Friday, May 13, 2011

A Mosaic Bridge.

I go back to Canada in 9 days!! So this will be my last blog because we will just talk face to face about this stuff the next time. It has been an incredible year in Mozambique and I am so thankful you wanted to share it with me. Before I end this whole blog thing though, I got to write about what has been bouncing around in my head. So here are some final thoughts about the human heart. (Hahaha I always talk about this, but it’s just so interesting to me. I promise I will soon tell you some amazing Mozambique stories about cultural blunders, robberies, and run-ins with the law, but for now bare with me.)

Do you ever feel like you’re all scrambled up? It isn’t that you’re confused; rather you get the sense that you’re all broken up inside and parts of you are only partially there. The rest of you isn’t lost; it’s just somewhere else in a different time. The rest of you seems to almost linger in the many places you called “home”, and endure with the faces you call “friend”. Well, I know I get this deep sense and it’s been with me for many years now.

Sometimes I get frustrated with it, wishing that all of me could be simple, from one place, and present. Sometimes I get unthankful with today, wishing I could be in the places of the past along with its precious faces. These feelings are normal, and I think I’m not alone in this. As normal as they may be though, they can hold us back; and distance us from those around us.

What’s more is that I know these feelings have foolish and unthankful origins. I know my frustration is littered with foolishness ignoring the good that came of being in these places. I know my nostalgia is wrought with unthankfulness, blind to the blessings and opportunities of today. I also know that both of these are fueled by selfishness. If somehow though, my heart could be changed these broken pieces, scrambled in different places and times, could make sense.

If I start with thankfulness, this scrambled sense becomes more of a mosaic. An artist brings together what doesn’t naturally seem like it should be side by side. It was all broken up once, but he put the pieces together and it becomes a beautiful piece of artwork. I think that if we can value each piece, being thankful for each one, we can also be like mosaics. What were just scattered and broken pieces of experiences, places, and people become incredibly unified and somehow they work together. Somehow it’s art; it’s beautiful.

I dare to say that you are just like me. I think that we all feel like parts of us are somewhere else with other people. Even if you haven’t traveled or moved a lot I imagine you have the same sense. I think its human it’s not just an anomaly felt by Diasporas. There is a measure if dissonance in everyone that each one has to grapple with, and each tries to figure out how to bring it together. I know, though, that I’m an awful artist so I think I’ll let the Master artist do His work.

There is a part in the Bible that talks about the different events in a human’s life and each event has a specific time to be done and the passage concludes with this… “He has made everything beautiful in its time…” Ecclesiastes 3:11. I look back at the timing of travels, experiences, and opportunities and it is beautiful. Although sometimes it seemed all scrambled up, I now know He was just making a mosaic.

I was thinking about this the other night and I couldn’t sleep because I know my heart isn’t just supposed to be a mosaic. There has to be something more. I realized that the mosaic is neat, but there is another unresolved issue, distance between people! How do we get closer to each other? You see, I have to figure out how to be relevant to those presently near me, knowing that the trajectory that brought me to where I am and the trajectory of those around me are uniquely different. Being a mosaic is cool, but what does it matter if I am a mosaic but alone?

Well, I think that if love replaces selfishness in our hearts the distance between us disappears. In some way, we can be bridges, connecting each other to innumerable experiences, places and faces unique to each of us. I think we connect with others not because of commonalities in our experiences, places, and faces but because of love despite and through our differences.

I am realizing that we can have a mosaic bridge between each other no matter how far or how distant. At the deepest level though I know the most beautiful mosaic bridge is from the very Heart of God to yours. Oh! I pray that somehow my Artist would gather all that is broken and scattered about me and make a rickety old mosaic bridge from His Heart to yours.

Some may have never thought about God having a heart, well He does and it’s a thrilling adventure to be connected to His heart. The verse above isn’t complete, here is the rest: “He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the human heart; yet no one can fathom what God has done from beginning to end.” (Ecclesiastes 3:11)

I have learned that the greatest adventure isn’t going to Africa; it’s knowing the heart and deeds of God.

Thank you so much for reading this blog.

Your friend, Jer.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Agent of Change

Quem é ela?

“Quem é ela?” is simply asking “Who is she.” It seems like an innocent question, but it’s not a question it’s a threat. This threat is posed when someone becomes the object of another’s jealousy. Here is a recent example, a lady bought a car so she comes to Nampula to visit some family, the family receives her fine enough and when she is done visiting she returns home.

