John Topham of Summerland distributes soccer balls to a school in Mozambique. Topham and Rick Cogbill have been in Mozambique through Mercy Tech Mission.

Putting first things first

Maize is the staple food of the local people here in Mozambique and an integral part of the mission’s many programs.

“The maize comes first!”

These words, spoken by Francois Rauch, a long-term missionary at the ASAM mission base in Mozambique, caught everyone’s attention.

It was 7:30 in the morning and the work staff were awaiting their assignments. With so many construction projects on the go – an airstrip, a maintenance shop, staff housing, the training centre, the women’s craft house – it was the time of day when work assignments, schedules for the delivery truck, and supply needs for the projects were discussed.

But Francois reminded us that the local maize crop had just been harvested and people were awaiting our trucks to come and pick up the heavy bags.

Maize is the staple food of the local people here in Mozambique and an integral part of the mission’s many programs. The primary school, as well as the orphan and widow feeding program, needed this maize. If we didn’t act now, the people would find other more profitable markets for their precious product.

Workers, pickup trucks and trailers, and even the three-ton Hino were pressed into service for the day.

Some locations were near the main road, easy to access. Others were buried deep in the bush, accessible only by following a narrow foot path through the forest with a four-wheel drive truck.

Mercy Tech Mission volunteer John Topham assisted one crew sent to one of these villages, bringing back 56 50-kilogram bags of maize from that location alone.

By the end of the day, there were tired people, overheated trucks, and broken trailer hitches. But the maize was now stored under lock and key, ready to meet the basic needs of the local people.

Although the delayed building projects are important to the long-term success of the mission’s goals, Francois was right: The maize comes first.

Food is an undisputed necessity, but life is made up of other things as well — things that bring joy, create hope for the future, and encourage dreams in the minds of children.

A trip to a new primary school last week provided an opportunity to hand out clothing and some soccer balls.

If the work here sometimes feels tiring, the excited grin of a child is enough to remind us that this is work that really matters.

If you would like to support the work Mercy Tech Mission is doing in Mozambique, why not attend the Bowling for Bowls fundraiser being held at 1 p.m. this Sunday afternoon at Vineyard Lanes and Bistro.

There will also be a silent auction for handmade bowls by the Summerland woodturning club, and the funds raised will help cover the cost of a shipping a wood lathe and tools to Mozambique for training purposes.

Tickets are available at Summerland Baptist Church, Sunday May 27, 10:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. or you can contact Julie Boulé at 250-494-6498 or j.boule@shaw.ca.

Mercy Tech Mission: Changing lives, one skill at a time.

 

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