We woke early in the morning, anticipation of the day ahead clearing our foggy minds. We were finally going to visit orphan homes. The object of the day: serve with presence. The team was split into two groups, each going to a different home. My group, consisting of Jordyn, Emily and myself, went to the home of three teenagers and their grannie. We were left at the home with a translator and one instruction… “do whatever needs doing, help in any way you can”. After telling the grannie multiple times that we were there to work, not to visit, she began to assign us various tasks. At first we were a bit tentative to jump into the work, but we soon grew comfortable with the environment around us.
Our first chore was to ‘sweep’ the yard. After being handed brooms made of dead branches, we just stood there with absolutely no idea what to do. Our translator, Vasco, quickly realized we needed instruction and valiantly aided us with some much needed tips. I couldn’t help but laugh at my inability to adeptly accomplish a job usually given to children. Little did I know that sweeping the yard was just the preface of the very humbling day that lay in wait. Over the next hours we washed dishes, went to get water and pounded maize. By the time lunch rolled around my energy was gone and all I wanted to do was sit in the shade and never move again. We were given a break, and as we sat and talked with the people, I observed the women around me. They did work like this all day long, every day of their lives, yet they still had hope. They still had joy. Despite endless loses, they kept going. The women of Mozambique dedicate their existence to doing with excellence every task they are given, even the most menial. Those women have become my heroes. They have shown me what it means to be an African woman; a woman filled with strength in the midst of poverty. I will never know if I impacted their lives in any way, but I do know that they greatly changed mine. I will never forget the friends I made that day.
By: Maggie Meglich
We would like to share some stories from our time in Mozambique with SAM Ministries. Here is a story from our fist weekend here!
Pano! Pano!! Bolla Bolla Bolla!! Pano!!! GOOALOOOOOOOOOO!!!
(Pass, Pass, ball, ball, ball, pass! GOAL!!!!)
These were the shouts heard across the field as we kicked around the infamous ‘futball’. We were hosting the Orphan Christmas Party and figured playing a girls vs boys round of one of the children’s favourite games was a good way to start off the afternoon. So there I was, playing co-keeper with Beauty on my right and Mariamo on my left. Even though the girls team lost by a landslide, it was still fun and everyone was enjoying themselves.
After futball came a game of ball hockey and then water fun at Pastor Rick’s house. There was a pool, a slip’n’slide, and even some water balloons to be tossed around. Due to the fact that the lawn wasn’t overly slanted, I assigned myself the job of siting near the top of the slide and giving the kids a good ‘ol’ heave-ho’ to help them go faster. This was not as easy as you might think…. Yes, most of these kids were between the ages of 7-12. However, there were also a few 16-18 year olds in the group… These ‘kids’ were a lot harder to ‘heave-ho’ down the slide. As I struggled to push these ‘kids’ I heard that a few of the other children were laughing. Not in a mean way, but nevertheless finding me quite amusing.
I realized how, even though in my mind I was failing miserably and not being any help at all; everyone was still happy and still having a good time and that is what was ultimately important. So I want to encourage you that, even in the times when you feel like you aren’t at your best or failing at life all together, God can still use you in powerful ways.
After a week out of Canada, the Discover students transitioned to Mozambique to work with SAM Ministries. The journey took them from Johannesburg, South Africa to Tete, Mozambique, and a four hour drive to the Mucombezi region. The flight went very smoothly with only some questioning at the customs; yet they made it through safe and sound with all of their bags!
That week the Discover team aided Francisco, one of the orphan boys in mudding his home. Some of the steps were to find a termite mound, dig it up and bring it to the house to mix on the ground into mud. The reason they use termite soil is because of the clay like consistency and how well it sticks together. Once the mud is made they begin to through little mud balls at the house to cover the stick structure until no holes or spaces are left. After the whole outside is covered, they repeat the process on the inside. Lastly, they take regular soil and make it into mud to put on as a top coat to protect the house from erosion.
As the team was building alongside some of the SAM workers and Francisco they learned many things about the culture and how things are made from nature. The Mozambicans are very resourceful in the way they make things out of dirt, sticks and grass to provide a home for their families.
They really enjoyed pounding the dirt with their feet into mud! They also really enjoyed working beside some of the community ladies who came to help with the final layer of mud… They found out building a mud house is actually a woman’s job! So it was a very interesting experience for the team and the workers alike. It was just the start of learning Mozambican culture!
After a few days of culture and time adjustment, the Discover team spent a day and half on a safari. They were able to go to a park with many animals! However, sometimes this park is hard to see many of the big exciting animals. Yet this year was different!
On the first day alone, they saw a leopard, lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, warthogs, kudo, impala, rhino, hippos, and many more! It was quite the experience. When the group would talk about the animals they had not seen, then about ten minutes later they would see that particular animal! It was quite neat how they were able to see so many so quickly.
As well, as being on the safari, it was an enjoyable time of being in God’s creation, to see the beauty of His handiwork! Many times the team would ‘oohh’ and ‘ahh’ at the landscape of the area. It was a good reminder of the detail God put into creation – no one thing is the same!
Discover 2016 has traveled to South Africa on January 11-13 where they transitioned into Johannesburg. They spent their first day learning about the history of the country by visiting the Apartheid museum. Then the team visited a youth center outside of Johannesburg. They were able to participate in home visits and working with the youth – playing games and teaching songs! Some words to describe their experience so far would be: a blessing, educational, refreshing, awestruck, enlightening, transition, preparation and emotional! It has been an eye opening and stretching experience thus far!
Please keep the team in your prayers as they continue to adjust to the culture, locations, and prepare to minister more in Mozambique!
The arrival trip to Chimoio is an interesting story. After our crazy ordeal with the ferry and getting to the airport, we had to get ready to get on the plane. After check in, we were finally ready to get on the plane. However, the plane was not. It was still hour late. So after much waiting, we all got on the airplane. The plane could only hold 28 people. We took more than half of all those seats. It was a small two engine airplane. When we were finally flying, it was probably one of the bumpiest airplanes rides in the world. To me, the plane seem like it was struggling to just stay in the air. When we finally landed, it was by far the most happiest I have been. I wanted to kiss the ground. We later met with Dwight and Jacobo who worked for SAM. Dwight was the director of the SAM farm and Jacobo was the mission’s driver. He was a really nice guy and had the biggest smile. We loaded up everything and headed out. Going through the rural area and the bush was interesting. It was a huge contrast to South Africa when it came to markets and living conditions. After around the two hours or so we finally reach the mission farm. We started to go down a narrow road, and at first I wasn’t sure what to expect. But then we came up to the farming area and we saw so many workers. All of them smiled and waved at us. Then Kendi let us in to a little surprise. We were staying in the missionary houses. Everyone was so happy to see rooms, beds, and our own bathrooms. Everyone unpack, debrief and pass out.
Two days after arriving to the farm, Kendi came up to me telling me that Dwight and Andy want me to go with them for a flight. They want to go with one of the local pastors to do a survey on the flooding up north. After getting lunch and water for the trip, I hitch a ride on the back of the truck and went to the airport. We later took off and head north to the rivers. The scenery was amazing. We flew past and through many storms and went by a dormant volcano. We later started to see the flooded areas. It was truly amazing but saddened me. We could not figure out first where we were because we weren’t sure where the river was because it was so flooded. We later found an airstrip and one of the major bridges. Many houses were under water or gone. Major roads were also missing. A ferry that usually was in the area was gone. Some people were moving around in canoes and some people looked at us as we flew by. It was the first natural disaster in which I saw the full scale of. Later we start to fly back. On the way back we were looking for elephants. However, the bush was way too thick to see any. Over all that day it made me realize just the humanitarian need in Mozambique.
In our time in Mozambique we went to Chimoio a couple times. This was a time of relaxing and rental king for the next week. I always looked forward to this. I normally spent this time buying junk food for myself and taking in the scenery.
I also loved getting to observe and take part in the hustle and bustle of the city. It was all very different then where we were staying at the camp.
From shopping to eating, Chimoio treated us well!
Another part of the trips to the city I loved was the drive. Chimoio is a hour drive away from SAM ministries. Coming from Alberta where everything is so spread out and far away I forgot how much I missed simply sitting in a van and driving.
What I didn’t miss was sitting in a van while it was broken down.
On one occasion we were driving back from Chimoio and the van broke down in the city of Vanduzi. We were stuck. It was plus forty outside, and most of us had drank all our water thinking we were going back to the camp. So there we were. Forced to stand outside the van in the market and be nothing but something to stare at by the locals simply for our skin colour.
Although the whole situation was unfortunate, it was a great chance to be in their culture. We had the chance to walk around local markets and simply experience life in another part of the world.
It was a situation that I would have rather avoided but I’m thankful we experienced it.
While in Mozambique, we were given the opportunity to visit three different African churches in the community. This was an amazing experience and we all enjoyed it very much. Each Sunday morning, we would pile into the buckies and drive through the bush to a church you could hear before you could see. Everyone was so excited to see us and worship God. The church buildings themselves were very simple, and the people were beautiful!
