It is getting cold here in GoiGoi now that the winter dry season has begun in full force. Of course, when I say “cold”, I mean it is cold relative to the regular temperatures we experience here. You northerners in the states will not consider anything above sixty degrees Fahrenheit cold. I guess it just means we’ve acclimated to the climate when we feel chilled anytime it dips below seventy-five.
Now is the season of harvest and preparation for next planting season. Most people’s harvest is much less than hoped for this year due to the drought. This, combined with the economic troubles in Mozambique, is beginning to contribute to an increase in price and scarcity of food. It is a difficult situation without any simple answers. In the midst of these difficulties we continue to do what we can to provide support for the development of this community. We are busy working with the community to gather materials to teach about making your own compost fertilizer. This means cutting grass and brush and gathering it instead of burning it as is usually done here. Resource management is something we continue to teach and hope to encourage more of in the future. This also means Kim sending Erik all over the countryside collecting manure from the many small-scale cattle herders in the area. There is no sense of accomplishment equal to that of returning home victorious with a truck loaded down with sacks of old dung, except maybe that which you feel right after you have washed the manure dust off of yourself!
Even during this recent time of drought and during the dry season the nearby well is a constant and reliable source of water for many people. When we first visited GoiGoi almost two years ago we noticed that this pump was in dire need of repair. The metal frame was simply wearing out and replacement parts are difficult, if not impossible, to find. On a recent visit to Beira for the church synod meeting we brought the pump head with us to be repaired. On a previous visit we were able to discover a parts supplier and machine shop to do the repair. We did have to wait an extra day or two for the parts we needed, but everything worked out and GoiGoi now has a fully repaired pump which should last for many years to come. I am especially thankful to the young man who worked above and beyond to secure us the parts we needed to complete the repair.
One side benefit from our having to visit Beira periodically is that we can carry resources such as Bibles and hymn books back to GoiGoi that are usually only available at the main church in Beira. Our friends in GoiGoi have been very excited to have these resources available for purchase in their own town, without the need to travel. All the materials are provided by the church at the cost of printing, which is within the means of most people here. We also have a source of audio bibles in the local language, which we can download onto peoples’ phones or is available on a memory card. We have started to have to carry these things in our car as we drive up and down the valley because people have been stopping us and asking about them. Making resources such as these more readily available is an important part of the faith development of places like GoiGoi.
Our next project involves clearing space for more training gardens around the house. With community help this has already started and we plan to begin teaching about planting and growing vegetables and herbs next season. Kim has also been making plans to plant a small orchard of various fruit trees just down from the church and has already begun instructing church members in methods of propagating their own seedlings from trees and fruit seed that currently exist in GoiGoi.
Like I said before, this is a season of preparation. The GoiGoi community and we are excited about the plans in place and look forward to their fruition. We continue to seek your support and prayers for the many difficulties facing the people of Mozambique. They continue to pray for you as well.
Kim and Erik Free serve with the United Church of Christ in Mozambique. Their appointment is made possible by your gifts to Disciples Mission Fund, Our Churches Wider Mission, and your special gifts.