By Isabel Morrissey
I am currently two weeks in to my four week experience of volunteering with SERVE in Mozambique. It is the halfway point, yet there are still new things each day I’m learning, shocked by and impressed by. One of the main things that shocked and amazed me since the moment our plane landed on Mozambique soul is the people living here in Beira and their way of life.
Each morning we leave our houses we are greeted with welcoming warm smiles or a “Bon dia” from all the locals and students of Young Africa. They are some of the nicest individuals I have ever met even with the difficult language barrier. Working alongside Young Africa students has taught me many things, first of all that even though I may speak very little Portuguese and they may have very little English, we can work together and teach one another while still having a laugh.
And although we come from very different backgrounds we can still bond through similar interests such as sports, music or hobbies. Music is a huge aspect of everyday Mozambican life, everywhere we go we are sure to hear music playing in the background, it brings people so much whether it is upbeat dance music or the religious Gospel music. All of the kids we’ve met have almost embarrassed us by proving how bad we are at dancing, even the smallest 3 year olds have the best moves.
The people living here are also some of the most innovative and determined individuals I have ever come across. There is never any doubt that they will find a creative way to overcome any obstacles we may come across while working together in construction. The lack of tools and materials is overcompensated by their determination, they have multi-uses for each tool, even old wire can be used again and again. I’ve also witnessed this innovation watching the local kids play, for example a football made with lots of plastic bags bundled together and then tied with string can provide endless entertainment.
Before I came to to Beira, Mozambique I expected to be upset about what I would see, I’ve since realised that being upset is no help as the people living here are not upset but in fact happy with what they have. What is upsetting is seeing first hand the devastating effects of Cyclone Idai on Mozambique, it took so much from of people who did not have much before it. Yet the people of Mozambique carry on going day to day and do not let it set them back, they focus on what is most important to them like education and that can be seen in every student of Young Africa. Young Africa still continue to open new doors for vulnerable young adults living in Beira, it is clear that besides the physical damages it caused, Cyclone Idai has not impeded the progress Young Africa is making, each day new projects are being worked on, for example a new first-aid and counselling clinic being open on the grounds of Young Africa in Dondo. I’m sure it will continue to progress each year mainly due to the hardwork of the students, staff and of course the SERVE volunteers each year.