Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Stories that make us with proud

ALG team’s visits to Mozambique always bring us stories and testimonials that makes proud, and we have to share them with everyone who support us and believe in our work.
“Mummy” Noémia, the mother of Talita a UPG Portugal sponsored child, is HIV positive but she’s been followed-up and has been receiving treatment since 2013. Due to her extremely fragile health condition, “Mummy” Noémia could only accept small cleaning jobs, wash clothes and other not too strenuous jobs. They don’t pay much but it is enough to help providing for her 4 children. After the 2013 floods, Noémia was supported by ALG within the scope of the Income Generation Project in S. Vicente de Paulo. She received a small financial assistance to help her to start up a small scale business. Today, 3 years later, during ALG’s visit to the ground we were amazed by how much this mummy managed to achieve: thanks to the success of her business “mummy” Noémia managed to start building a home for her family. Although the house is still not yet finished, this "mummy" is a role model. ALG is already contemplating the possibility of helping Noémia to conclude the construction of her house and improve the living conditions of this family.

The S. Vicente de Paulo Income Generation Project began thanks to the produce of the first crops distributed by ALG for the SVP school farming plot, right after the 2013 floods. After setting aside some of the produce to strengthen lunches for After School Support, a share of the revenues from this farming plot is applied on these small businesses managed by our mummies. Since 2013 it has benefited 4 mums and all of them are true role models that fill ALG’s heart with pride!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Virginia's birthday challenge!

To celebrate her birthday Virgínia decided to raise funds to finance “Granny” Maria's hut. These are her words:

"I’m so very happy for my new home, I cannot walk because I am disabled, but that does not prevent me from working on a little farming plot donated to me by the church (a farming plot close to her house). On the plot, depending on the season, I plant cassava, corn, peanuts and when it rains I’m truly blessed! Despite being so close, going to the farming plot is very difficult for me. On the days I cannot go, I stay at home and look after the small local crops I have (she has orange trees, mango trees and pineapples). Although rain is a blessing, when it was too heavy I’m used to become very worried, especially at night because everything in the house got wet, my blankets, my small bed, food… everything! Now I’m very happy for my new house, and I can sleep peacefully without being worried about raining!”
Kanimambo Virgínia!

Monday, May 23, 2016

“There will always be a family that stays in your memory longer than others”

Everyone is important, everyone is worthy, and need the several Littles Gestures from Sponsors… from Donors… from Friends and naturally from all the ALG/UPG team in UK, Portugal, and Mozambique!
We cannot be indifferent to certain situations that come to our attention through our local partners, especially during our regular visits to the ground, and the “Williamo Family” in Chokwe is one of these cases.

Contrary to the general tendency of having the father of the family deceased, absent and/or unknown, Lucas, Maria, and Enoque have the good fortune of still having with them one parent, their FATHER with capital “F”.
Their mother Sonia, passed away 2 years ago, victim of AIDS a disease that afflicts so many Mozambican people. Since then, the father has been unwell but he was never seen by a doctor, or been to the hospital. With 32 years old he used to work in construction doing a bit of everything to provide for his family. In every job he managed to save a sack of cement and, little by little, he started to build the foundations of what is now his family home (see picture)
It is not possible to help everyone but emergency cases like this one makes us feel how every Little Gesture is truly a Great Help! This is the reason why we are here after 12 years - to help in situations of great vulnerability. The whole family showed signs of malnutrition, the father could barely stand but he never let the children go – and the children never let the father go either – the tenderness and love we witnessed was overwhelming.

We took them home where we had the opportunity to see how they lived … Immediately UPG Portugal took the responsibility of sponsoring the 3 children, we delivered some food and the father promised to look after his health.
The sponsoring of the two older brothers enabled them to start attending school on the following day under the SVP Sponsoring Programme. They receive a Monthly Basic Basket, school material and also have a daily meal at school under the After Class Support Programme.
On the following day we had good news – at dawn “Daddy” Williamo went to the Carmelo Hospital, managed by the Daughters of Charity Vincentian Sisters. After the check-up he was diagnosed with advanced HIV and began treatment. His frail and weak appearance and constant coughing were already revealing this possible condition.

The food, the guarantee of family support, and the medical treatment were certainly the trigger for the improvement we observed throughout this week regarding the family living conditions.
Khanimambo Cordeiro da Silva Family for accepting to support the Williamo Family with open arms and open heart.

Together we will continue to look after these children.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

A lifetime’s journey

After taking her time to assimilate and absorb everything “godmother” (UPG Portugal Sponsor) Ju, who accompanied Anabela and Sonia to visit the projects in Mozambique, send us a summary.

