Learning with an entire people
Letter to Friends around the World # 83

Elisabeth S. has been living in Mozambique since 2009. She also lived there between 1996 and 1999. She works at the Fonte-Boa Mission, located in the centre of Mozambique. It is a fertile region, but because of the farmers' isolation, the people are very poor.

We get the impression everything remains to be done here. Over the last 10 years we have seen regression rather than progress. This is very sad. The people are very poor, friendly and hospitable.

At the Mission, they have access to schooling. For example, there are lessons in Portuguese, in classrooms containing sixty or so teenagers, all very well brought up and disciplined.

There are also other actions:

- There is a study room, a quiet place where pupils can study, do their homework, learn to use a computer and watch films.

- The computers are donated and sent by friends from Portugal.

- The drawing competition is a huge success. Many children and young people show their wonderful drawings, expressing their dreams, talent and imagination.

- In the sewing lessons, the girls make handbags, jackets and other garments that they are proud and happy to wear. This helps them overcome problems in their personal and family lives, and emotional problems too.

- The primary school is attended by 20 very poor children aged 3 to 10. These children really deserve to be cared for, they are adorable and attentive. At Christmas, a crib and a tree are put up with everybody's help, and we organise a tea party, presents, a film and ... 5 Father Christmases!

- There is also another project which occupies us throughout the year: the Education Grants for Young Women, to enable them to benefit from higher education. We have 13 grant holders. This means organising meetings with them, communicating every day by e-mail, and above all being present when they experience difficulties. Last year all of the grant holders passed the exam! This is a source of great joy; they will be able to help build a better informed and fairer society, with greater capacities.

I am very happy to serve and to learn with these people, both the little ones and the elders whom I meet as I walk along the endless roads of this country.

Elizabeth S., Mozambique