It’s been two days since I’ve blogged. I feel like I’ve been to school – in other words, the last few days have been a wonderful educational experience for me.
On Monday, we said goodbye to Maxixe and headed back toward Maputo for the conclusion of our trip. We stopped at the Gilletene Secondary School in the Zavala area. They presented a master plan for their potential expansion and we learned that GBGM provided a beautiful classroom building back in the late 1990s. We had a conversation with the teaching faculty of the secondary school and learned that there were 844 students, with 19 teachers (44:1 student/teacher ratio).
An interesting note here was that the academic performance of the students (yes, they offered this information unasked) was not very good – the average grade of the student was 68.3% when you combine grades 7-10. This made more sense after visiting UNICEF on Tuesday, though. Keep Reading for more.
They would like to add 11th and 12th grade and lack electricity. Each classroom had a chalk board and the classes included physics, PE, biology, math, history, and more. Would your children (7th-10th grade) walk 4.4 miles for school? They are here. Our task when we get home is to figure out what happened to the family of the missionary that started this school.
We said goodbye to Pastor Marrapuxane (10 points for a correct pronunciation) who traveled with us the majority of our trip until then. He’s the education director for the Mozambique South Annual Conference. I got to visit his church, Jangumo, in December. He’s a super guy.
As we continued our journey to Maputo, it included many stops for food, picking up coconuts, mangos, cashews, bananas, yogurt, and other items for Ezy and Naftal’s families which are cheaper outside of Maputo. 12 hours after leaving our hotel in Maxixe, we arrived in Maputo after 8:30PM.
I met with Andy Scott, who is a part of ICM and leads their African partnerships. He flew into Mozambique from being other places in Africa to visit with us and keep our partnership agreement moving. It was great to visit him in-person. We also shared breakfast together this morning (Tuesday).
We left our hotel at 9:30AM promptly this morning to meet with Bishop Nhanala at the conference office. Our conversation was lovely and productive. We laughed about the temperature and the Episcopal trip to Mozambique in June and had serious conversations about the role of women, domestic violence and educational opportunities and challenges.
UNICEF was our afternoon appointment. They provided us resources, described their programs and goals while sharing with us some staggering statistics like: --Half of children that start primary (elementary) school drop out before 7th grade (the full primary school age) --Nationally, 6.3% of 3rd graders have ‘basic reading competencies (as high as 17% in Maputo city and as low as 2% in the Gaza and Manica provinces). --teacher absenteeism is 45% on a daily basis and daily student absenteeism in the South is 24% and 62% in the North. --Children receive an average of 1 hour of instruction per day when they do attend
To conclude our day, we went to the Maputo Central Market where I purchased more paintings to finish our Mozambique 2016 partnership gifts for churches who completed their covenant partnership last year. I ran out of paintings and will work in the coming weeks to finish these mailings. :)
We had a pizza dinner at a restaurant not too far from our hotel. We were on the lookout for Mimmos Pizza and called an audible to eat in what looked like Tiki Hut. Our food (pizza) was super good. I had a chocolate milkshake that was super healthy (full-fat) and it was yummy!
For the three of us (John, Brittney and I), our journey winds down tomorrow. We will visit Talala School, Macedonia, a church start, and a few other churches. It’s our last day here and what a journey we’ve had. We’ve been to school. It’ll be time to gather up what our homework is as we wrap things up and then put into action what we’ve learned and experienced. God has been so good to us in our travels, conversations, experiences and those who we have come into contact with. My prayer tonight is that these lessons provide us the capacity to do our work in new and exciting ways to glorify God and grow the Church and Kingdom. Boa Noite.