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Saturday, January 5, 2013

Tchami Tchami [1/5]

It wasn’t until a month later that I realized how unprepared we were for our trip to Tchami Tchami.  PCV Emily later told me that she thought I was crazy.  Four PCVs, under the watchful eye of two guiding students, trekking 3 – 8 hours (depending on the information source) to a beach location that we were only moderately confident even existed.  Odds were against us.  I packed our overnight bag: four pieces of bread and four water bottles.  [Never let me plan your vacation]

We encountered mud in vast quantity.  It was like the Neverending Story’s Swamp of Sadness, just bigger and sadder.  “It’s because of the rain,” we were reminded every 10 – 12 minutes by our student guide, who we quickly discovered to be mentally handicapped.

Safiyya and I in the Swamp of Sadness

At last, we pushed through a thicket of mangrove trees and emerged on a sandy, coastal beach.  Sandy?  Coastal?  What beach isn’t sandy and coastal?  The last one Mozambicans told me about, which was actually a muddy riverbank.  Tchami tchami is populated only by father-son teams of crusader fishermen, catching as much as they can over the course of 3 – 4 weeks to then sell (dried and salted) back home.  Grass huts and teal fishing nets decorate the dunes.  Needless to say, it left me awed.

As expected (ie, hoped (ie, desired)) our student guide’s family gave us lodging.  But let me not understate their hospitality; they emptied out their hut for a night and built us a fire so that we could sleep there comfortably.  WHAT.  Our abode:

The rest of the evening was spent playing Marco Polo in the ocean with the team of 6 boys who had just been evicted from our new hut.  Marvelous sunset, chattin’ and snoozin’ on the beach with Emily.  Reason #10,000 for the reader to join the Peace Corps. 

Me with teammates Safiyya and Emily

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