A lifetime’s journey
Although it wasn’t a dream trip, this was a dream come true, which due to several circumstances only now was possible to achieve.
I’ve known a fair bit of the world, there are places I would like to come back to, but the trip to the inner and real Mozambique will stay with me forever.
When I embarked on this trip, although I had a fair idea of what was expecting me, but reality surpassed my imagination, on the positive and on the negative side. When I met my “goddaughter” Clarência, I was overwhelmed by mixed feelings – a massive joy for finally meeting her, and a heart-breaking sadness to see her living conditions.  
My other "goddaughter" – Cristina, although equally underprivileged and orphan, seemed happier.

In summary my goal was met and my dream came true. I’m thankful to ALG for allowing me to contribute with a small drop to the ocean of the ones in need. My blessings for your effort to reduce the suffering of that population.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Ana and Ricardo’s first impressions!

Ricardo’s first impression of Mozambique

When I arrived in Maputo the first feeling was of surprise. I felt as if I were in any other European airport, the only difference was the speed of movements and the dark and gleaming skins.  

This European feeling soon disappeared when we got in Hilário’s car and began to drive around Maputo. The traffic chaos, the colours, the scent of fuel, and the street vendors quickly carried me to other African memories. "This is Africa."  I said taking a deep breath and finally absorbing the African essence. The trip to Chokwe-City was very pleasant and was useful to understand the agricultural potential of this huge country, and how living could be so much easier for so many people.  There is a lot to do.  Chokwe-City – well there is not much to say –  a city lost in the middle of Africa; poverty, street kids, colours, dust, fruit (and everything else) markets, people and heat even though here this is considered the cold season... Ahaha! Rather curious are the signs of pseudo-richness in town: two gyms, a gas station and a small shop, similar to so many Portuguese shops.  

Now, the people, I’ll start with the one I spent more time with. Hilário seems to be an outsider, almost a Westerner, he talks fluidly about pretty much every subject. He’s friendly, sensitive and thoughtful. Hilário is an excellent PR. I want to, and I will have the opportunity of knowing him better. 
Always welcome, curious and helpful; the contacts with the Sisters, with the people at the Caritas residency, the technicians and the sponsored children have been extremely interesting. During the next few weeks I will have time to break the initial ice of politically correctness and really get to know these persons. 
Although at superficial level, like most African countries where I have been, I feel there is an excessive submission to the white “man” and I wish to change that, starting by their relationship with me. I believe African culture is one of the richest in the world and it is important for Africans to be aware of that and be proud of themselves and of the colour of their skin. 
I’ll be vigilant, and I have 6 weeks to perform “white” magic with my example. :) 
Ricardo is volunteering for 6 weeks in Chokwe with our sister-charity UPG Portugal


Ana finally arrives to Mozambique!

Q: What is your first impression of Mozambique?

Ana: It is my first time in Africa and I’m astonished with everything because it is so different from my day to day reality.
We arrived in the beginning of winter... temperatures vary between max. 30º and min. 20º. People are cold and wear scarfs and wool hats! 
Mulungos (white people in changana – local dialect) are a minority so the curious and surprised looks of everyone are quite obvious! The look of children in indescribably delightful J
Colours, scents, fruits, vegetables and the Mulandes (African people in changana) are magnificent to look at and to admire!
Thus, my first impression is of wonder for a country rich in resources and which still has not managed to create sustainable development conditions. 

Q: What do you think about the people with whom you’ve interacted?

Ana: The Sisters from SLM and SVP Schools, both sponsored by ALG, and all the “ anos” (the young boys or “little brothers” helpung) welcomed us very well and strengthened the positive energy and joy existing when facing the constant day-to-day challenges! This is so good and inspiring!
People’s reaction is, in general, reserved but when we interact or smile they quickly reply... making communication easier even though we don’t speak the local dialect changana.

Q: When they travel Portuguese people like to eat. How is the food in Mozambique?

Ana: The street market is amazing... it has everything, and when I mean everything I mean everything! In this market some people sell what they collected from their farming plots...  vegetables look great. Because I’m a vegetarian it has been easy to eat here and I have been eating delicious food :)

Q: What are your feelings/emotions at the moment?

Ana: To tell you the truth the feelings and emotions are profuse and sometimes confusing and contradictory. I think Africa will reinforce the idea that Living is to feel the moment, the now.

Khanimambo!!! (Thank you in changana)

Ana is volunteering for 6 weeks in Chokwe with our sister-charity UPG Portugal