Journal Entry Day 4

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Today began very early, at 0530. For all three of us it was a night with little sleep because it was extremely hot in our room and most of the other guests in the house were awake and preparing for the day by 0530. The guesthouse is very full because of the large number of women who are attending the Women’s conference. We have a room with three beds, and a window that opens into another guest’s room, so we keep it closed for their privacy. That means the cooler air from outside, the nice ocean breeze, does not reach our interior room. We were graciously given a fan to help reduce the heat – but the electricity was out for a very long period last night. After dinner we lost power for a few short spurts, but it was a significant length of time in the middle of the night. We could only contemplate sleeping on the cool tile floors for relief from the heat – until memories of the gigantic cockroach that fell out of my mosquito net kept us safely in our beds. Sleeping under the mosquito nets increased our heat level and we all awoke soaked with sweat. Thank the Good Lord that the electricity did return before morning so that we would be able to take a shower. With great gratitude we took the coldest possible showers and felt refreshed.

Following breakfast at the guesthouse we headed with our driver (motorista), Telmo, to visit the orphanage in Cambine. Cambine is a UMC stronghold. The UMC has been there for a very long time and there is a school and an orphanage.

We were greeted by the director, Marivela, and she was assisted in translation by a resident named Elias. He is now grown and in his second year of university. He is studying business agriculture. Once the orphans are over 18 they have a special dorm they are allowed to live in until they finish school and get jobs. Some of the ones who are looking for work assist with the care for the younger boys. There are currently 64 orphans living there. 11 of them are between the ages of 2 and 6 and live in dorms with women who are hired to stay with them at night. One woman sleeps in a room with 4 cribs. She works 15 days and then takes 15 days off, so there are two “mama’s” who work with each group per room. The children 7-18 stay in a dorm with no adult overnight. There is one dorm for the boys and one for the girls. There are many more boys than girls. The director showed us the very beginnings of two new buildings. They will become more dorm space that will allow a “mama” (a hired worker) to stay with 8 older children and provide some supervision at night. She was also very proud to show us a building they are just finishing up that will be the garage for their vehicle, have a bay for storage of food items, and a bay for storage of school supplies and other dry goods.

The orphanage bakes bread and sells the extra at the market.

There are some German missionary groups who are working to get this project completed. We delivered some t-shirts and personal care items (toothpaste, toothbrushes, washcloths, etc.) as well as some fun stickers and other items for the kids.

Following our tour we asked our driver to take us through the rest of the Cambine mission in order to see the seminary and other mission buildings.

Our driver doesn’t speak English but he did a great job giving us a tour. At one point he stopped our bus and said, “vamos” (let’s go). We wandered a bit looking for something, but I wasn’t sure exactly what he was trying to show us. Finally, we found what he was hoping to show up – some of their livestock that is part of the agri-business training. We found a “porka” who was happy to oink for a picture.

Our guide took us back to the town of Maxixie so that we could buy some water, and some Capulana fabric. In the fabric store they sold other goods included a fan. We happily spent 550 MMZN (less than $20) with the hope that our room would be slightly cooler with two fans running…assuming the electricity holds out for the night.

On our way out of town we noticed Chris, the team leader for the Missouri UMVIM team, getting out of Maiza’s car. We pulled over and stopped to chat. We ended up going into a second fabric store which has a different variety of fabrics. We agreed to go back to Cambine that night to be their guests at dinner at Maiza’s house.

Finally, we headed back to Chicuque for lunch at the guest house. Following lunch we were able to meet up with Julio to deliver his new laptop backpack (a gift from Nancy Forrest) and he was absolutely ecstatic to receive such an excellent bag that will be a great help to him. Julio serves as the Director of the Cabine Mission AND the Cambine Bible College…as well as being a PhD student through distance learning with a South African University and being the father to three girls.

Shortly after lunch we were able to meet with Klaus Francas to see if he could solve our problem connecting to the internet on our netbook. Our SIM card was expired, but a new SIM card didn’t correct the problem, so he took our device home in order to try on his home computer.

We briefly met his father, Jeremias, who is the Director of the Hospital in Chicuque. We will be stopping by the hospital in a few days in order to deliver some hand knit baby blankets and hats for newborns.

