By Danielle Lee
As my time in Maputo comes to a close, I cannot help but think about everyone who made this incredible experience. From USC to Maputo, I’m so grateful for the people I have met and everyone who helped me along my journey.
Saying goodbye is always hard, but with the friends that I made in Mozambique, I’m leaving Maputo with a heavy heart. I will never forget the hospitality of the families that I stayed with. The Zandamela’s treated me as if I were another family member, and I became friends with them. By the end of my stay, I did not want to say goodbye to my new friends. For one, they taught me a lot about family. In Mozambique, family is everything and they support each other through thick and thin. The Zandamela’s are the most kind-hearted people you will ever meet, and they went above and beyond to make me feel comfortable while I was 11,000 miles away from home.
|Anisha and Salley|
|Horacio, Shanyll, Julietta, and Maida|
For the people at Reencontro and Central Hospital, I will always admire their passion for their work. Olinda, Arao, and Reginald at Reencontro have taught me so much about caring for others and finding something you are truly passionate about. They dedicated their lives to improving the lives of others. I will never forget the families and children that who have benefited from Reencontro’s work, and I’m eager to see Reencontro’s future growth in Mozambique.
I spent my last few days in Maputo visiting the other Reencontro site. This site is where over 200 children come before or after school to get extra help in school, psychological support from counselors, and vocational training such as computer skills and sewing. As soon as I walked in, so many children ran up to me to hug me and show around the facility. I have never encountered such loving children in my life. They would hold my hand, dance for me, play games with me, and they loved taking photos! It was great to visit this other facility because I was able to see another part of Reencontro and learn more about it. I saw how happy the children were, and I can see them growing up to become independent individuals. It was difficult to say goodbye, but I know they are in good hands.
Lastly, I would like to thank Dr. Ferguson, my faculty advisor, who helped me with my project from the very beginning. She has always been so supportive and I cannot thank her enough. I would also like to thank USC Institute of Global Health for allowing me to have this incredible experience that I will never forget. In addition, this experience would not be possible without Malena Ruth from the African Millennium Foundation who organized and connected me with Reencontro in Mozambique. Finally, thank you to my family for being so supportive for my entire life!
|Me with Anisha|