One of the first projects I undertook in Beira was to train a group of volunteer researchers to go into communities to administer surveys. I knew so little Portuguese at that point that I needed a translator. I also knew so little how such trainings should run in that context. However, the guys were enthusiastic and worked hard. At the end of the week, we had a little celebration and gave out certificates and gifts (Chinese shop clocks). The guys were so proud of their certificates, and this folder is full of photos of them beaming and showing them off.
No celebration in Mozambique is without refrescos. That’s one of the reasons why I like this particular photo – see the orange Fanta?
Also, I have a soft spot in my heart for the guy holding the Fanta. Volunteering is an almost unknown concept in Mozambique. Outside of your household, you only work for compensation. These guys were willing to work because we gave them food each day and rewarded them with a certificate and gift at the end of the week. However, there was some grumbling when they found out that the week would not lead to employment. About a year later, I solicited many of the guys to administer more community surveys. They showed up one morning all smiles, sat through the brief training, but just before I sent them out, they demanded monetary compensation. In the end, the entire group went home, except for two guys. The two ended up doing all the surveys, which obviously took much longer than planned with the significant loss in volunteer man power. But they showed up every day with smiles and never complained. They even continued volunteering with other jobs in our office. The hard work paid off for the other guy, who was later hired by one of our teams. Sadly, we were never able to hire the guy holding the Fanta. I hope that his attitude and work ethic eventually paid off, and he was able to find employment with another organization. They would be fortunate to have him.
He was a clear model to me of someone working for the Lord: “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for human masters, since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” (Colossians 3:23, 24)