Unfortunately though on the ride home she had a car accident and she lost her life. This is deemed as an abnormal death. Yes, the friends have it all figured out. What happened is that the family saw the car and got enraged with jealousy so they caused the car crash through black magic. You see, Jealousy is so strong because this society, like many egalitarian societies, considers resources to be very limited and in need of being divided equally among all. Moreover, resources are just one of the many things which can be taken from others through black magic. Thus when one is seen to be doing far better then the others this person is known to have accessed black magic taking resources from others to gain this privileged position. Upon this recognition they ask, Quem é ela? It isn’t really asking who she is; it is rather saying, “We will see how strong her magic really is.” It’s a threat to use black magic against said person to even things out.

Where else to turn?
My last post ended on a sad note, and I am afraid the news only gets worse concerning Estevãos cousin. I wrote last time that I went way back in the village to visit Estevãos family when we encountered some bad news about his cousin. I didn’t give details then but maybe you will feel the same injustice I do if I tell you a bit more. She was in the hospital because she was pregnant and there was a complication so they had to do a “C section”. We had heard it went really badly, but that didn’t prepare me for what I witnessed in that hospital room.

Generally only family is allowed in the post-operation section, but the family said we should go in; so in we went. There she lay, unconscious, stretched out on her bed with both her hands and feet tied down to the bed. Her breathing was very laboured and the incision was swollen and infected. It appalled me to see this poor young lady receiving literally NO care! Instead of treating the problem, which I imagine was internal bleeding and an infection they said that she had gone crazy. So they just ripped green rags tying the pieces together, to tie her hands and feet to the medal frame of her bed. I couldn’t bare it as I watched her husband trying to comfort her as she thrashed back and forth. I had to leave the room. At that moment I wished so much that I was a doctor or a nurse or that I could do something at least!

The only thing we could do though was talk to the staff present trying to pressure them to give her better care, but to no avail. They all just waved us off as if there wasn’t anymore they could do or it wasn’t their responsibility. After a couple of hours of this we left and I knew she was going to die. I knew it, but we could do little else but keep wondering how we could help more. They had nowhere else to turn so they turned to the hospital where they did next to nothing. A few days later we got the news that she had passed away.

The Fear of a Woman
Living in a place where life expectancy is about 48 years I have witnessed more loss then we generally do back home. It is more then just sobering; it’s shocking and achy for me. I am personally cushioned though, for instance, I am just getting over my 2nd case of malaria but I got the treatment and medicine early so it just came down to two or three days of fever and headache and then back to work. Sure, I didn’t feel great, but I knew I would get the treatment I needed and I’d be back on my feet soon enough. Many have it much harder. They are always sick and never have the treatment they need and always have to work not resting when they need to. In short, life expectancy is pretty darn low and everyone is very aware of that.

I don’t know the extent to which this truth shapes people’s daily lives and thinking patterns. However, I have been able to understand one major related fear and I will share this here. As you know, I am working with a women’s credit cooperative and after a year or so people trust you and start sharing their stories. I have heard so many stories from widowed women and they experience a loss that one can only imagine. Beyond losing their spouse, women in the Nampula lose EVERYTHING at his death.

As I mentioned before every event is seen to have a supernatural cause and it’s always other people that influenced the supernatural force to cause the event. In this case, the event is the husband’s death. Upon his death the wife is ALWAYS to blame, she is considered to have done black magic causing his death so she would have the house and be with the kids alone. As a result, then the family of the deceased man will eject the women from the house putting someone else from the family as the owner. This happens even if the couple had bought the house together or built it together. The widowed lady is thrown out, and all of the assets and goods in the house are confiscated from her and divided up. She is literally left to the streets with all the kids and nothing to her name. This is the reality and it’s as ugly as many realities in our own culture so let’s not think judgmental thoughts. Nevertheless it is an awfully wretched thing for a woman to go through and understandingly it is a VERY prevalent fear among the vast majority in Nampula. In other words, a married women is living her life always wondering if she is going to not only lose her husband but be disgraced as the cause of his death and ruthlessly punished for it. This is the fear of a woman.

Our Hearts and Minds
A few concluding observations to end on. Firstly, what society believes about the increase in access to resources influences how society members understand “development”. In the case of Nampula, even if its just rumours or hushed conversations I imagine the desire to innovate and get ahead is greatly limited from the fear of hearing “Quem é você”? (Who are you?-threat) Secondly, a calloused heart among those giving public services, namely, health care and education can leave a people with no hope. No hope to gain a good education and no hope to get proper health care leaves us with a shackled people and nation. Thirdly, a society of a high mortality that demands every death to be pinned to an individual as the cause leads to inexplicable fear and distrust within that society.

