. He did have many stories and we were also able to interview some of the students. However, he told us the real action is in █████. That is where we should go if we want to see Muslims meeting Jesus. We will have to visit his friend Limardes who is based there. So after only 5 days in Mocuba we were back on the bikes again heading to the bush…

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█████ seems like it is at the end of the world. It is in Niassa Province, the north western and most undeveloped part of Mozambique. This particular village is actually within the Niassa Wildlife Reserve. We arrived there after 4 days of tough riding to find many smiling faces waiting for us. Our host, Limardes, got us settled down and we entered into a week of life in rural Africa. It was really incredible to see the great effort and love that Limardes has poured into that community. There is a church of 30 strong in a village of 5000 people, the only indigenous church (apparently) in Niassa province. It is a really tough environment where people’s lives are controlled by witchcraft, fear and ancestral worship and everything covered by a veneer of Islam. But the light of the gospel is shining brightly in this place as people are seeing the love that Limardes has for them.


While we were in the village we helped to put a new roof on the church as well as repair a broken wall (which collapsed whilst repairing the roof…ironically). We were also able to interview Limardes, record some testimonies from his congregation, Jeff preached in church and even attended a local birthday party. But probably my highlight was going to meet and later interview the former chief imam (and witchdoctor) of the village and larger area. This man had apparently caused much trouble for Limardes when he arrived and strongly opposed the church. He was however sick and paralyzed for two years. It got to a point where things were really bad and his family was preparing for him to die. Many mussoma6witchdoctors had apparently tried to heal him but nothing happened. Then he got really desperate and sent his wife to call Limardes to come and pray for him. Limardes went there and told him he has to destroy all his witchcraft stuff. He agreed and all the stuff was destroyed. Limardes prayed and he was healed. He can walk and is in good health. Please continue to pray for this man. He is no longer involved in witchcraft and has been banned from being an imam. Although he is very friendly with the church and seems to believe what they preach, he still identifies as a Muslim.

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Our time in █████ had to end too and we were off to Pemba from there. We had planned to visit Iris Ministries but had apparently applied too late and they didn’t have space to accommodate us. We decided to go to Pemba anyway and see if we can be day visitors while camping at a local place. This worked out much better than we could have hoped. Jeff knows one of the long-term workers there and she met us and enquired after accommodation, which then turned out to be available. It was great. We could stay on the base after all.

Our time in Pemba was a little confusing. We were given the opportunity to go on outreach with Heidi Baker and possibly get an interview with her, but decided against it as we had an apparently great opportunity to film the Eid festival at the local mosque, which clashed. In the end, that fell through and we missed out on both opportunities. It was interesting that Jeff felt that God was saying he should not get too focused on including “famous” personalities in the film. God himself will grant success, not the appearance of some person. The message carries more weight than the person bringing it. Through all of this we had great opportunities to attend some harvest school sessions, learn a lot, spend time with God and we did lots of networking. We really met so many great people from all over the world that are interested in what we are doing and that blessed us with their prayers and company.

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From Pemba it was off to Ibo Island where we had another commercial engagement. I suppose that is full circle from Kuti. I’m not going to say anything about Ibo except that we worked VERY hard and please comment on the videos attached that were made there.

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Please keep us in your prayers as we are heading further north we are expecting things to get a little tougher. Pray for open doors, the right contacts and that we will stay walking close to God. Pray that we will have wisdom regarding which opportunities to pursue and which ones to let pass. Also please pray for all our hosts and friends mentioned in the blog, the Reinagels, Antonio, Limardes and Iris Ministries. Thank you to all of you for hosting us and making us feel welcomed and loved in your homes.


Finally, our car has been sold! Praise Jesus!