First Impressions and Expectations

By Cillian O’Donovan

My first impressions of Mozambique immediately shattered my expectations in almost every way. Firstly when we landed we were greeted by heavy rain, anytime I thought of my first volunteering trip in Africa I always Imagined scorching heat. Then I was worried that the language and culture barrier would take away from my experience here, however I quickly realised that many things are universal, a thumbs up, a smile or a game of soccer are the same no matter there you are in the world. At the airport some students from the campus along with one of our leaders 37838916_1971496156247103_6431591544393826304_ngreeted us and we were all packed into a mini bus and driven through the city to Young Africa’s site. I wasn’t sure what I had expected for the actually campus itself but I was blown away by the quality of the departments here, from carpentry to metal work and cooking to construction the high standards really hold their own. One of my favourite experiences so far was visiting the Agricultural campus in Dondo, in our first visit there we had to pick up a lorry load of blocks to bring back to Beira campus so we could build three houses. Our journey was not without its trouble though as having such a heavy lorry travelling on mud roads meant we were bogged down in a few spots, once for about ten minutes and we only got moving again once several of us push started the lorry. Then to top it off we got a flat tyre and had to detour from the rest of the group to a small garage on the side of the road, but this detour allowed us to see parts of the city that we would have never seen which I really enjoyed. Overall my first experience of Mozambique is very positive and although there is places of extreme inequality and poverty you can really see the positive impact of our work here and how in the long term we can help to break the cycle of poverty.