Mozambique, with all its beauty and splendour, is located on the Indian Ocean coastline of Southern Africa and offers visitors a tranquil and picturesque destination. The country is known for its vibrant culture, white sandy beaches, crystal blue waters, and marimba inspired music and colourful cuisine; a paradise which displays the beauty that the African continent has to offer.
In an unfortunate play of events, disaster struck the country which affected the lives of millions. On 14 March 2019 Mozambique was hit by a massive disaster, Cyclone Idai, with effects reaching neighbouring countries Malawi and Zimbabwe. According to the United Nations, at least 1.7 million people were in the direct path of the cyclone in Mozambique. Many homes were destroyed and the torrential rain washed away bridges and roads, leaving tens of thousands stranded and homeless and their livelihoods destroyed. Several months later the country is still recovering from the disaster and has been in the process of trying to rebuild the communities that have been devastated by Idai.
“I think this is the biggest natural disaster Mozambique has ever faced. Everything is destroyed. Our priority now is to save human lives.” Celso Correia, the Environment Minister of Mozambique
One area which the cyclone narrowly missed, but which is still plagued by poverty, is Morrumbene. A close relative of our Missions Director, Rita Edkins, had recently paid a visit to the lovely Morrumbene Beach Resort, in Mozambique, and shared his tales and love for the local community upon his return. While worldwide efforts are aimed at helping Mozambique rebuild, smaller communities, like the one in Morrumbene, still need help and prayer. In light of this relative’s travels, and a passion to serve people, Rita embarked on a journey to Mozambique with a clear mission in mind: to spread love and hope to those who need it the most. Rita visited Morrumbene Beach Resort, Inhambane province in Mozambique from Tuesday, 14th August to Thursday, 22nd August. The community in Inhambane, like many of the communities, either affected by the cyclone or living in poverty, are doing what they can to make the best of what they do have. During her visit, Rita had the opportunity of engaging with various members in the community to find out how they have managed to go on and what can be done to improve their conditions. It was very important to Rita to use the time in Mozambique to provide community members with a glimmer of hope; to inspire courage and to spread healing through messages of love.
Pictures from the lovely Morrumbene Beach Resort which hosted Rita for the duration of her adventure.
Rita had the privilege of speaking to one of the Chiefs in the community, who delved into his aspirations for his people. The Chief expressed that it is his biggest wish to create viable opportunities that will yield fruitful results and ultimately improve the standard of living for his people. He further envisions having the resources to build a state-of-the-art clinic (God answers prayer! A German community has begun building not only a clinic but a hospital in the area), as well as having a system that will provide clean and sanitary water in the community. For the woman and children in the area, their needs are for the basic things to make their lives a little better. They told Rita that their wish-list includes basic t-shirts and skirts and toiletry items such as bars of soap for their bodies, and soap for their laundry, toothpaste and sanitary pads. The children would like to have stationery for school and soccer balls for their favourite past-time – soccer on the beach!
Our Missions Director spent her time visiting with the families who live in the community, conversing between an interpreter and the Chief, exploring the wonderful beaches in the area in prayer and chatting to a few of the middle-class locals in the area. One such conversation between Rita and a local businessman went as follows, “You pass through this community almost daily. Does poverty not get to you?”, to which the businessman replied, “One gets used to it.” Herewith lies the problem, we should not get used to it. We should stop, ask and do, at least, something!
Here are a few of the photos Rita brought back:
The families typically live in small huts as pictured here with no furniture and few tools for preparing meals in their makeshift kitchens. Johanna Nhassengo and her daughter are pictured preparing a meal from the leaves of a Madioca plant.
Madioca is a plant which naturally occurs in Mozambique and is the main source of food for the community. The leaves are washed and chopped, while the roots are grated and turned into a mash. Two young children are pictured above with cuttings of the Madioca plant which will be replanted.
During her visit, Rita noticed first-hand the drought which has rendered many crops useless.
Pictured is a little school which a German community built. Attendance is very poor as children prefer to work for a source of income; catching fish and tending crops.
Beyond the current condition in the country, the people of Mozambique aspire for better for themselves and their beautiful country. Rita’s visit is a sliver of hope and has shed light on the conditions, as well as the assistance required to grow and prosper. “Sometimes I would like to ask God why He allows poverty, famine and injustice when He could do something about it. I don’t, however, because I’m afraid God might ask me the same question.” – Ann aLanders.
If you would like to help Rita with this mission, please contact our team at email@example.com
Images and information supplied by Rita Edkins, Missions Director for African Blessings.