Tuesday, March 1, 2011
A few days ago the young man who works in the secretary’s office at the school approached me and explained how his community in the bush about an hour from the school is building a new Catholic church and, though the local diocese has contributed some funds, and each member of the community has contributed some, they will still come up short. He was wondering if I knew of any way we could raise funds for this project, or any people I could ask. I explained that it would be difficult since, as a Peace Corps Volunteer, I really shouldn’t be involved in things pertaining to religion, but I would try, especially since this building would in many respects be a community building, much more than a religious building. How much money were they short, I asked? He started hemming and hawing and told me that a donation couldn’t really be given a numerical value since it should come from the heart and anything that truly comes from the heart cannot be measured. (Mozambicans have a way of getting extremely philosophical when all I want is simple answer. Once I asked a colleague how much it would cost to rent a truck to transport building supplies and he drew me a diagram that included the supplies, the starting point, the ending point, the truck, and the voyage before he finally—and with some urging—gave me a number.) I told him he needed to give me a number, I needed to know if I was asked for 5 Meticais or 5 thousand Meticais. He laughed at this but it took about three more cycles through this conversation before he would give me a number. He eventually said 7,000 Meticais—but any donation would be appreciated greatly in its generosity, whether it was more or less than this amount. I was expecting him to say much more, at 34 Meticais to the dollar (I’m not positive what the exact exchange rate is today), this is about $206. If there is anyone reading who can and would like to donate some or all of this money to this community, please email me, I will provide you with pictures throughout the whole process, and the community would be incredibly grateful.