This is one of the reasons I didn’t ever and never will believe that development is the solution to our issues in the world. You see, I don’t believe that development projects have the power to transform our distorted ideas about the world and our hearts. They can be helpful but the issues are much deeper, we must consider two things: 1) What we believe is true about the world is vital to how we behave 2) Our hearts are calloused and we need someone to change it.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

A thirsty bulldozer

Almost every day at 3:00 pm and then once more at 6:00 pm jets will roar over Nampula. They are just like the jet I came in on. They are also the same jets that will take me home in just over 5 weeks. The thought of returning home is constantly in my head lately. I am overwhelmed with Joy to see my Family and Friends! I can barely wait!

The thing about those daily jets is you can't ignore them. They're soo loud and the airport is practically on Nampula's front porch. It's like a bulldozer in your kitchen trying to get a drink of water, not an entirely deft creature.

You know, there're many things I'd rather ignore at the moment and only realize after the fact or while it's happening. For example, if there was a bulldozer in my kitchen trying to get a drink of water, one would immediatly assume wreakage is behind him and shortly, the whole house would be destroyed in his search for water. Personally, I would not opt to know that a thirsty bulldozer is coming to destroy my house in advance. The agony of looking for and hearing the slow thirsty beast would be the worst part . You know its coming, you hear its diesel engine, but you can't stop it. It's just going to happen and what's worse is you have to wait for it.

My thirsty bulldozer is the dumb daily jets! Imagine knowing that one day you get to come home to family and friends, and every day you see the thing thats going to take you home. EVERY DAY! But, your turn to go is 11 months away, then 10, then 9, and so on. Sure, you're busy with work, you're doing your best with research, and you've been blessed with friends; but in the back of your mind you know "I am leaving in a bit." My bulldozer isn't going to destroy my house; it's going to take me home, but its been creaking along on my front portch for almost a year. Needless to say, I am constantly reminded that one day I am going back to Canada. I'd rather just have the days go by and then BAM "Wow its time to pack up. Sweet!"

It isn't that way for me, no, my lot is to look at that jet and pick a window. I stare at that window and imagine I have been lucky enough to get a window seat. YES, I love window seats! I imagine, I'm sitting in my seat looking down at Nampula and its surrounding mountains that we have climbed. I pick out the office and credit cooperative, where I worked for a year. I look for the houses of the friends that I have laughed and cried with. I pick out the neighbourhoods I've been roaming for months trying to interview members. (side note: one just flew over right NOW!!! DUMB BEAST.) I look through that little window trying to understand what happened in this year, trying to capture memories of what I have learned and have yet to learn. Then I imagine, sitting back sinking into my seat a very content young man because I've done what I came to do. I stare at that window reminding myself there is work to be done today. There is at least a few tasks to be done, I must do them. I just take on step at a time and added up those steps take me closer to that young man in the window.

I would like to quickly update in other news before I finish this post.

Research is going well I have a total of about 42 interviews done, exhausting my inirial study sample. I am currently trying to work out another selection process so that I can try to test a hunch I have. If it works I'll be happy, but if it doesn't then we will just have to make do. Either way I don't know what I'm doing!

Another manager change! Since I've been here I've seen two mangers come and go. Honest good managers are hard to come by in Nampula. :(

I had a weekend way back in the jungle last weekend visiting Estevão's uncle; it was tons of fun staying out there because it was really basic. Some would see it as poverty, but it strikes me more as making do quite well with next to nothing. Then sunday afternoon we heard some bad news about Estevãos cousin. So we traveled to the hospital where she was and it wasn't good. I feel like I should leave it at that, and I will, but it was the most aweful thing I have witnessed. My heart breaks for that poor girl. I can't stop thinking about it, and its partly why I am writing this. I've been thinking a lot and I needed to write something. Lets keep going forward.

Much Love, Jer.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Goodbye songs

The news turned into a dull, deep ache when I looked into Tiago's tired, red eyes. Though generally fueled on one meal a day, he is a tireless man, but today a tired man was standing before me. He shook my hand with the same grip and affection as always, then he told me it was true, what I had heard. His little Julia lost her life to malaria the night before. She was three years old and the symptoms came all at once leaving her little chance to fight back. He held my hand as he told me the news, yet it was as if I was on the other side of the ocean. I felt sad yet so far away from the pain I saw in his eyes.