My favourite part was the worship! There was no planned song rotation beforehand, but a song would be decided when someone started leading it. Everyone would start clapping and singing and rejoicing in the LORD. I was very thankful that each song only had a few lines, so we could pick them up fairly fast. Eventually, there would be dancing! Not just a wiggle here and a raise of hands there, but jumping and coordinated steps. At most of the churches we visited here would be a wooden pole in the middle of the church that we would hop around. As Discover, we like to call it the African hop. I have never sweated so much in church. When the girls would sit down on the matts afterwards and the guys on the chairs, sweat would be dripping down our legs, arms, and faces. Though we didn’t even care cause we were praising God!
For the service, members of our group would share their testimony and one person would share a message. There were moments of African prayer, where we all pray at once and then someone closes, and usually a time when people could come up and be prayed for individually. Even though we needed a translator to communicate, we were all approaching the same God to worship Him. People in our team often commented on how worshipping with the Mozambicans made them think of heaven, and how one day we will all be worshipping God together as one body. Can’t wait for that day 🙂
One of the few things we did the first week was painting at the school. The mission started a school for kids/teenagers, which runs from grades 1 to grade 7 and because this year their school started later in February, we decided it would be a good idea to clean up and do a little painting for them.
First we started with the library and the director’s house. For the director’s house, we first sanded the room before covering the inside with yellow. While we were painting, we noticed a tarantula on the wall. It was our first tarantula sighting in Mozambique but it ended very shortly when Navid decided it was a good idea to roll paint over it. The next day, we came back again to paint the outside of the house, but because the whole group teamed up to work on it, we were finished by the end of the day. We didn’t know how it would turn out but surprisingly it turned out really nice. The bottom half was brown and the top half was mustard yellow. The significance of the brown is based off of the colour of their dirt. If kids were to touch the walls with their (dirt)-y hands, (haha punny) it wouldn’t stain the paint.
The following weeks, we proceeded to go back to the school to paint. Our next project was the library. It was a bigger building and we had to paint three rooms. Our group started with the biggest and second biggest rooms. We finished our first coat of yellow paint before we preceded with the second- then the third. By the end of the week, we had finished painting the inside and the outside of the library.
There was one day when we all sacrificed Navid and Lia to paint up high in the rafters and we were all scared for their lives but they survived and did a really good job. We also got to spend a huge part of our time with two workers: Vasco and Revi whom we’ve all built a friendship with. The kids at the school were also really excited to see us. The second we got off the truck, every kid started asking us our names and every kid wanted to play with us and braid our hair. By the end of the trip, we had finished painting the director’s house, the entire library including the storage room and their blackboards and had built lasting friendships with all the workers we worked with at the school.
By Jen Jen
Throughout this trip we have worked in the fields, also known in Portuguese as the machambas, four times. The very first full day that we spent in Mozambique the morning was spent in the machamba. This was quite difficult because of the heat and the amount of energy it took to hoe the field and it was not something that we were used to doing every day. It was definitely for a good purpose though because this field belonged to a man named Manuel who is recovering from being hit by a car. His wife was having a hard time keeping up with the work so we got to help her do some catch up work. Despite the hardship this was a great learning experience, as many of us on this trip have never worked in a field before. This also benefited us in that we were able to see what life is like firsthand for people in Mozambique.
The second time we worked in the machamba was again at Manuel’s place just over a week later. It was great to see the progress we had made the week before as well as how much Lora, Manuel’s wife, was able to do in that week. This surprised me because she did about as much work in that time as we were able to do in one morning if not a bit more. It is crazy to see how hard people can work in Mozambique. This time the work was a bit less difficult for us as we knew how to hoe better as well as more of which plants to take out and which ones to leave in. We had improved a lot and were able to make better progress.
The third time that we worked in the machamba was different because we went to a couple of the orphan homes in separate groups. These fields were less grown in but still a good challenge. We would still take breaks every twenty minutes, but we were better at lasting longer and more used to the temperature and effects of the sun in this hemisphere. The group I was in with Kerstin, Joelle and Brett finished the field in no time and were able to hang out with the family afterwards, which was quite enjoyable.
The fourth and final time that we worked in the machamba was on our last working day in Mozambique. Half of us went to a widow’s field and the other half went back to Manuel’s field for the last time. This time we had our Swiss visitors, Matthais and Claudia, join us in the fields. Matthais went with the group to Manuel’s field and Claudia came with the group I was in to the widow’s field. We were able to help them learn what to take out and what to leave just like the workers from the farm, Vasco and Revy, taught when we first started. This was a cool experience being the ones who knew what we were doing and able to teach others. To spice up the work where my group was at, we got Revy to teach us a few of the Shona songs from devotions. It was quite fun for us to be able to sing with him and the widow while we helped to hoe the field. It also made time go faster, the heat and the work seem less strenuous for me because of it.
Overall, working in the machambas will definitely be one of my most treasured memories from this trip because of the impact we were able to make as well as the bonding with the Mozambiquan people that happened there.
By Janaya Preuter