Life in Mozambique
Last week I talked about our outreaches – I´m going to focus on the country of Mozambique this time. It´s kind of strange that it took us this long to really get a feel for the country, but we have been living in a missionary compound most of the time surrounded by Christians. This last weekend, we had the privelage of going into one of the outlying villages and geting a taste of what real Mozambique life is like! The people themselves are incredibly friendly, but the living conditions seem to leave much to be desired. We stayed in a government-built project area, which meant everyone had at least a 1 room house to live in, but most Mozambicans aren´t that fortunate. Many of the people we have met only have one or two changes of clothes (they often get a new pair for Christmas), and most of Mozambique doesn´t have power or running water.
Until recently, Mozambique was involved in a terrible war. Though it is referred to as a civil war, RENAMO (one of the warring parties) was funded by other countries in an effort to destabilize Mozambique. They targeted much of the infrastructure of the country and the war itself left Mozambique in shambles. When the Bakers first came to Mozambique, there was machine gun fire every night and the sound of explosions. Mozambique has been at peace for a while now, but there are still remanents of the war like land mines and other explosives. Last spring, a munitions dump exploded, sending missles and other explosives hundreds of miles – one hit the mission base we´re staying at right now, but didn´t explode on impact (or there would have been no more base). 5 minutes away from our base, there are the remains of a hospital with several huge holes in it, the largest of which cuts through several stories. Land mines are also occassionally a problem, especially when floods happen and the water moves already marked land mine areas.
Speaking of floods, some are actually occurring right now in the northern part of the country. Tens of thousands of people have been evacuated and many are in desparate need of food. We will most likely be helping with the flood cleanup, but we do not head up to the northern part of the country for another month. If you would like to help out directly with the food distribution or the cleanup efforts, the best way is probably through Iris´s website, irismin.com.
Well, I´ll save the spiritual condition of the country for later – Carla is going to try and post pictures on Facebook. For those of you without Facebook, um, we´ll work that out next time we get internet access! Please be praying for the Mozambicans in flood areas and the rescue and recovery efforts. Please also be praying for us and our health – malaria is a constant threat and already several of the missionaries have come down with it. I´m very sorry I cannot write back personally to each of you right now, but I hope you understand.
– Jon and Carla