Wrapped up.

•January 21, 2015 • Leave a Comment

A few months since my last blog and much has happened. School ended. My 2 year contract in Mozambique ended. I left Moz. Dubai with friends. Couple weeks in Japan. Holidays with the family.

Now the job search begins. My objective while job searching is to find a position where I will be able to combine my engineering research with my teaching experience in Mozambique to develop new tools/technologies for developing countries.

So if you have or know of any opportunities please don’t hesitate to shoot them my way.  ;-)

Photos here are just a compilation of the photos from the past few months. I’m not sure when my next adventure will be but when it happens I’ll be sure to post some pics on here. Until then, thanks for showing me much love on the blog.

-rh

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 Dubai

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Japan

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Parents with their Christmas gifts

 

 

Gold diggers & black smiths

•October 23, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Acácio, one of my best friends in Balama,  makes a 100 km round trip trek twice a year to visit his family. He has done this trip plenty of times with his wife… by foot… while carrying sacks of corn flour on their heads. Luckily for him, Plexus, the cotton company he works for, congratulated him with bicycle for his hard work this year.  This small token of appreciation from Plexus has completely transformed Acácio’s life.

I told Acácio that I would love to visit his family if he wouldn’t mind biking out there with me. His response ‘Okay, we’ll go this weekend’… so we began our trip that following weekend. His bicycle is a typical bicycle here in Mozambique. My bicycle is a nice Giant mountain bike, not typical here in Mozambique. So to not feel like a cheater during the trip, I refrained from using the gears on my bike.  Unbeknownst to me though, this trek had large uphill climbs since it was over a small mountain range. It was one heck of a workout.

Once we arrived to his family’s village, Nrasse, we spent about 2 hours going around to each family member’s home and doing introductions. No one in the village spoke Portuguese so I had to take the dust off the little Makua I know. Everyone had a good laugh at the ‘white’ guy speaking the local language.

We spent one morning with his brother in-laws, who make their living by digging for gold. The amount of effort these gentlemen put in to attain a small amount of gold is incredible. They work all morning and afternoon nibbling away with their pickaxe and shovel. I also spent time with the local blacksmiths who make tools for the whole village. From a knife, axe head, hoe, to fixing your pot… these guys did it all. Witnessing the brute force behind the tools was remarkable.

My trip to Nrasse to visit Acácio’s family was a trip that I don’t think either of us will ever forget. There are special moments in our lives that are forever engrained into brains and this trip was definitely an unforgettable experience. Many thanks to Acácio and his loving family for taking in this stranger (me) as one of their own.

Acácio and I before our journey.

Acácio and me before our journey.

And the journey begins.

And the journey begins.

Gold mine.

Gold mine.

Gold miner and his tools.

Gold miner and his tools.

Gold miners.

Gold miners.

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Diggin' for gold.

Diggin’ for gold.

Gold diggers.

Gold diggers.

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The hunter.

The hunter.

The hunter and his gatherers.

The hunter and his gatherers.

The blacksmith's work site.

The blacksmith’s work site.

Heating the coals.

Heating the coals.

Blacksmith striking an axe head into shape.

Blacksmith striking an axe head into shape.

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Ingenuity

Ingenuity

Children carrying bamboo.

Children carrying bamboo.

"Can I wear it?"

“Can I wear it?”

Kids love carrying my stuff.

Kids love carrying my stuff.

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Acácio's family

Acácio’s family

One Shot(s): In the Rush

•October 3, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Only a couple of months left in Mozambique. Dang did time fly! Now busy trying to find out what the heck I’ll be doing in 2015.  I have absolutely no idea what is going to happen after I turn the page on these past two years…. and I’m not going to lie, it freaks me out.

As of for now though I’m staying busy teaching and making sure I’m spending some good time with my loved ones here in Balama.

Hope you enjoy the captures. My blog from here on out will probably consist of ‘One Shots’ of my good friends/family in Mozambique from here on out.

rh

Angoche Day motorcycle races

Angoche Day motorcycle races

Boys drumming so the girls could dance.

Boys drumming so the girls could dance.

During my trip to India I bought my good friend's wife a sari. I was stoked to see that she was wearing it when I went over to visit!

