Living together with others, in community, helped me to learn how to love, to understand and to be patient with myself and people around me. To be humble and experience the joy of being helped is a very hard task nowadays. Life in community is always a challenge to everyone. Spending a year in Africa helped me to develop myself more fully and reflect the face of happiness wherever I go. I have in my heart a burning desire to serve amongst the smallest, those in need of hope, mercy and love. This was my goal during my time in Mozambique.
The desire to be a volunteer grew inside of my heart based on other people that I love and have as an example. Inspiration for me can be found in the life of some people who have overcome the obstacle of life regardless its challenge. A disabled child, a parent who takes time to love and enjoy their children, an act of sacrifice and self giving without expectations of receiving compensation of any kind.
My mother is a truly inspiring person to me. After my father died at age 30, Mom had to raise three kids on her own. She was faced with many trials and struggles, and yet somehow managed to keep us all fed, clothed and met all our needs. She taught us about God, love, respect, kindness, courtesy, importance of family, determination to work through our problems and never give up hope, caring, giving, self-sacrifice, encouragement and faithfulness. She would always say, ‘We will find a way’. I have always felt that I would be a very positive influence on others if I had even a tenth of her love and determination, which she so openly shares. Being a city boy in a metropolitan city in southeastern Brazil made me realize that to be a volunteer in Mozambique can be a very demanding experience but definitely one of the best time of my life.
My degree is in the area of Advertizing and Photography, and I worked in these areas for the last seven years, and being photographer didn’t help much over there. Suddenly, I found myself working as development instructor. How paradoxical could it be? I don’t really know if I was able helped them but I can certainly say that I was the one who got help from them, they showed me that development is about many things that I even could write about, and today I can testify that our growth as mature people is like the work of a craftsman, wire-to-wire and it takes time, patience, and diligence to continually work on it every single day.
To help others doesn’t have to be a huge event, either. Serving others is a way that my heart found to be close to a true love every day of my life. Everything I have experienced in Mozambique was kind of new in my life style and drove me to a totally different reality and life perspective. I have within me the strong desire to make a big impact on the world through small actions, and I believe that small gestures are able to change the world for the better. Everything is possible! The impact that I wish cause in the world begins with my own changing.
I had the chance to live with people who had nothing! Even essential things like water, basic food, health or love. People who are wounded and struggling in this crazy world of ours. Yet, many still find a way to smile, overcome, and move on. Maybe I should say that I became a better person because of the everyday people who know what life is truly about. I love the company of the poor, the rich smile of a Mozambican kid, and I really loved being loved by them. I like that because I give them nothing and they give me everything. I’m learning to do ordinary things with extraordinary love. I just want to say KHANIMAMBO (thanks) to Mozambique/Africa that helped me to finally find my vocation, my way in this world, fostering new generations with golden hearts, heads and hands.