30 November 2009

oven building finished!

Just when I thought the day would never arrive, the oven has its insulating outer wall and now a proper roof that doesn't actually look like a shack. Actually... it might still look like a shack to some of you but around here its a proper solid roof! I'll try and get some pics of it up tomorrow.

More good news arrived in the form of the local electricity authority to install my now long delayed meter box. I keep thinking I need to buy credit to top it up (it works on a pay as you go system) but as I only have 2 lights in the whole place and no appliances my electrical usage is incredibly low. I guess that makes up for the fact that I burn wood all day in the oven - not the most environmentally friendly operation some of you might think!

I have posted a pic of the new adopted monkey on my shoulder. He still doesn't have a name although "Mango" has been suggested but doesn't seem to have caught on. For now he's just known as "Monkey!"

25 November 2009

Roof Views

I've been up painting on the roof recently, what a view! If you look carefully on the photo (above left) you can see the bakery in the back ground behind the horse paddocks, and the bungalow I stay in is behind the trees to the left.


24 November 2009

Strangers in the night

There I was on Sunday night, just climbed into bed with a book when this strange sound came around our bungalow.

Chug chug chug bang! chug chug chug bang!

Now I know our vehicles have their problems but this wasn't the sound of one of them, Oh great! I thought, I'll have to get up and see who it is. But then I decided against it, the noise stopped, my phone didn't ring so I presumed all was well.

Upon waking up in the morning my house mate said "there's a surprise for you by the office", "yay, did you find me a wife?" I asked. "No" was the unfortunate answer but from my vantage point of our front step I could see someone moving in the bushes. A bit odd, then I realised they were relieving themselves! Having now to investigate I found the source of the strange noises the previous night.

Is it a bird? is it a plane? no, its a Volkswagen combi with a caravan on the back and two antennae s with lights on top, painted as a purple snail! could things get any more strange? Turns out they were friends and family of some people we know and needed a place to stay for the night. The more the merrier :)

22 November 2009

Medical Aid

The small number of us on the farm right now has seen me take over the duties of "medicine boy", doling out paracetamols and antibiotics after meals etc. as well as a plaster here and there. This afternoon had me tending to a black eye and split cheek of someone who came out on the losing side of a small 'disagreement'. A little more serious than the usual headaches and thorn scratches but not as bad as last weeks almost severed arm - lesson there being don't play with meat clevers!

Even the animals have been going through the wars, we've had one dog almost strangled in a snare (it was so close to dying it burst blood vessels in its eye!). One baby cow abandoned by its mother and nursed by the girls (unfortunately didn't make it through the night). Two goats dead from snake bites and this evening someone brought in a baby monkey to be looked after. Baby monkeys will drink formula baby milk powder so last I heard the guys were looking for a baby's bottle they can use for feeding. Of course the monkey is very cute now but give it a few months and it will be stealing everything in our room, this isn't the first one to be looked after here so I can speak from experience!

20 November 2009

Things to do...

...When its been raining for the last 4 days solid... well make a swimming pool out of a puddle of course, complete with a little ladder to dive off.
Yes we are suffering from a touch of cabin fever!
The rain is however great for the rice we planted two weeks ago. Not having to use the diesel pump to pump water has saved us big bucks in diesel expenses.

Fortunately for the Bakery the work on the oven now has the temporary roof covering and insulation so we're not losing too much heat in the oven. I even made some rusks  (see recipe here) yesterday which turned out great and didn't actually look like burnt muffins this time, that's because A) they didn't get burnt... and B) I found a small baking tray on which to cook them.
Not a great week for sales so far though as we're down to one car again and its not always available for me to borrow and transport breads to Bela Vista for Alfonso's wife to sell. Anyone have a spare bakkie/truck lying around they don't need!?

18 November 2009

A Better Place

Don't we all wish we lived in a better place?! well the aptly named betterplace.org website aims to match up worthy causes with sponsors. Of course I think the bakery is a worthy cause so if you're interested please check out: MozBak @ Betterplace.org

16 November 2009

Night life...

Unfortunately the night life here in this neck of the bush isn't quite up to the standards of a London, New York, or Cape Town so we have to make our own plan. Usually consisting of coffee drinking, chatting and/or watching movies. Not the greatest I know but I do have a thing for movies so can be quite easily entertained if a good one is on the box. Saturday saw one of my favourite moves on TV, a bit late for this place, only starting at 10:30pm. With my luck being what it has been of late I only got to see 45mins before duty called and I had to take a friend to hospital for some emergency stitches. I say hospital but it is actually much more like a clinic. 3 hours later after the use of one very blunt needle and a bit of screaming all was finished but I only ended up getting 3 hours of sleep... Bring on December 22nd and my first full day off in 6 months!

Have posted a couple of pictures of our puppies, which are unfortunately being given new homes this week...

13 November 2009

wet and wild...