During my trip to India I bought my good friend’s wife a sari. I was stoked to see that she was wearing it when I went over to visit!

Boys with their carved out masks.

Boys with their carved out masks.

I have no idea what's going on in the background.

I have no idea what’s going on in the background.

The computer, the headphones, the family pics, bygon. My friend's home away from home.

The computer, the headphones, the family pics, bygon. My friend’s home away from home.

Introducing the little one to her newest uncles and aunts.

Introducing the little one to her newest uncles and aunts.

Two sisters prepare dinner. One of the sisters stirs the xima while the other shines the light and keeps company.

Two sisters prepare dinner. One of the sisters stirs the xima while the other shines the light and keeps company.

Mozambican girls..... are badasses

Mozambican girls….. are badasses

 

 

Shetty’s wedding

•September 9, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I don’t even know how to begin here. Let’s take it a few months back when Shetty and I were having some drinks at the bar with some friends. A few jokes and a couple drinks in Shetty says ‘You guys should come to my wedding if you can’. My response ‘Don’t screw with me Shetty, I’ll go’.  And that’s how my trip to India began.

The day before the wedding Shetty was running all over the place…. as always (fact: Shetty’s head runs at approximately 2 light years an hour). So it’s no surprise that Shetty was still picking out a tie on the day before his wedding and as well as getting a haircut. Even though he might have seen he was doing as a chore, I asked asked to tag along to snap some photos. During the ‘chore trip’ is when he finally broke down the wedding schedule.

Shetty’s breakdown

Monday: Small reception, there will be a little drinking and dancing
Tuesday: Traditional family ceremony
Wednesday: Wedding ceremony in the morning and a reception  in the afternoon

What it really turned out to be:

‘Small reception, there will be a little drinking and dancing’
By small reception Shetty means around 200 people. By a little drinking Shetty means an open bar stocked full of Grey Goose and Black Label. Lastly by a little dancing Shetty means choreographed dances by parents, aunts, uncles, cousins, siblings and friends with the night ending by just having a huge dance party. It was nuts!

‘Traditional family ceremony’
I didn’t attend so I can’t really tell you what actually occurred but seeing how he downplayed the night before I’m assuming he was flown to a private island for a pedicure. Just sayin’.

‘Wedding ceremony’
The ceremony just left me speechless. Flowers leading up to the ballroom. Horns blaring horns announcing the brides arrival. Flowers braided in Harshita’s hair. Shetty looking like a king while playing with fire. Everything about it… Wow.

‘Reception in the afternoon’
I think the Staple’s Center was airlifted to Bangalore solely for this reception because this place was enormous. Over a 1000 people in attendance with an open bar and a buffet full of Indian food, Italian food, and desserts.

Needless to say, my mind just kept getting blown.

Shetty, muito obrigado for inviting me to your wedding and being a great host. Your 3 day wedding extravaganza has been by far one of my greatest experiences.

To anyone out there who has never been to an Indian wedding, if presented with the opportunity to attend… GO!

Parabéns Harshita and Sharath Shetty, I wish you both the best of luck!

-rh

 

After the wedding I decided to hopscotch around India for a bit before heading back to Mozambique… but that’ll be another blog.

*I was invited as a guest and not a photographer. During special unique events I try to refrain to use my camera to absorb the ‘moment’ as much as possible. As you can see though, there are just some moments that I had to permanently freeze.

 

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Makonde Bible

•July 30, 2014 • 3 Comments

The Bible is the most translated book in the world. Therefore, when Summer Institute of Linguistics (SIL) contacted me to see if I would be able to shoot in Mueda for the unveiling ceremony of the Bible translated in Makonde, I immediately jumped on the opportunity. Christian or not, the Makonde Bible, twenty years in the making, is a grand and historical event.

I invited my friend and colleague, Stephen Pope, as a second shooter for the event. Day 1 was the preparation for the feast after the event. Day 2 started with a gathering of many Makonde churches at one end of town which was proceeded with a march to the event stage at the other side of town. The day was filled with music, dancing and speakers from around the world. Lastly, Day 3 was the distribution of audio versions of the Bible in Makonde.

