Four Summerland men recently returned from a five-week trip to central Mozambique where they experienced rural African life while teaching life-changing skills to the local people.
Travelling as volunteers with Mercy Tech Mission, Bob Denesiuk, Bob Brown, and Don Bryce accompanied mission director Rick Cogbill to the SAM Ministries mission base near Chimoio where they fabricated and installed metal beams and roof trusses on a maintenance shop and training facility.
Extensive electrical work was also done on the project, which gave local electrician Don Bryce the opportunity to teach two young men in the basics of the electrical trade.
The shop facility has been a key project for Mercy Tech Mission for the past two years and will become a training centre for teaching automotive mechanics in the local area.
Cogbill, a licensed mechanic and former repair shop owner, founded Mercy Tech Mission for the purpose of taking trained professionals and tradespeople to underdeveloped countries where they can pass on their skills to those living in poverty.
This is his fifth trip to Mozambique in the past three years.
While in Africa, the team took time to visit local schools and churches, as well as help out with supplying emergency food to local families, as the area is experiencing a food shortage due to poor crops over the past two years.
Aside from passing on his construction skills, Bob Denesiuk also spent evenings and weekends instructing students on the advanced use of a wood lathe.
The woodturning training program was initiated last year by Summerland Rotarian, John Topham, who volunteered with Mercy Tech in 2012.
The goal has been to see the lathe project supply income for the local men and their families, and already the program has reached the point where the students are now producing turned wood products for Gorongosa, a large game lodge in Mozambique.
The team invites the community to come out and hear highlights from the trip, along with a video overview of the work that was done.
The presentation will be on Sunday, April 28 at 7 p.m. at Summerland Baptist Church.