One month ago, we shared here a post about the missionary work that the Institute is carrying out in Amatongas, Mozambique.
There are young and adult volunteers from all over the world (Brazil, Spain, the USA) who collaborate with specific tasks. For them, it is an experience that is essential in their journey of formation.
Now, we are posting the testimony of a group of high school students from Barcelona, Spain. They spent three weeks of their school summer holidays to be part of this volunteering activity. We thank Brother Christobal, who organizes this and encourages many other young people to join it.
A Reason to Participate
There are many reasons why each one of us decided to undertake this trip, but I think that we all shared the same goal: we had the illusion of helping people who unfortunately do not have the same opportunities we have.
For some of us, the will to travel was immediate, but for others it was harder to make the decision. This experience meant spending three weeks away from our friends and family during the longed-for summer! However, none of us doubts today that the decision we made was the right one.
Now, after the trip, I can think of thousands of reasons why all the people who are born in developed countries should know first hand what are the other realities and misfortunes in our planet in order to be able to empathize with the people there and help those who suffer.
Before the trip, we expected to feel ourselves useful and to be able to collaborate actively in the mission. We knew that this was not going to be easy because our predecessors told us so. However, we all had the illusion of collaborating. Now we realize that every hard time we had was worth it and we all are very grateful to have had this opportunity.
The preparation was rather mental. We knew that we were not going on vacation and that we were going to have difficult times, so we had to be prepared.
At first, one of the things we were worried about was the language barrier with the people of Amatongas. However, after two days we started talking more fluently with the pupils and with some other children from the town who used to come and play with us.
Obviously, there were topic about which we were not able to speak because our languages were not similar enough. Even so, we were able to connect with the people of the boarding school and and with the children that lived in the town.
One Day In Amatongas
Throughout our stay in the boarding school we followed a schedule. Our days began at 7,30 am with a breakfast in the brothers’ dining room, generously prepared by Br. Chris.
After breakfast, we went to the places we were painting. There were a few pupils as well who study in the afternoon and wanted to help us.
A little before lunch, we cleaned up and then head towards the dining room, where we sat in different tables each time in order to integrate more with the pupils. This was the best decision we made, since this was when we had the best conversations: during lunches and dinners.
After lunch, we had a free time. used to go to the village, Chimoio, to meet the people there. Some of us played soccer with the pupils or made sports with them. In these moments there was a strong connection with them, and sometimes they opened up to tell us personal experiences. That moment ended with dinner time.
After dinner, the pupils spend some time to study, so we tried to help them in everything we could. They appreciate that a lot. At 9,30 pm, they go to their bedrooms. We took the opportunity to gather and talk about what we lived during the day.
Our busy days made us keep a fairly close relationship with the pupils. Some were more open than other, of course, but in general they are very close and kind. Besides, with the people of our age we had an even more special relationship.
The group’s relationship with the Brothers was at all times very good. We did not spend much time with them but when we were together, especially during the Sanday meals, it was a pleasant and fun time!
As a personal experience, it was unbeatable.The fact that we, students from Barcelona without great difficulties, face new experiences, was amazing! We never stopped learning things. From the moment we landed in Maputo and headed towards the town of Amatongas through those poor roads that cross the country until the goodbye.
That unforgettable July brought us a lot. Each one of us thought about our reactions to those difficult realities. Those young people face life in a totally different way and they have to face situations that are inappropriate for their age.
Listening to those surprising and terrible family and personal stories, made us think about our reality, about how unfair life is, about social inequalities… It made us think about their curious life approach: instead of sinking into their misery, they saw everything with positive eyes. That strength allows them to move forward in their studies. This made us grow personally.
We met amazing people. Both the guys and the Brothers, who carry out a spectacular job in coordination and help to young people. And the 24-hour relationship with the pupils turned into a distant relationship with some of them through social networks such as Instagram or WhatsApp. New technologies allow us to know more about them –not about everyone though.
This is a highly recommended experience, especially for a group of young people. Personal growth is guaranteed!