A day in Mozambique

What does a day hold at the Village of Joy? What possibilities are held waiting within today?

5:30 am // Morning light.I wake to my screened view of the sunrise. With twelve girls stacked snug in bunks around me I creep out of my mosquito net to make a coffee and wrap myself in a cozy hammock on the porch for a morning chat with Jesus. My King. This time with Him is priceless. Vision for today.

6:30am// Daily Bread.      The breakfast bell rings to gather twelve bread rolls at ‘The Bread Tree’ for my housemates.    We break bread, scrambling around for peanut butter, hair-brushes, water bottles, sunscreen, toothbrushes, tea. We tie capalanas while braiding hair, laughing, scratching bug bites and cracking jokes about our weird sleep patterns. Once a week each of us has an assigned laundry day. It’s best to get your laundry on the line first thing before the washline is filled to capacity.

 8:00 am // Harvest School Hut      Here we worship, here we grow. We are hungry to praise, we are hungry to be watered by our faithful leaders. Our attention never wanders. It is an honor to be taught in this place by planet shakers from across the world.

1:30 pm // Rice and Beans     The lunch line gets kind of crazy! But it is a time I won’t forget, socializing and laughing and trying to communicate in Portuguese. Sometimes the line takes over an hour for a bowl of rice and beans, but it never tasted so good. I am so excited when I get it! I think God made my stomach for this food 🙂

3:00 pm // Town Run // Back Porches   In the afternoons we have the opportunity to hear from special guest teachers on optional classes we call ‘back porch’. I have most enjoyed hearing from a visiting team from Scotland.         IMG_1629
If I am not in a back porch, we can go to town and get groceries at the local store or fruit and veg market. Apples and peanut butter are a treat and I make sure to get enough for the week.

4:00pm // Beaches IMG_2424
       Once or twice a week we have time to walk down to the beach. A walk in the beauty of the ungroomed sand is especially refreshing after working in the red dirt of the hot villages.

5:30 pm // Evening light      What a treat to see the sun rise and set everyday. The expanse and variety of the sky in Mozambique is one of my most favorite things I could write an entire post about. If I could only capture a photo of the night sky. I have never seen so many stars in such detail! The vastness of our Creators love for beauty is beyond my comprehension.

6:00 pm // Matapa vs. Fish Heads

You never can tell what you will find on your rice at dinner time. Hungrily making it to the end of the dinner line to face a blackened fish head was slightly not as satisfying as you might think. But the Mozambicans love it. So I embrace it. This is love.  If not fish, we are served a plant based sauce called Matapa. Matapa is basically ground up leaves cooked with some spices. It’s a bit gritty in texture because of the sand stuck to the leaves. Hopefully my intestines appreciate the scrubbing, my teeth are not as stoked.

9:00 pm // Bedtime! This bottom bunk has been my resting place the four weeks! With 12 girls in two bedrooms we have laughed and fought and cried and laughed some more. This is the place where true character is born. Sleeping here is not the most peaceful routine, with doors banging and shuffling and dropping stuff on eachother, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.

Josina Marchel Village

Yesterday was probably one of the most special and moving days of my life.

On Thursday, after my classes, I felt God whispering to go up, go up on the hill above base as far as I could.

I thought it was for the view, so I set off with just my music and a water bottle to go higher up.

When I got as far as I could I came to the gated entrance of the Iris school. I thought this is as far as I go, but the guard opened the gate and motioned for me to go on.

I went in and felt so at home, I walked into one of the classroom buildings and became so overwhelmed with Gods presence and the burning intensity of my own dream to build schools and what education means for this country. I couldn’t stay long as a few students started filtering into the room for class. I wiped my tears and tried to sneak out, as I didn’t want to be a disruption. –Sometimes seeing a white person around is quite the disruption.   I walked across the red dirt campus and stood by a tree to observe. Eventually three teenage boys walked over to say hi, and had lots of questions for me in broken English. (The kids who are in school get very excited to practice their English and are very curious about life in America.)

Surprised by their curiosity and polite conversation I stayed with them talking and trying to relate in our mixed languages. They told me they would receive their grades for the semester the next day and asked if I would come back for this. I was delighted by their eager faces and honored by their request. After getting permission from my house leaders, I joined the class the next day to receive their grades.   It was so special and I was very proud as the three of them received the best grades in the class. They have high goals and dreams of becoming a businessman, a doctor, and a biology teacher. After class, they asked if they could show me their village. I gathered four other girls from my house and met the boys at the gate for our adventure.

And what an adventure we had. I had asked Leonardo, the oldest to take us to meet his family. He warned me that his house was a far distance, but I assured him we were strong girls and were up for the walk. After all he does this walk twice a day it couldn’t be that bad.As we strolled through the village our eyes and hearts were gaping wide at the life and commotion held hidden in this culture we had ventured into.IMG_2019-0 We thought our student life in mud houses without running water — bucket showers and pit latrines was a sacrifice. While seeing the poverty and lifestyles of the village people, my humble accommodations seem like a palace. My daily meal of rice and beans is fit for kings.

We walked and talked about life and cultural differences with the boys. Leon taught us how they used different plants for nutrients and washing their skin. IMG_2004-0    IMG_1918-0Even in their poverty, there was a distinct difference between homes and the standard of living between neighborhoods.   We walked through tiny alleyways, crossed muddy streams filled with trash, traveled dusty red roads and the ‘long walk’ we started out on I realized was probably more than six miles one way to Leon’s house.       When we finally arrived to the house we were amazed by what we saw. As the only man in his family, he had built their humble home from bamboo and some scrap sheet metal. The bamboo was tied together by stripped rubber tires. Three people live in this room with a fire on the ground to cook their food. They have one battery powered lantern for Leon to study by and read their Bible at night.      They laid out straw mats for us to sit on outside and we played with the kids and rested and loved on them.  Their faith in God is beyond comparison. They are happy. They trust Him with everything. They have the greatest faith In Him to provide for their family day to day, for water, for food, for clothing, for protection.   What can separate us from the Love of God?

Even Leon’s friends, the other two boys who walked with us, were visiting his home for the first time and were amazed and grateful for their own humble homes close to school. They teased their friend about how he should get a motorcycle so he doesn’t have to walk so far every day.

We prayed for Leon and his family, asking for more of Gods presence and protection, His loving hand on them is so evident.

We left them with some food we had brought along, and continued to the homes of the two other boys.       What can separate us from the love of God?

Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes?
Your Heavenly Father knows ALL that you need. What can separate us from the love of God?

Shall trouble or hardship or persecution or famine or nakedness or danger or sword?

I am convinced that neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in ALL creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus.