Joana is the project assistant, and her daily activities consist of the management of the day to day projects, supervision, evaluation and communication with the local partners. In April, she was in Mozambique, and as she settled in after an exciting trip she left us this witness of her days in the area.
In April this year, UPG gave me the opportunity to go to Mozambique and see with my own eyes, all the work that has been going on for almost 11 years, and for which I have contributed for almost 2. When we get away from Maputo and its confusion and we head ourselves there (“lááá”), Brother Hilário tells me with a smile “Now you will truly get to know Mozambique!” And I did.
I can’t quite explain well what it is to visit a place where where it feels we have been to already.
Coming into Escolinha do André and recognizing the patio that so regularly appears in pictures, where the boys and girls sit playing or eating.
Getting to Chongoene and recognizing the Church and the Mission. Entering Escolinha Flor da Infância Preschool or Escolinha Santa Catarina Preschool and seeing the wall that Sister Carol painted last year, or getting to know the teachers that Sister Margarida so much talked about and that by then I had only seen pictures of. Meeting the mothers that help us and that know all the children like they were all their own. Being welcomed by all as if they knew me for long, although they had just met me.
Ever since I started working at UPG, I always wondered how those places would be, and and tried to understand the daily difficulties of our technicians in collecting information that we constantly ask them for. Truly, you can only really understand when you are there living such reality.
I never thought that this trip would have such a positive impact. Maybe that is why I got so emotional right when I entered São Vicente and when the mothers welcomed us with open arms, traditional songs and an enormous feeling of gratitude. Or when I entered Santa Luísa and felt that all the effort that we made to finance the Feeding Programme or the Day Centre is recognized. Maybe that is why I felt my heart fill for every present i gave every child. Every time they hold my hand or touched my hair, or by simply playing with them.
Knowing Cleise, my goddaughter in the Chongoene Mission or Nelson my parents godson in São Vicente, was like getting to know part of the family and I couldn’t have been happier by seeing their look when I told them who I was. Going to Mozambique made everything make sense (more than it did before) and every day when I get up to go to UPG (even when it’s hard for me to wake up) I remember of the nearly 3 weeks I spent next to the people for whom I work for every day, and that probably all of them are already awake for at least 2 or 3 hours and that without even having breakfast, they have started yet another day.