I have mentioned my friend Dara before. She is an American friend, who I first met in Mozambique when I lived there when she was on her way back to the US after a stint in a town a few hours away from Beira. I reconnected with her last summer when I was visiting Moz because she is now back there trying to adopt a little girl.
I was chatting with her on skype last week and was reminded of how hard life in Mozambique is. It’s hard to pinpoint because it’s not a country at war or recently post-war or in any kind of political turmoil. It is generally safe and is hailed internationally as an economic success story based on the growth it has made since its civil war. Yet daily life is SO hard. There is an oppression there, a darkness that hangs over the country. There is a general lack of motivation to work, to find ways to thrive. Despite the supposed economic growth, there is extreme poverty throughout the country. There is disease and corruption and lack of education and lack of decent infrastructure. Did I mentioned the disease and the corruption?
Dara’s latest blog post nails it on the head. Any one of us who has spent time in Mozambique could have written this post. It’s daily life there. She captures both the financial and spiritual poverty that pervades the culture.
Her last paragraphs hit me hard. I lived there! I’m aware. Yet I’ve quickly become caught up in my culture here where I skim the news online, go for my daily run, take my shower with guaranteed water pressure and hot water in my air-conditioned apartment, eat whatever I fancy, and hop in my car to buy more of whatever I fancy. I can’t remember the last person I’ve known here who’s died. I don’t know anyone who is sick. Yes, drought is destroying livelihoods, and fires are destroying houses. But not every day, all year, to every community in the state. It’s not drought and fire in Mozambique, but it just as well could be. Every day. Every year. To every community. What is my response to that? What is your response to that? What is the Church’s response to that?
At the very least if you are reading this, please say a prayer for Dara. Say a prayer for the mothers who lose their babies. Say a prayer for those whose houses are so easily destroyed by hail or wind. Say a prayer for the guard and those who believe that their lives are worth nothing more than chickens.