“Cidadela Das Crianças” is a school and orphanage based near Maputo. It houses 40 children and an additional 400 students attend school here daily. This is a general primary school. The school also provides the boarding children with necessary life skills such as cooking, paying bills, and different trades (e.g. gardening, carpentry and sewing).
My purpose as a Development Instructor here is to help in many different areas. I have been involved in gardening, sewing, construction, electrical work, cleaning and much more. When we arrived, I chose to focus on the garden. The projects we decided on were: a shallow well for the garden; to renovate, expand and strengthen the pig pen; and to update and refurbish the playground.
I have really enjoyed working with the children clearing the fields and planting crops. We have had three harvests of corn so far. Our first harvest was 100 pieces, the second was 80 pieces, and the third was 40 pieces. These are some of the largest harvests that Cidadela Das Crianças has ever had. We expect at least two more harvests in the next few weeks.
It is now the season for vegetables that require abundant water to grow as it is the rainy hot season. We have planted cauliflower, Chinese cabbage, Roma tomatoes, and mustard greens. We will plant a variety of beans in the next few weeks as well. We chose to dig a shallow well because during the dry season the students and the staff have a hard time growing anything as the city water is expensive and is not enough. Right now, there are multiple shallow wells near the garden that are used to water the plants but these wells don’t function very well.
The Pig Pen
We chose this project because the students love pork! They have 7 full-grown pigs, 10 partially mature pigs, 10 large piglets, and an ever-growing number of babies. However, the pigs destroy large portions of the garden within a matter of minutes. Furthermore, it’s almost a daily routine for the children to chase down pigs in the morning and in the evening for about an hour. For their farming practices to be successful, it was of utmost importance to renovate the pig pen. We made it bigger and made strong walls that are 7 cement bricks tall. We are about 65% finished right now.
Right outside of our front door was an old rusty slide, two broken swing sets, and two broken teeter totters. Everyday we would see children playing on them the best that they could. For Christmas, ten D.I.’s came to Cidadela to help refurbish the old park. I’m very happy they all came to help us because we got a lot done in those 6 days!
Volunteering in Mozambique has been a life-changing experience. I can truly say I have never seen more happiness come from the simplest things. I have grown so much as a person and have learned so much from being around these children everyday. The strength these children have empowers me to be as productive as I possibly can. They are always so willing to help me with anything I'm doing. It doesn't matter if it’s my laundry or building a brick wall. I want to finish my service period strong and try to wrap up as many projects as I can for them in the next three months.
Written by: Justin Mccauley - May Team 2018