Today we share with you the final section from the reflection Dave Umphress wrote about his time in Mozambique with fellow members of the Colorado Mozambique Team. In it, he shares one of the most impactful moments of the trip, as well as his greatest discovery. Part I, Part II, and Part III are available if you need to catch up!
PART IV: It’s Worth It
– Dave Umphress
Thankfully, our partner organization on the ground, Food for the Hungry (FH), doesn’t just add water. They are committed to comprehensive community development. We got to see another community they’re working in by visiting a class for mothers. They’re taught about nutrition for their babies, and then they cook porridge together, using the nutritional guidelines from the class. They weigh and measure their babies, and hold each other accountable. Their babies looked SO healthy compared to the kids in the communities that we’re just beginning to work in. FH doesn’t give them fish; they teach them how to fish.
One of the most impactful moments of the trip came during a community discussion regarding the broken well in the first community. It became very clear in the discussion that they had no interest in coming together to fix the well, but wanted the NGOs (us or the next American organization that comes along) to either fix it or dig a new one. Mapaunsa, the country leader for FH, told the community leaders that until they came together to have the well repaired, no new projects would take place. He knows that until they’re able to partner in the change, handouts are only going to further enable them. However, once they can rally as a community to overcome, they will take ownership of change, instead of simply being recipients of change. This stretches far beyond water, to food/nutrition, health, sanitation, and income generation. This isn’t the sexy kind of change that generates easy American aid, like quick well projects, but it’s a lasting kind of change.
The problem is much deeper, much messier than I thought. My impact is much smaller than I thought. It will take much longer than I thought.
It’s worth it.