I had never imagined

I had never imagined that my six months in Lamego, Sofala state in Mozambique, would be such a great time in my life before getting there.
Fortunately, I could join a community based development project that I mostly wanted to do during preparation, which was 'CB-DOT (Community Based-Directly Observed Treatment)' as a part of Child Aid Project.  My project was working for patients of tuberculosis in many communities in Sofala.  Our mission was basically sending medicines for the patients, organizing and checking medical records of them, telling people in communities about tuberculosis and other diseases, and finding new patients there by spreading information about our project.  I was communicating with general people living with difficult conditions directly through the project, which was such a nice experience for me to learn a lot of things and it made me think more about 'development'.
At the beginning, of course it was so hard for me to get used to my position because of different environment I had ever had and mainly language problem.  I had to understand complicated systems of my project as soon as possible to work better, and what was worse, almost every time when I visited patients in the communities, I worked only with Activists who could speak only Portuguese and a local language there, Sena. 

However, it was actually very good for me to learn language more and get close to Mozambicans in the communities.
Within the six months, I made a lot of friends not only in my project but in EPF and Vocational School, which was just next to my house, and also many people in Lamego where I was living for the six months.  I was always trying to speak Portuguese with my colleagues and friends, and finally I learned both Portuguese and Sena (a bit!) through spending time with them.  Now I am not afraid of learning new things at all.  It was also nice to know the reality of Mozambique and know the opinions of Mozambicans.  I learned many things that I might not be able to know through neither internet nor books, for example, the actual circumstances of schools, living conditions, ways of thinking of them, their culture etc.
I found that it is all up to each DI whether he or she can do many things or not.  I don't believe I made a huge difference in Mozambique, but I was always eager to do every single things that I could do without caring how big the scales were. 

First I studied Portuguese very hard to make better environment for me to do job better.  I also motivated my colleagues by getting them to help each other.  They gave me information about our project and taught me Portuguese, and at the same time, I advised them to do better work for patients and helped to make report about every patients. 

I started a small income generating project in a orphanage in Lamego, which other DIs are still taking over.  I worked for preschool in Lamego with other DIs, teacher of the preschool, students from EPF and Vocational School and children in the community.  For instance, we cleaned and painted a class, put fences on both sides of the class and cut the gras around the preschool. 

What is more, I was always trying to motivate people there when I talked or played with them.  I taught easy math, alphabet, Portuguese or morality to kids who were always playing around DI house.  I discussed about many problems of Mozambican educational systems or teachers with students of EPF, who would become teachers in Mozambique.  Though all of these things were tiny, I believe that those things could be something better for their future.
Six months were actually too short for me to do really great things, but the important thing was that I made the best of my ability, time, situation I had as a DI.  I have learned so many things from all of those small things I did during the period in Africa, and now I am back in Japan to study more about development while telling people about my experiences in Mozambique. 

I'm sure that I will go back to Mozambique one day to make much more effective and meaningful differences for Mozambican, who let me know such a important things.

Nagisa Goto

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