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Snakes, Smells and Saurimo Barras


We took a stroll down Saurimo market today to try and get a feel for what life in Angola is like for the average citizen. Wow! The sights, sounds and smells that greeted us were incredible. Stalls with everything from caterpillars to weird and wonderful varieties of fish - and goats being slaughtered to order. The Angolans we met were keen to interact with us and with the two Ruths as guides we felt comfortable with the banter – a bit like the Glasgow Barras in the heat! At one point someone even offered to buy David (The Translator)...but we couldn’t find any use for two camels (Sorry Ruth B!).

Once back in Camundambala we were met by a group of kids who had killed a three foot long snake by skewering it with a stick. We took some photos, wishing they were of a live snake, then one of the kids took the snake and chased the younger ones down the track screaming. Earlier in the day we witnessed some other kids throwing stones into a tree at a bird. They chased it from tree to tree before downing it in a hail of rocks and proudly showing their trophy to Jim, who felt sorry for the poor wee creature. However, that’s the way of things around here, life’s all about survival. That sparrow-sized bird is now a small meal.

Unfortunately, this will be the last blog until Wednesday, as tomorrow afternoon we head south for Luma and Beaula. So here’s something to chew over in the meantime: We like Jackie’s idea of a nickname poll for Jim and Gareth. Therefore, we need you blog-followers to suggest something JCB- related for Jim and something volleyball-related for Gareth. We’ll look at all suggestions on our return and decide on the winning monicker. There will be a prize for the winners.

By the way, it’s just been brought to our attention that The Translator got the spelling of Thiago’s name wrong, so from now on it’s Tiago.

We’ll leave you with this: this morning Jamie (Tiago) reminded us that God made us alive in Christ Jesus, forgave us our sins and took away the written code of the law by nailing it to the cross. Made alive through our Saviour’s death, we owe everything to Him who gave everything for us.

As we drove from one market to the other Ruth Hadley spoke about the tough living conditions in Angola. A large town in the east of the country surrounded by slums and shantytowns, with no running water, crazy traffic and a culture of witchcraft. And then she said “Once you’re here, you wouldn’t be anywhere else. It’s clear she has a real heart for the Angolan people.

“My sin Oh the bliss of this glorious thought
My sin not in part but the whole
Is nailed to his cross and I bear it no more
Praise the lord praise the lord o my soul”

The Beckster.