Nobody said anything we all just hopped into the jeep and started driving to a village on the outskirts of Nampula. Tiago broke the silence a few times commenting that the roads were really bad now because of the rain, but other then that we just sat and listened to the hum of the Land Rover. Once we arrived we were all respectfully greeted and shown where to sit under the shade. I sat with the men outside in silence listening to the undulating sound of the women singing from inside the house. The dull deep ache, within me, grew with each chorus, reminding me of the family's sudden pain.

It came time to "say goodbye" so everyone huddled near the doorway of the small adobe house as Julia's uncle encouraged everyone to be courageous while leading the group in singing. He was inside singing at the top of his lungs in perfect harmony with the women in the house. He would start the chorus and the others would follow at a regular beat then he would suddenly pick up the beat and sing with all the strength he could muster. The strength and beauty of his voice, as he sang goodbye to Julia, pierced my heart in a way that no sound ever has. It collapased the ocean of distance wrapping my heart in the same loss he and the family felt.

There wasn't a single dry eye as we huddled there listening to the "goodbye". Then Julia's uncle came out inviting everyone to say "goodbye," so one after another we all made our way into the house to say "goodbye". I walked in behind my colleagues circling around to where Tiago and his family were singing, then around to where Julia's little figure lay.

To say "goodbye," some bent down to kiss her forehead. Others could barely look through the tears; most bowed respectfully whispering "goodbye". Just as I got near her body the family began to sing with such strength and beauty that even my bones seemed to be listening. I don't know that I have ever heard a sound like it, neither could I justly describe its painful beauty. The little adobe house was nearly shaking from the power with which the family sang.

After we all had said goodbye we followed the family as they took Julia's body to the nearby cemetry, which was a cleared field about 400 meters away. It was a normal field littered with small trees, mounds of dirt, and bushes; but most distinguishingly little crosses marked its rugged terrain.

Coming to the spot where they were going to lay Julia, everyone gathered in a wide circle as Julia's uncle encouraged everyone to be courageous in this time of loss. Then all the men filled in the grave as they sang goodbye. Close friends took control in the end making sure that it was marked properly and that the dirt was neatly gathered to make a little dome. At this very moment, I was struck with such a deep sorrow that I could barely move, for as I looked around that field I saw 8 other mound's of fresh dirt which had been shaped with the same care that I was seeing before me. I could only think about how many mounds there were and how tiny that village was.

How many times did this village have to say "goodbye" this month? This thought tore my heart then and even now, as I write, I keep getting this lump in my throat and watery eyes.

I have learned that saying "goodbye" is one of the hardest things we have to do. Being separated from the ones you love makes a hole inside you that only you feel and even those close to you can't see the hole. Moving away for a time because of school or work or whatever other reason is hard, but Losing a loved one makes a heart ache with the emptiness of loss.

I pray to my God that those we lose here on earth would have the hope of listening to the powerful and beautiful songs of welcome as He welcomes us into His arms. Knowing that I am wrapped in God's lasting love gives me such hope that I can't keep it to myself. I pray that those I love would know the songs of welcome to be coming in the wake of "goodbye songs". The fear that we will only sing goodbye and no angels will welcome the ones I love is unbearable.

Love you, Jer.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


It has been three months since I updated my blog, because three months ago I came down with malaria giving me a couple of days to do nothing. Needless to say, since then, it has been very eventful!!!! I can't write about it all nor would you want to read it all, but in view of loving all those who may read this blog it seems best to write something.

What to write though!? What do you want to hear about? You see thats what I don't know, so maybe I will just write about a whole bunch of things and you can read what most interests you.

A brutish summary looks like this. Working 7 days a week for two months, doing a feasibility study with the first Mozambican Banker (after the Colonial war he was the first Mozambican to be a director of the central bank), helping found a Credit Cooperative in Pemba, trying to figure out how to be an assistant to my boss, troubleshooting computer problems, being the driver, buying the supplies, trying to translate the annual report, planning for and attending the Annual General Assembly of Caixa Nampula!

I waxed the floor once, broke the door down twice, and got incense so it smells nice. (I rythmed!) I also got a motorcycle to cruise around on.

