REPORT OF THE VISIT TO MBETAZIGONE BY MICHAEL CROSBIE OF AUSTRALIA MIMAMO PROJECT MANAGER AND KAREN BARENSCHE SADC COORDINATOR TO LICHINGA
Written by Shadreck Kwagwanji
November 20 – December 1, 2016
When Michael Crosbie (Australia MIMAMO Project Manager) and Karen Barensche (URI Regional Coordinator for Southern Africa) arrived in Lichinga, they were presented to the Government administrator in their Government offices. They were cordially welcomed after hearing the purpose of their visit to Mozambique. The administrator assured them of the government's full support to MIMAMO Cooperation Circle's vision. He said they would do all they can on the issue of the water crisis problem when Karen raised the matter before him. The administrator sent his three representatives to Mbetazigone, who were with us on the day of the visit.
The work visit to Mbetazigone in Lichinga District was made of three teams: foreign teamwork, district government officials and MIMAMO leaders. MIMAMO is an abbreviation of the “Outreaching Mercy Mission in Mozambique.” The foreign to team work was comprised of two foreign nationals: namely, Ms. Karen Barensche, South African from Cape Town, URI Coordinator in SADC Region and Michael Crosbie, Australian from Melbourne, MIMAMO Project Consultant.
The district government officials were: Mr. Manecas Fazenda for Planning and Civil Constructions, representing the district administrator, Adolf Rafael Mucuta and Cristiano Joao. MIMAMO leaders were Mr. Shadreck Kwagwanji, President; Mr. Barnabe Welo, Administrator; and some core team members such as Dr. Felipe Angst, Director of Catholic University in Lichinga, Ms. Neema Chilalika, the Women’s Kitchen Manager, and Feliz Mfaume, accountant of Catholic University in Lichinga.
The work visit had four main significant moments: the project land site-seeing, the women’s kitchen “Bricks and Classroom” visit, cultural appreciation, and speech snaps.
On arrival at Mbetazigone, everybody received the visitors with human joy and were excited for our coming. Then, we started walking to see the land for a better understanding of the land site where the MIMAMO is to implement its projects in fulfillment of its visions on paper and the event was very much honoured. The land we visited and saw is about 23 hectares, which is enough for the project scope.
The project land site seeing included a visit to the place where the nursery project is being implemented for the 2016 -2017 Trees Planting Campaign. There are about 200 seedlings in the form of stem tree buds. The project is environmentally viable, but without resources to give life into it. Our plan is to raise 5,000 seedlings of different species for distribution to clinics, schools, local people, etc.
Women’s Kitchen Bricks and a Children’s Classroom
The work visit then took us to the site where villagers made approximately 6,000 bricks for the construction of The Women Cultural Kitchen (Workshop). The bricks were fire-treated; the process is to make a brick oven, cut down firewood and put it in the oven, then bake them in fire to make them hard and insoluble. “Although the idea is fine in terms of making construction materials locally, people need to replace the logged-down trees. Because, after a long run, the village will have no trees left,” Karen Barensche, URI Coordinator for Africa commented. So there is an imperative need to put in place reforestation programs.
Afterwards, people visited a children's classroom during some lessons. But the classroom was in a very deplorable state of affairs, abandoned and not recommendable for use. The classroom itself claimed the state of emergency and rescue for a dignifying classroom.
After the visit to the project site and children classroom, a demonstration of some cultural activities begun that were characterized by Chiwoda dance, the women local traditional dance, choirs and drama.
It brought real emotion and joy that every moment, second and minute was full of excitement and hilarious touches, which brought everybody back to life again.
The drama in particular depicted most of the hilarious moments in which the people called for an immediate change for a better water supply, maternity clinic and good classrooms. for school-age children as an improvement to the current situation.
After the cultural performances, the Mbetazigone village offered presents to the visitors. The presents were made from and by local materials such as wood spoons, bamboo-made winnows, etc.
Public Speech Snaps
As the work visit was ending, the Village Chief and Head of Meponda Administrative Post made opening remarks and explanations.
Mr. Welo explained the purpose of the visit, which is not other than to see and witness the plight of people and help work and find solutions together to the problems and sufferings. Ms. Karen lamented the fact that trees are cut down without replacement, which represents a threat and danger to human life. She also disapproved of the fact that some girls at the age of 13 are already mothers and nursing other babies. She then urged villagers to let girls study and have babies at the right time. Then, Michael, the MIMAMO Projects Consultant, assured villagers that he will work to best of his abilities to make to dreams come true as far as infrastructures are concerned. He pointed out that he was both a mechanic and constructor.
Last but not least, Dr. Angst and Mr. Kwagwanji also spoke at the event. Dr. Angst wished the villagers all the best in overcoming their current impoverishing situations. And the President of MIMAMO, Mr. Kwagwanji, spoke also.
Mr. Fazenda, representing the District Administrator, had the last and closing word. In his speech, he assured the people and pointed out that the district government will do anything in its capacity to make sure that the projects succeed. MIMAMO’s community development projects and concerns are the district government’s preoccupations. They also want see Mbetazigone community develop. In the end, the community event closed.
On their return from Mbetazigone, the core team met with Michael and Karen to make a balance of the visit to Mbetazigone in one of the classrooms at Catholic University. Michael and Karen expressed their happiness over what the MIMAMO core team is doing and encouraged the core team not to turn back