Photography: sunset over church in Juazeiro do Norte, Ceara, Brazil

celebrating the 2000th Christian Year Jubilee

“The World That We Live In” has called: places we’ve discovered…

Life’s been busy – kids are back in school, which helps a lot, but also requires new planning, on a daily basis. Back to work. Already tired, believe it or not! In order to temporarily stop the madness, found Brooke‘s  (The World That We Live In) request for the State Dept Blog RoundUp. Theme:  “Favorite Places” – and in Brooke’s words: places you have discovered on your travels that you have loved or that have kept you sane in some way or another.

My favorite places? I hold Southern Africa in a very special place, really close to my heart, for several reasons: our first overseas experience as a family, the first encounter with a reality that I never assumed existed, in good and not so good ways; and my first experience as a single full-time working parent… All in all, great moments, which I’m sharing now:

We moved from Washington, DC to Maputo, Mozambique in October 2006, for a 2-yr hard-to-fill assignment. Our only child then, had just turned 1. Little did we know, I’d end up staying until Oct 2009 with our two children, honoring a work commitment – while husband had to return to DC – but this is probably a too long of a story, and I’ll leave it to another opportunity…

We were very fortunate to meet many different and attractive personalties, each one with an unique life story, with whom we share work experiences, concerns, happy moments. We did travel quite a bit throughout the country: for work and leisure. Visited all the ten provinces, bringing back home material mementos, as well as pictures we could have taken only with our hearts.

Catembe, Maputo

During our time in Southern Africa we also visited the neighboring Swaziland, a couple of times. Calming, relaxing, intriguing country. We got to attend the internationally famous Reed Dance, and were quite moved by it.

I couldn’t forget to mention another neighboring country, South Africa, birth place of our middle child, who’s now 3,5. Between safaris at Kruger Park, visits to the wine country and the cosmopolitan Cape Town, caravan trips with friends to Richard’s Bay, visits to avocado farms (and also med-evac flights!), South Africa was a sure choice for a delightful getaway…

A view of the tip of the continent
Kruger Park

Some people say that the sunset over African waters is almost like a poem… it might very well be!

But the best part of traveling and visiting places, is getting to know people, making true friends. I’m very grateful to the ones we met during our time in Africa, and the many more who’ll come along…

 

 

Friends are, in fact, the most special gift one could bring from any new place… Khanimambo!

Watching the sunset from the top of the Duna do Por-do-Sol

One of the few places in the world where the sand dune has its colors changed from beige to golden yellow and gradually to pink, in an emotional spectacle to the visitors.

Before this trip, the last time I’d enjoyed the sun set from the top of the Dune was in June 2001. Without knowing, I was sharing the moment with the one who would become my partner for life. Ten years later, the two of us went back to rescue that sunset we left behind. We succeeded… 😮

Sunset sequence at the Pedra Furada

This is one of the best known ‘postal cards’ of Ceara, Brazil. Jericoacoara is a beach located 300 km from Fortaleza, state of Ceara, in the municipality of Gijoca (Jijoca of Jericoacoara) – Until 1985 it was a simple fishermen village, without electricity, roads, telephone or television, lost in between immense white dunes and completely isolated from the rest of the world, until the tourism discovered it and year ’round, explorers come from all parts of the globe to witness this unique event – the sun setting through the rock’s opening. My husband and I tried to capture it:

Enjoying the last moments before sunset…

…and saying ‘Goodbye’to the Pedra Furada.