I took five months but I have many friends now, and they are all quite amazing people. I need to explain, though, why I think it took five months. First, I don't have any time to chill because work is so crazy. Second, and related to the first point, one co-worker is super hard to get along with. It felt like I wasn't a co-worker but an object to do things for said person. This made work really frustrating because beyond having to work my butt off doing stuff beyond my experience this co-worker was making work a depressing place.
Third, and most importantly, I mistakenly extrapolated what was wrong at work to the rest of my friendships. More specifically, I put most of my focus and energy into my work situation and I am telling you I have tried EVERYTHING, by that I mean I have tried to bite my pride and be a part of the solution in every way I can think of. Nevertheless, little changed after the many things I tried. This lead me to think I had to walk on egg shells with everyone thus not being able to really have friendships. Finally though, I realized that putting more energy into the work environment wasn't the solution and I needed to try hard to see everyone apart from the sour apple that was so nearby everyday.

Deep Life stuff:
All of the above, and more, has lead me to pray a prayer I have never prayed before. I have finally prayed, "God, if it's not to feel the joy of this place, let me be content with You as I enter the pain of it."

It isn't that joy is non-existent here, it's just that pain and suffering seem to be a more constant reality. Sickness stings; easily stealing a child from the mother's arms and the elderly from their family's veranda. Poverty shackles; limiting a youths dreams, enslaving a women's power, and cuffing a man's diligent hands. Pain has taught to distrust under each smile. Thus wives are blamed for their husband's death, lies are told to co-workers, and money is stolen because the pain of poverty's chains and sickness's sting is a day away.

I hope to continue to pray this prayer, knowing that my God is better than the joy of a place. He is better because He can hug Mama Lucia after she has lost her husband and gets blamed for his death from his family. They say she caused his death through witchcraft, but it was actually caused by high blood pressure from his drinking problem. God can give Mama Olinda the joy to dance after losing two children in one year.

The joy of a place cannot wipe the tiers of Mama Lucia or give Mama Olinda a new dance. The joy of a place is powerless in the face of pain. Thus I have been asking myself. What is powerful enough to restore joy when it has no place being there, when it has been stung, shackled, and backstabbed.

I can think of no other power than knowing God's Love to be mine. Understanding this truth isn't natural but it is so important I cannot ignore or forget it. Life is too short.

At the funeral of the husband of Mama Lucia the pastor said something that made me think a little bit. He said, "Yes, we are sad today, because of death; but it is through death that we get to be with God so don't be sad." It made me think of how odd that must sound to half the people at the funeral and maybe half the people reading this.

We don't get pain and suffering, we hate it; but praise God His Love is as gentle to us as it is odd to us.

God Bless, Jer.

Monday, August 9, 2010

A curse turned into a blessing...

Calvin is just a normal parasite. He has no tricks or gimmicks. He just does what his people do. He started in the salviray gland of an unimpressive and annoying mosquito. She flew so awkardly and kept buzzing around my ears. Calvin didn't mind the buzzing and awkard flying though. He just waited until she landed to feed, and when she did, he made his exit. Calvin seemed to have trained for this and knew exactly where he was going, my healthy liver. Then he just waited there and made tons of babies. The baby Calvins got tired of my liver though. So 10 - 14 days latter they ventured into the rest of my healthy body invading my red blood cells as they went.

It seems my anti-malarials are only good for giving me really amazing dreams. Stopping my nemisis, Calvin, isn't exciting enough, I guess. Nope not my anti-malarials, my anti-malarials neglect their purpose opting for midnight picnics frolicking with dimethyltriptamine instead. I shouldn't put all the blame on my irresponsible anti-malarials though. I, in fact, am partially at fault because I guess I wore the body down weakening my immune system, a perfect environment for my nemisis.

So my nemisis Calvin is the curse. I can't stand him. He is so selfish, as if my liver wasn't big enough for him. He had to invade the rest of my healthy body. What a greedy little squirt! Anyway, Calvin is getting taken care of and the fevers have stopped. No need to worry, all is under control.

To be honest, Calvin's selfish and reckless greed has really turned into a blessing for me. You may ask but how is this so!? Well, what Calvin meant as a curse to me has been a blessing for two reasons. First, I have been able to get some rest! A precious and scarce resource the last few weeks.

Second, I have gotten visitors! This is the part that really touched me, and I really do feel quite blessed. Three co-workers came by yesterday, separately, to see how I was and if I needed anything. One brought his smile and took my cheese. The other brought juice and took a bag of bread, fruit, and gronola. The other took out my trash and a small loan. This gives you glimpse into the culture where everything is shared. I was blessed with their visit and gifts and was happy to bless them with groceries and a loan. Then the sweetest Brazilian couple ever, came by and brought me groceries replenishing my recently deminished supply of groceries. So I had five people come by to see how I was doing, but I didn't broadcast that I was sick. They just figured it out and came by. So as you can imagine, each time I heard a knock at the door, I would scramble to look somewhat presentable thinking it was someone selling fruit or something and to my shock it was someone visiting me! Wow, talk about a nice suprise.

