Arsenal Gap Year Part 1 - GDM Club. Manica, Mozambique travel blog

Woke late to a free day, after pulverising the snooze button we eventually went to the bakers and did the business with our 60 meticals (approx £1.20). Had breakfast and while chatting discovered that Ruben wanted to take us church, so us being a couple of open minded lads in a foreign country not wanting to cause offence duly obliged and accepted his offer. After getting ready with the compulsory cold shower we donned our Sunday best and headed off to church ready for a 10 o'clock start.

Journey to Jesus

Walking round the back streets we passed a business men’s bank on our left which was next door to a concrete shell of a building. Fernando (real name Chandulia but he thinks it's easier for mzungus to call him Fernando) told us it was going to be either a hotel or restaurant. The church was not the building we thought it was going to be, but a spotless yellow building perched on top of the hill. We entered to find Nelson (Mr Mann) was one of the pastors and everyone was warm, friendly and smiling creating a right welcoming atmosphere.

The service began with an all action singing and dancing procession first by kids then by teenagers then men and culminating with females. Luckily for us Mr Mann helped translate the service into English (I say luckily but 2 hours of hearing the word of God is enough for even the holiest person). It was interesting to note that the head/chief pastor was giving the service in Portuguese while he had an assistant, next to him, who translated in Shona (the local dialect). The head pastor then asked for any 'first timers' to stand up and tell the congregation their name and where they're from. In classic 'foot in mouth' style I was first up (setting the standard) and said 'my name is Adam and I'm from Arsenal, London.' I should've followed it with Nooooooot what a complete fabrication, Arsenal isn't even a place in London, although give me some credit it is a tube station. Anyway we swiftly moved onto the preaching and bible reading section of the service followed by the praying part which rocked our senses to say the least!

The strangest bit was when Ruben turned round got on his knees and adopted a prayer position on the chair with his head touching the seat. So after a nervous 'should we be doing that?' sort of glance at each other Drew and me respectfully copied. Now this doesn't sound too weird but add in the fact that people were physically shaking, crying, shouting and generally whipping themselves up into a frenzy you basically have a scene from 'one who flew over the cuckoo's nest.' To carry on the movie theme when I later told my family about it on Skype my actual words were 'it was like a scene from Borat!'

The whole service was 2 hours long and if my skinny jeans weren't soaked with excitement before hand, they were definitely drenched with sweat after. I make no apologies that's what 2 hours sitting, kneeling, standing, posturing in skinny jeans in 30°C plus heat will do to you.

It was an amazing experience and one I’d really recommend, probably the best service I’ve been to in my life. We walked back with Ruben, Fernando and a few of their friends from church.

Life's Hard

We chilled out for the rest of the day watching a bumper selection of Premier league football which the sports channels are amazing at picking up - they have nearly every match on and regular highlights! After this royal feast of football it was time for an actual feast... dinner.

For dinner we had Mama’s speciality sudza with fish and a cheeky side salad.

Highlight of the night goes to Skype (round of applause please). After having a cracking catch up with our wife swap companions Oggy and Steve (who are doing what we're doing but in Kenya) I managed to get in touch with the family.

Zambo the Snake Charmer

Another highlight was the snake skirmish where our very own Zambo did his best impression of Steve Irwin (RIP) but then, unlike the great man, smashed the snake's head in with a mop. We were laughing our heads off the words 'comedy gold' come to mind. At this point for all you animal rights people out there I'd like to say I love animals and am not responsible for Zambo's actions, but the series of events was pretty hilarious.

We then went to bed ready for next morning's training session safe in the knowledge that Zambo was outside and lethal with a mop.

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