We have been visiting different offices and people everyday trying to gather all the information we need to begin settling in Angola. We have been to banks, import companies, car dealerships, cell phone companies, church meetings, and surveying grocery stores. We have been pricing things and food and trying to get an idea of costs for daily life and needs here in Angola. Luanda (Angola’s capital) is officially the most expensive city in the world for expatriates for the 2nd year in a row. Most of the food staples here (flour, sugar, beans, rice, fresh produce) cost about 2 or 3 times what they do in the states. It is hard to get used to. And so difficult to believe that the average Angolan has to pay so much to simply eat. We are hoping that fresh foods will be less expensive in Huambo.
We are planning to move to Huambo sometime next week and are looking into transportation options.
We have learned our house in Huambo does not yet have running water or electricity (as we originally thought), but we are still excited to have a place to go. And it does have a well on the property, it is just a hand pump as there is no electricity. That should keep us busy.
Internet access is pretty expensive here, we are blessed to have some at our host’s home, but it may be a little more limited once we move.
Today we had a meeting with the church leaders that have invited us here. We went over our work contract and were warmly welcomed to join them in working in the kingdom of God. It was fun to compare our time together 3 years ago when everything was interpreted, to now when we can understand everything being said around us. Almost all the time. Thank goodness.
I am loving being here in Angola. It is still hard to believe sometimes that I live here now. But I like being able to say that I do. The church leaders told us today that now we are Angolans. It is exciting to be learning about the people and country that will be my new home for the next period of my life. The contrasts at times can be hard to reconcile. The fancy new buildings built with oil money right next to tumbling down apartment buildings with people living inside. The cafe serving 16 dollar hamburgers with hungry people right outside the door selling small items hoping they will make enough to buy something to eat today. It is hard to see sometimes.
We have been learning to navigate the local “bus” system. That has been entertaining. It goes something like this:
The streets are crowded with pedestrians and with cars. Many of the vehicles on the road are white and blue vans, many looking so old it is a wonder they are still running. They are usually packed full of people. The taxis or buses are usually 9-seater small vans. As they drive along a young man leans out the window calling out the bus’ final destination and looking for people who are flagging him down. When he sees someone who wants a ride, he bangs on the side of the van (he is usually hanging about halfway out the window trying to drum up business), the driver pulls over, the passenger jumps in, and then the van takes off again as the caller climbs back in the van. You never know exactly where the buses stop, you just have to ask people where to wait, or chase a van down. When you jump in you hand the driver the payment (which is always 100 kwanzas = 1 dollar). Then you tell the driver when you want off and they pull out of the traffic, you jump out, and they drive off. It is a very interesting experience, but you have to know where you are going. If we don’t, which is often, we just ask around until people can help us find the bus we need.
I included a photo of me, Katie and the kids waiting to get on our plan to Angola in the London airport, and the other is of the blue and white taxis we were passing on the road in Luanda.
Thank you all so much for the encouraging notes you have all sent me. I LOVE hearing from you and it always encourages me. I am sorry I haven’t gotten to reply to some of you yet, but just know that I am so thankful for your thoughts and prayers. Thank you for celebrating with me!
I am finally beginning my time in Angola!
Praise the Lord from whom all blessings flow! He has provided a smooth path and will continue to provide.