I strongly believe that self-education is one of the best means of learning. A Makonde will no longer have to depend on the words of others to find the meaning of the Bible. Now, the Makonde’s have a tool; a tool in which they will be able to read and discover what the words within it truly means to them.

There is a Makonde proverb that Serge Razafinjatoniary said during his speech.

“On day one, one is a guest. On day two, give him a hoe so he can work in the field.”

Quotes have many interpretations and I’ll leave you, the reader, to interpret this quote in your own way.

Many thanks to SIL for having invited me to be part of this grand event.

-rh

PS keep an eye out on Stephen Pope’s Blog for some of his pics from the event.

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One Shot(s)

•July 17, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I have an upcoming shoot in northern Cabo Deglado so today I decided to prep my gear and prep myself. I picked up my Baby Girl (aka my bicycle) and decided to go on a mini expedition within Balama. Below are 3 of today’s shots. Enjoy! -rh IMG_2546   IMG_2582   IMG_2549

Quick update: Girl power!

•June 5, 2014 • 1 Comment

Yep, I’m still alive.

Between the end of the trimester grading, testing and evaluations, these past couple of months have been tremendously busy. During the break I decided to take a trip to Ilha de Ibo, Pemba, then Ilha de Moçambique. It was such a wonderful and much needed break.

 

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While in Pemba I met up with several of the kids that would frequent my house in Balama and I took them to the beach.

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In Ilha de Moçambique I met up with a bunch of American friends to simply have a good ol’ time.
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Since the beginning of the year I’ve been coaching Balama’s basketball team but since they started remodeling the court we had to put practices on hold for a couple of months. During this break I wanted my girls to continue to become active in other ways than solely in athletics.

Side story.

Remember that young, beautiful, brilliant girl who shaved off my beard last year? Welp, during her summer between 8th and 9th grade she ended up getting married. During this school year I noticed something was off. She was hesitant to respond to questions, started missing a day here and there and then finally stopped showing up all together.

I finally mustered up the courage to go talk to ask her family what was going on, they nonchalantly said “She moved out when she got married and now she’s a few months pregnant.”

Wait what?!?!

My brightest student of fifteen years, Julianna, fell into the norms of Balama’s society. Menstruation here means that you are a woman that’s old enough to bare a family. It frustrates me, it bums me out, and it makes me feel defeated as a teacher. Not only Mozambique but this planet lost an intelligent future scientist.

Juliana’s story along with Julieta’s story made me realize that I had to do something more than just coach women’s basketball. I, along with my dedicated basketball player, Rábia, started a young women’s empowerment group.

In early May I was able to take four girls from Balama to a Raparigas em Desenvolvimento Educação e Saúde  (REDES) Conference. I told Rábia to bring her 3 girl friends were around her age.

So off we go to Monapo, Nampula for the conference. This was the first time any of my girls had left the province of Cabo Delgado. A few of the topics at the conference were: HIV/AIDS, malaria, safe sex practices, emotional and physical abuse, premature marriages, how to start a business, and many others. So now the conference ends… time to go home and forget everything your learned right?….. NOPE!

I told group of girls to come over to my house the following weekend to start our peanut butter business. We made a total of 7 kilograms  recently and every jar has been sold. The girls were stoked that this weird buttery thing made from peanuts would sell. From this peanut butter business aka Balama Butter we plan raise enough money to hold another smaller conference within our province in September. This will allow us to bring more girls into the mix.

Rábia, the 14 year old all-star, has taken up the task to teach all of the newcomers about what she learned during the conference. So every week at the end of our Balama Butter jam-out session Rábia has her own little session with the newbies.

I also make sure to talk to the parents about some of the topics we discuss to make sure they’re on board also and so far we seem to be on the same track.

 

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I may have been late with Juliana and I won’t get across to every girl in Balama but if what I’m doing gets across to some of my girls… man, I’ll be one proud fella.

So that’s why I’ve disappeared off the map. Between teaching physics, hanging out with the girls, and talking with their parents, nearly all of my time is taken up but I’m loving every second of it.😀

Impaka nihuku nikwawei! / Até outro dia! / Until another day!

-rh

PS I just found out they finished the basketball court…. Let the 4:30AM practices commence!