We have returned from our vacation to find most of southern Mozambique in the grips of a devastating drought, while in the North, flooding is causing major problems. Peoples’ crops are failing with the lack of rain and as a result, food is becoming scarce, especially in rural areas such as Goi-Goi. Our training fields have failed as well due to the lack of rain, which is quite a setback. The political situation is also becoming more tense as the government and opposition party continue to clash.
Construction on our home in Goi-Goi is slowly progressing and we hope to be able to move there soon. Kim is already making plans to start a rabbit-breeding program soon after we move as part of the development project. The local development committee agreed last year to include expanding food sources as one of their goals. Rabbits are a good source of protein and can be sourced locally. They also require fewer resources to rise to maturity than larger mammals. We hope that the rabbits, along with the future addition of a vegetable garden will help the people of Goi-Goi increase the variety and healthiness of their diet. Although our first planting in the training field has met with disappointment because of the drought, we must not lose sight of the ultimate goal. We will replant the field when the rains come and continue to work and pray for success.
In other news, I contracted malaria for the first time this month. Thankfully, I am able to afford the care and medications needed to properly combat the illness. Unfortunately, most Mozambicans are not in this same position, resulting in malaria remaining one of the top causes of death in the country. Prevention through the use of mosquito nets while sleeping is the main method of combating malaria. Unfortunately, many Mozambicans do not use mosquito nets for a variety of reasons ranging from lack of funds to purchase them to lack of understanding of their importance in prevention. There are many programs that provide education about malaria prevention and free mosquito nets and their use seems to be increasing.
While our update this month may not seem to have much good news in it I want to remind you that your prayers and support are felt strongly here as we begin a new year working with our Global Ministry partners, the United Church of Christ of Mozambique. We returned from our holiday vacation to welcoming friends anxious to hear of our travels and excited to share their holiday joys. Sometimes, when the big picture gets overwhelming, it is a good idea to focus on life’s small joys; joys like reuniting with friends, laughing at a joke, or watching The Smurfs (in Portuguese) with the neighborhood kids on the TV in the shop downstairs.
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.