Greg and Kim Hart are ACCI fieldworkers serving in Mozambique, Africa where they are focused on biblical teaching and community development. Greg and Kim have seen the need to increase the depth of Christianity and one of the ways they do this is by going to the people in remote locations to run Bible Colleges where church leaders of all denominations can study together.
In today's blog, Greg shares about a recent meeting he had with 29 members of a rural community, where he asked the question 'What would make your community a better place to live in?'
This is a community that we had a bible college in 3 years ago. This has helped with rapport in the community. They have told us of the way the bible college helped the community in various ways.
We explained to the gathered members of the community that we were not here to do things for them but instead we were here to help them to do things for themselves.
The men told us of their need for a road into the community. Each year the log bridges they build get washed away, and the road is impassable for much of the year. We drove out during a good time of year and it took 45 minutes to do 7km.
They also said they needed a health post, as the only way of getting to town is walking. Sick people and pregnant women have trouble walking to town. The Government has offered to train a community member and supply medications if the community can build the clinic building.
The women mentioned that they need wells for drinking water as they currently get water from the creek which is unclean.
The people asked for an orphanage due to the number of children without parents. We suggested that a better way may be for different people to volunteer to take some children into their homes and others to assist by helping to build bigger houses and providing school needs and food if required.
The community also wanted to fix their football field.
I asked the question 'Do you consider your standard of living as poor, wealthy or middle class?' These people live in mud and grass huts, have no form of transport nor electricity, they consider themselves as being middle class. They said we have food to eat and land to use.
The object is not the projects but the people, we are seeking to build vision and team work in the community so they gain the ability to resolve their own problems.
If one person says we can achieve that, it builds faith in others, if that person can convince others to work toward the vision much will be possible.
We are meeting with the community today in three separate groups. The men, the women and the youth, to see who has what as a priority.
The outcome will be choosing a project that the whole community can participate in, provide the materials for and complete. We will provide any training or expert advice required. This is where we may ask for your help. Let's see where this journey takes us!
After this first community meeting I met with the government representatives for this area. I let them know how our meeting went and the purpose of the community development. They were both pleased that we would do this and look forward to seeing the long term assistance it will provide.
How do you build a bridge? I have no idea but God will provide the right person at the right time to help us achieve this.
UPDATE - 1 week later
Continuing with the community driven development program - we recently had two community meetings. One for the men and one for the women. In both meetings the road was the greatest need presented. We discussed the pros and cons of fixing the road and at both meetings the people said that without a road their community will not develop. It was also discussed that some disadvantages of better access to the nearest town is that in turn they have greater access to you. This will attract business people as well as thieves and unsavoury people but the positives are greater access to goods and services and markets to sell their produce.
We spoke about the red tape involved and the time frame to build a road that includes 5 creek crossings. The community felt it would be a great idea to build a Health Post whilst we worked on the documents for the road. I told the community we are offering our help but the project is theirs, so they need to keep it moving along. The community took that on board and within a few days of the meeting, 75 ladies turned up to clear the land and started to make bricks to help with the construction. One of our roles is to find out from the Department of Health the steps required to build a clinic. We need plans, standards, and also to register the project. We have the green light from the head of the district we just need the process to be completed.
As for staffing the Health Post there is currently a young man being trained in health, ready to enter the Health Post once it is finished.
Without looking at the plans I would estimate under $1000 will be needed to buy roof sheeting, cement and steel and I doubt the community will have it. Maybe this can be our gift to assisting the community. Lets see how it progresses.
As for the road the government has offered the use of their earth moving equipment if we provide the diesel. All we need is a stone mason / bridge builder that would like to visit Mozambique. Two bedroom lodging can be provided and plenty of hard work is lined up. The community will provide the stone, sand and labour. We will need to provide the cement, steel and expertise.
The photos show one of the current bridges and it's condition and the type of bridge we would like to build.
To support the work of Greg and Kim, visit their page www.accipartners.org.au/hart