Praise the Lord Almighty for his protection, for his faithfulness, for his plans for us. A huge thank you to you all, from all of us here, for your financial gifts and upholding in prayer. People here have suffered a great deal. Their lives were upturned by the cyclone but together we have been helping a few, those involved with Africa Naturally, FOM, 23 families in total, and next will be the Growing Hope Churches and school as I understand better their needs.
Many of you will have been receiving updates through the WhatsApp group so much of this will be duplicate information. If anyone else would like to join the WhatsApp group please let me know and send me your mobile number. It’s much easier to send photos via WhatsApp. Sending photos via email is slow so I will send a few separately from this letter.
During the first few days here I had seen so much and heard so much that I felt very overwhelmed. My first impressions of Beira city were that the clean up had happened quickly and mostly things seemed back to normal (which is a third world busy city that was already in parts broken). Tell tale signs of uprooted trees, decapitated coconut trees, damaged roofs and broken glass windows remain. The mayors office, mainly, had supported the clear up and aid agencies provided initial emergency food, medical aid and shelter. For those rescued from Buzi, which was totally destroyed, tented areas continue and water is still being delivered to various areas rural and the refugee camps. I have not seen one school that is in tact, in the city and rural areas. Roofs are missing and often the walls to the school rooms.
I have visited each of the 23 people we are helping. Their homes are in very rural areas, except the 2 near the town of Dondo. In these areas there is not one home left undamaged, whether stick or brick, many completely destroyed, and that is the same for our 23.
Only one of these had a brick house and the others the usual stick and mud. Having spoken to them on the phone they all told me they would like roofing. However, when I arrived, although some had managed to build new frames for a house, several still had not and some needed to change the area they were living in.
This week we started the rebuilding having bought the materials last week. They are helping each other in 5 groups where they live close to each other. We bought the poles in the local market and when we finished, having only bought half of what we needed, there were none left. We are hoping that today they will have more.
The transport logistics are tricky and we have needed to rent a truck for deliveries, the first one didn’t arrive so we have been paying for use of the church truck. That now has a problem with the brakes so we are looking for another one. Routes to all houses are on dirt roads, often getting stuck in the sand and often the road does not reach the houses so the last part of delivery is with poles and roofing sheets being carried through rice
• All 23 have received the materials for new roofs (it’s the first time for all but one to have metal sheeting for their roofs, only plastic previously, and they are thrilled).
• 7 have received funds to buy a new piece of land, either because they needed to move from where they were or because they were renting and this will mean they will no longer need to pay a monthly rent.
• 7 have received help to buy poles for the structure of their house.
• I have been able to pray with each family at there home or the site of where it will be built.
Growing Hope Churches and the Primary School
Pastor Victor in Matua is so faithful and committed to Growing Hope. His church is no more, completely destroyed in the cyclone but he has started the vegetable garden and extended it. He is someone that needs a lot more time and support to equip fully in Farming God’s Way. I would like to help him rebuild his church. He told me that some families in his church left for another one that was giving away food but those that remain
are meeting where the church used to be and there is little shade as the trees were uprooted. Matua is an extremely poor area.
Pastor Tomo’s church also was destroyed but they have received some help via Tanneken and her church in the States. I would like to help them with sheeting for the roof and with cement for the floor. We will restart the Growing Hope, FGW garden with them later this year.
Pastor Pirez is a shining light. His house had some minimal damage to the roof but when I visited him I was filled with Joy at all the small veggie gardens started by families in his neighbourhood. Everywhere I turned there where more. Of the 35 that signed up, 21 have started growing vegetables. They do not yet have a full understanding of FGW but with P Pirez teaching the biblical keys and help from the farm team with the farming
techniques, they will.
Mezimbite Primary School has two classroom buildings. One is a wreck. They want to fix it but I’m sure it needs a complete rebuild. I understand from another expat who is on the rebuilding discussion team that it’s very unlikely this school will be a priority. They will focus on areas with the most flooding. Everywhere I go the schools have suffered great damage. Some children have not returned to school, others have lessons outside, quite
pleasant at this time of year, but buildings and roofs are very much needed by November ahead of rains. I have met someone who may be able to arrange help for them but am currently having problems contacting them.
The good news is that they are very keen to start the vegetables again this year, albeit late. The building of the neighbouring church, like so many others, was destroyed and they started hoeing in the school veggie garden until the director asked them to stop. (I’ll talk to them about FGW if I can find the Pastor.). On Monday I go back with the veggie seed.
Pastor Prego I saw at church in Dondo and he says they did not suffer from the cyclone.
Pastor Semente. I have not been able to contact him yet and have been diverted from this with the house building programme. Next week I will try again.
Orphan Care at Mountain of Praise
Tanneken’s house and wall, the widows house and some of the dorms for the children suffered damage. I have spoken to Tanneken who remained in Maputo from March, is returning to Dondo on 23 May. She has been staying with Iris Ministries in Maputo and is feeling blessed. She told me that her church in the States has been very generous and rebuilding works are ongoing. (I have seen it in action.). When the funds come through
from Lady B’s these will be used for the children.
I was amazed that in all the turmoil the farm team together with the FOM team had rebuilt all but one building before I arrived. That’s the nursery, the prayer room and the kitchen.
They had also cleared the fallen trees in the work camp area and uprighted and fixed my tent. No trees fell on this or the car. Both were surrounded by trees but they fell in all directions away from both the tent and the car.
We have had no tea tree oil production since the cyclone as there was much to clear up and repair on the farm and now everyone is taking time to fix their houses. Please pray that production can start up again in June and that our customer is understanding and happy to wait until later this year for more tea tree oil.
We hope all the homes will be finished by the end of next week. We will then celebrate and thank God.
I am working out costs to rebuild the church in Matua (a stick and mud structure with metal sheet roofing) and to help with Pastor Tomo’s church in Dondo.
I would like to employ someone from the MOP church to support continued training and equipping of the churches with FGW, plus some help with the FOM enterprise participants. This person worked for For Food for the Hungry for some time but is now unemployed. Momade introduced me to him. My idea is that he first has three months on the farm learning FGW and if that works well he has a three month trial with the role to visit one or two churches or schools each day to encourage, teach and monitor progress.
Longer term we can do more to support applying FGW to family machambas. The Pastors can then concentrate of the biblical side of FGW.
Armando will continue as the Supervisor but with expanding activities he is overloaded and cannot visit the Growing Hope churches as often as we would like.
Continuing and focussing on improving life skills and ways to make a living continues to be crucial after a disaster like this. Extreme poverty, food poverty and malnutrition continue and activities to combat this and improve health are encouraging to all involved, bringing hope and purpose. With Growing Hope and FOM this also comes with news of the hope that we can only receive from the Gospel and the Holy Sprit.
Please continue to pray for all of the above.
With grateful hearts – Ana, Munhopa, Jose, Alves, Sarifa, Paulinho, Momade, Francisco, Jacinto, Nelito, Albano, Antonio, Jose, Elias, Tiago, Mario, Adamoj, Marcelino, Zito, Artur, Alfredo, Armando