Next we went to the Chicuque Church in order to meet the Bishop and present her with our gift on behalf of Bishop Cho and the Virginia Annual Conference. We presented her with a Portuguese edition of Ruben Job’s “Three Simple Rules” and she was very excited to receive that. She only had an English version of that book. We also gave her a beautiful hand-made necklace and earring set made by a member of Lisa’s church. I know the Bishop looks forward to wearing it.

The Bishop was attending the women’s conference being held in Chicuque. It is the annual gathering of the United Methodist Women of the southern conference. The UMW women here wear a special uniform to signify that they are members of the women’s society. It is a maroon outfit with a white head covering. It takes one year of “provisional” status before you can become a full member of the women’s society. The women must show that they are growing Christians, and take their faith seriously. The women’s society has a focus on mission, and it also tries to help educate the members.

There were three women visiting from the South Africa UMW organization. South Africa just became a full annual conference in August, and Bishop Nhanala supervises that episcopal area as well. The three women from South Africa wore similar uniforms, but with two differences. They had an additional white color, and a special pin to signify that they are United Methodist. There seem to be clear distinctions between the different branches of the Methodist family within South Africa. These women were very proud that they were UNITED Methodists, not simply Methodists or Free Methodists, or other form of Methodists. We were not able to discuss this interesting discovery much more with them, but I would have loved to learn more about this significance.

-Sarah

We drove to Massinga. To the elderly widows community. These are women who have been bast out by their families following the death of their husbands Most have been accused of being witches and sent away. They have a village built the church. They care for each other there and have created family among themselves. Yet they grieve. Their spiritual needs are taken care of by their pastor who spends much time with them there. In February one of the women after weeping all day and refusing to say why she was sad, took a rope and hung herself from a tree on the outskirts of the village. So much is their sadness. Most of them have been accused of witchcraft by their own children. The church cares for these women and have recently built them new homes. The ones they were living in were made of grass. These new ones are brick. The problem with their old homes was that in the cold times of the year they would want to dig fires into the ground inside the hut so they could stay warm, but this meant they were at risk for the whole hut to burn down. This was dangerous because many of them are unable to move quickly or unable to walk on their own, and could be trapped easily and the grass huts burn so quickly this was a big problem. The new houses have cement floors and walls and windows, so they are more temperate and safe from the elements. Also in the new houses they have beds with mosquito netting. This is a big improvements from the grass mats they used to sleep upon. There is also a common room with a table and storage for dishes. They cook their meals on the fires outside and in the good weather eat outside. They had some chickens, a few goats, and a pig. They are also trying to farm the land around them. The area where they are located has been in a severe drought the last two years. The church has given them a well and a mill to hand grind their grain. The church has had to create such a place of safety and care because the accusation of witchcraft is common for elderly widows in Mozambique. The Bishop told us there is a government funded community in Massinga as well, but when official visitors and dignitaries comes they take them to see the UMC center for widows because ours is much better equipped and the women are well cared for.

The church cares for these women, but there are others in other provinces because it is not uncommon for elderly women to be accused of witchcraft. They are not able to produce and contribute financially to their families. They are seen as a burden. This is complicated by the poverty following the civil war and a lack of rain which has created agricultural hardships throughout the south.

The Bishop reflected on the deeper issues and problems…When a woman marries she becomes part of her husband’s family. After he dies the family may choose to disown her, accusing her of witchcraft and casting her away. The Bishop acknowledged that the woman could try to fight for property rights to her husband’s property, but in this culture it is patriarchal and it is better for the church to approach this problem in a different way. Instead of the church fighting for the woman’s right to the problem, the church tries to remind the family that the woman belongs to their family and community and they have responsibilities to care for her because she is a part of their family.

The Bishop has a wise and deep understanding of the cultural traditions and challenges that they bring, and wants the church to be respecting of tradition while teaching and preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ.

Dinner with Chris and team at Cambine. Interesting to talk with them about their experiences. They have been multiple times. Christ 5 times in the last 5 years. Interesting to hear reflections about how things have changed and gotten better in the last few years. It was a blessing to share a meal with other missionaries. Two of the missionaries are getting married here in Mozambique while on the mission trip, and it is a surprise for the bride!

– Lisa

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One Response to Journal Entry Day 4

  1. Pingback: IOH UMVIM Clergywomen trip to Mozambique, Index of Blog posts « Kataggello…to proclaim publicly

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