Last night saw us getting 40mm of rain during the night, the most we've had so far this summer. I can now say summer as it is bloody hot! You know its hot when you wake up perspiring. One of course wouldn't be perspiring if the fan stayed on all night but the thunder storm caused our electrical transformer to malfunction and cut the power. No power also equals no water as the pump cannot pump from the borehole. So my day started hot, sweaty, no power and no water.

During the rains one of my female (why is it always the girls?) colleagues encountered a baby puff adder (poisonous snake) blocking the path to her house. Fortunately I didn't have to catch it but I did come along with the camera."This is something for the blog!" I called as I raced to the scene behind the tails of our resident snake expert. It was indeed only a baby but apparently they are more deadly as have yet to learn how to properly control the release of their venom when they bite something/someone... not sure if that's just an old wives tale though... Still its a beautiful creature.

12 November 2009

oven update

Just a quick pic to show you how things are progressing on the oven. Its been likened to entombing the structure. heat loss prevention looking good so far. Hope to have more details later today...

9 November 2009

glorious monday's

The beginning of another enthralling week here in the bush. We've punched through the 10 thousand sales mark (10944 and counting) and still waiting for the electricity box to be installed. With regards to the electricity meter, I thought we might actually be getting somewhere when a van from the local electricity authority arrived, complete with six uniformed workers, wires, new boxes, a tall ladder etc. Anyway they took a good look then said they'd be back 'later'. This is Mozambique so I don't have my hopes too high but its now 4 days later and no sign of them... Perhaps a polite phone call would do the trick... If only I spoke Portuguese...

Luck doesn't seem to be on my side of late, as I had two flat tyres on the same vehicle on Friday. The first time the wheel with the flat tyre wouldn't come off the car, some fancy 'security' feature I thought. So we tried everything, handbrake off, ignition on, ignition off, twist this way, twist the other way. Still no luck.... eventually with my pride in my pocket I phoned my friend, the cars owner, and asked if there was any 'special way' to remove the tyre. "Climb under the car - which is jacked up - and kick the tyre off from the inside" wasn't the answer I was expecting, dangerous is the word that springs to mind. Luckily I had the bakers helping me although they insisted on telling me "see! it does have anti-theft"...

6 November 2009


A good feeling today, we have passed the 10,000 breads sale mark! Woohoo! Currently sitting on sales of 10,364. Well actually someone just came in wanting another 4 but I have to find change somewhere....

The oven outer walls are progressing. Ready now for the concrete support ring beam then we can carry on taking the walls upwards.

Photos to the left show the master builder Rungu and his apprentice Jaime

4 November 2009

'Shocking' update

Those that follow my updates will have heard the previous news about the installation of an electricity meter box. Simple enough, pay your money (quite a lot) and they come and install it. So I happened to be discussing it with the bakers and they told me they only paid 1600 Mt to have a box installed at their houses, they are charging me 5915 Mt!. "Must be because you're white" they said, this wouldn't surprise me but I did have a bit more faith in people. Off to the electricity department i went this morning to collect my papers for the box and of course the question came to mind;

Andy -"how come I'm being charged more than 3 times what everyone else is?"
Electricity Guy (E.G.) - "you're box is more than 40 metres from the transformer"
Andy - "so I need to pay for the extra wire?"
EG - "Yes"
Andy - "But I already have the wire installed, the electricity works fine now, I just need the box"
EG - "but where did you get the wire from?"
Andy - " you guys sold it to me 8 months ago"
EG - "ah but we have no record, it must have been an illegal sale, so we must charge you for it..."

I left it at that, no point fighting a lost cause, but its pretty upsetting when you're trying to do something for the community and people just take advantage...

Just to show all is not depressing out here in the bush, I have posted a picture of one of the new horses that we are stabling on the farm, a young foal called Abby. I'm not much of a horsey person but she does look cute.

3 November 2009

Good Intentions

This was the week that I was to make good on a lot of the maintenance work I still had outstanding, and just generally commit more time to the Bakery. So far things are going well. The electricity meter box is being sorted out as we speak, although I mean paid for, who knows when they'll actually get around to installing it!

The photo's show (from top to bottom): tiling in the kitchen, the outer oven wall going up - and the dodgy temporary roof! and the last one is my 'construction work force' taking yet another break. No one can quite work out how many breaks they are supposed to have, but every time I see them it appears they're not working. Something not right there, but I don't think this a problem unique to Mozambique!

Tomorrow I'm looking to surpass the 10,000 bread sales mark. Will be quite an achievement. Perhaps we should have a little party or something!?

2 November 2009

Sales up... again!

Another week and another one of my little graphs. Sorry but I just can't help myself as they just seem to be heading in one direction at the moment...up!

The graph above shows the weekly cash sales for each of the 9 weeks since we started baking. As you can see the last 2 weeks where we started selling much more bread in Bela Vista have given the graph a nice spike :)