Today, the novelty of my illness seems to have worn off thus I can take advantage of the first blessing, rest; and retain my groceries.

Before I got my visitors yesterday, I got bored of sitting in the house so I stepped outside for a bit to buy credit for my phone. While I was standing on the sidewalk a blue car came screatching to a hault and people were yelling for it to back up. Another car was in the way so I couldn't see what all the fuss was about. When it did back up though, I saw a mother getting up and picking up her little girl from underneath the car! I have absolutely no idea how either of them survived, but they did. What happened next shocked me even more. The man got out of the car and started yelling at the mother and her child, as if they were at fault. He almost killed both of them and he was the one that was mad. I couldn't believe it! A lot of other people gathered around as well and a huge argument insued and a lot of racial tensions became quite obvious.

You see my neighbourhood is not completely Mozambican. A large part of the neighbourhood is made up of 'outsiders', Nigerians, Somalians, Malians, and many others. There is also the rumour that most of these 'outsiders' are running illegal businesses. Most, think it has to do with precious stones or drugs. I have no idea what is true, but one thing I do know, these tensions are quite real, and yesterday I saw it flare up a bit. Thankfully, no body was physically hurt.

I think even Calvin was shocked; because thats when my fever died down. I think the blindness he saw in the driver of the blue car made him consider his own blindness. The driver was in such a hurry that he almost killed a mother and her child, yet he was ready to blame them for the near tragedy. I think Calvin saw this and considered how greedy and selfish he was being. In his desire to take over my blood he was taking my life into his hands and making me very ill. I know Calvin isn't going to change though, so I gotta kill him while he is down with some Coartem.

Here is the lesson of the blog. Gratitude is for endings and faith is for beginnings. Faith has been the last couple of months doing stuff I have never done before. Faith is working through quite a few misunderstandings, where I was at a complete loss in terms of where I had errored and how to make it right. Faith is going ahead though ahead seems scary. Gratitude is being pleasantly shocked with visitors and kindness. Gratitude is the nervous joy of a tragedy evaded. Gratitude is realizing you are the recipient of an undeserved joy.

Gratitude and Faith in what though? For me, you guessed it, Faith In God's existence and Love for me; and Gratitude for both those truths.

Your friend, Jer.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

66 days in...

My last blog is just a short snapshot of my worldview. Worldview can be described as the story we live by. Some of us live by many stories and flip back and forth between stories depending on what is most convenient or comfortable at the time. Unfortunately, I am among the first of those who switch stories when the going gets tough. Thankfully though, when we are honest with ourselves we can realize our own idiosyncracies and grow past our immaturities.

In this blog, I hope to give you a snapshot of my more day to day hands on experience.

So since my last blogg here is what has happened in terms of work. Me and my collegue travelled to Pemba, a city about 6 hours north of Nampula for two weeks. The mission of this trip was to make as many contacts as possible in this city as this is where a new microfinance office will open up in January, a daunting task. Basically, the task is to start a microfinance institution from the ground up. So we met with as many people as we could ranging from potential founders to the Governor of Cabo Delgado, the province. The rest of the time was made up of looking for a potential office, opening an account, and a billion other tasks. Then the next two weeks were made up of organizing a board visit and accompanying and translating for the board members. This entailed a lot of traveling, presentations, visiting beneficiaries, and making sure the monitoring visit ran smoothly.

So those are the activities of the last month or so. It may sound interesting to some of you and it may not. Whatever the case, for me, it was a huge opportunity and extremely stretching. I think a good summary of my work experience so far is that I have been meddling with responsibilities that I have no business meddling with. I am probably exagerating, but it certainly doesn't seem like it. My organization is as small as it gets thus I can't just sit back and watch. Here in mozambique there are only two of us my supervisor and me, and in Canada there are only two people. This is pretty cool cuz I get to learn a lot, but it also seems like we are short staffed all the time. Needless to say, it has been a busy month and according to the workplans I am bound to lose my mind before long.

Oops, crap! I gotta pack. I will have to finish this blog later. I am on the road again tomorrow to Nacala. Their operating system went down so my mission is to get it back up running again. See what I mean!? I have no business trying to fix a microfinance cooperative's operating system. I need Conor's techinical abilities, oh Conor please come visit, Mozambique is the most Latin American African country there is, you would love it.