In the middle of the accelerated western lifestyle focused on having things, there will always be those who take the risk to walk on a different path. Most of the time, they are misunderstood and called crazy. People who leave behind their comfort, their family and friends to venture into what could be one of the best experiences of their lives.
Thousands of kilometers far away from the United States is Africa. A place where those misunderstood people help empower communities with love and solidarity. The development instructors, who voluntarily travel to different countries in Africa, offer their knowledge and ideas for the creation of social projects that help some of the most vulnerable communities.
As one of these people, my journey took me to Mozambique. A beautiful country desiring evolution in southeastern Africa. As a relatively young nation, Mozambique is developing in giant steps. After obtaining independence from Portugal, the last 46 years have seen commercial growth, educational efforts, and advances in agriculture. The older generations see radical change in their country while the younger generations view these developments as insufficient and slow.
It is important to retain a country’s culture and traditions in the face of development. As a Development Instructor, I understand the responsibility of helping them to achieve their own path toward development that provides a high quality of life filled with cultural wealth, without compromising their unique identity. It is key that young people learn to unite development and traditions. Instead of replicating American songs or TV shows, they can teach the world their traditional dances and popularize their native languages. Share their joy and easy way to sing. Teach us their crafts skills and their idea of architecture. Most importantly, teach us to live life with more tranquility, peace, and love.
Education is a fundamental tool for building a country. The Mozambican government is restructuring the curriculum in schools and universities to not only teach English, but place importance on teaching their own language. Their efforts seek to offer a better education for young people without leaving behind their identity.
Development is not a cookie cutter attempting to make all countries exactly the same. It does not and should not erase culture. Development hopes to provide a standard for the quality of life for people by having their basic needs met. While we are all humans, our cultures are what makes us special and should be celebrated.We can learn from each other and appreciate the things that make us unique.
Written by: Juan David Montoya Muñoz (Colombia) - June Team 2019