The last few days have been a wonderful whirlwind of reunions and catching up with Irish (and Manx!) friends who have worked in Mozambique. Red wine flowed, a lot of good food was consumed, and more words than it deserves were wasted on the mess that is Mozambique today.
It was wonderful to catch up with friends, some of whom I hadn’t been able to see for many years, and some of whom left when things were still hopeful and positive and we thought we were helping Mozambique build itself anew. It was a pretty intense week, but great to see everyone.
First of all we had a lovely relaxed weekend with my former boss down in Carlow and his wonderful wife and their amazingly all-grown-up kids. I kept wanting to come over all grandmotherly and say things like ‘wow haven’t you grown’. Instead we debated the pros and cons of Thailand as a holiday destination for 18-year olds, discussed university courses, and went to see the Paddington movie where the girls ate their bodyweight in pic and mix. Lauren had a wonderful time bonding with the ever-friendly Fletcher the dog, who had travelled all the way from Maputo with them when they left.
We also had a lovely night in Dublin catching up with Claire, Sive and Denise, as well as Claire’s daughter whom I hadn’t seen since she was Lauren’s age. She is now a fully-grown, articulate and lovely teenager.
We spent a wonderful day with Nicole and Thomas, who many of my Mozambique friends know; they are doing very well and Thomas is a delight. Nicole took us to the National Gallery – although we mainly ate cake and went to the shop rather than appreciating much of the art – then we enjoyed a tour of the Christmas lights and admired the Christmas tree in Grafton Street, before retiring to Andersons for supper and (yet more) red wine.
We also had lunch with Ruairi ‘the gaffer’ De Burca (so named by the guy on reception), back from Belfast to take on the no-less-challenging vagaries of Irish Aid.
More than anything, though, we got to spent some quality time with the lovely Denise, a true friend, wonderful host and much loved pseudo-aunt for Lauren. We usurped her room, abused her heating, made ample use of her washing machine, messed up her kitchen, flooded her bathroom, and she still got up before dawn to drive us to the airport.
Maybe she just wanted to make sure we made.that.plane!!!!