Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Visiting a Muslim Orphanage in Bobole

Yesterday was a great day...I had the chance to visit Masgid Nuru - a Muslim orphanage in Bobole (in the Maputo Province). The orphanage is run by a Muslim refugee from Burundi who arrived in Mozambique in 2001 and built a small mosque and orphanage with about 22 boys. The ages of the boys range from 8 - 17.

On this particular day as you can see there were many more children than just the orphans. It was a Muslim holiday - Eid ul-Fitr and everyone from around town gathered at the orphanage and mosque for the festivities and to greet us. This holiday marks the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting. Fitr means "to break the fast" and therefore symbolizes the breaking of the fasting period. It was the perfect day for us to visit the orphanage and bring our gifts. We brought food, clothes, blankets, toys and some school supplies.

When we first got there it was all very surreal. We drove up and saw all these children sitting waiting for us. It seems like everyone had put on their best clothes just for us. When we got there everyone just sat there and looked at us. I wasn't sure what to do. We sat down with them and they thanked us and Kristin (from the US Embassy) said a few words in Portuguese to the group.

After the greetings they took us on a tour of the "facilities." They showed us the sleeping quaters, classrooms, kitchen, chicken coop and their on-going project to bring water to the orphange. The children followed us and were excited to show us where they lived.

It was quite difficult for me to communicate with the children. My mix of Spanish and Portuguese did not work well in Bobole. I got as far as "Hello, my name is Melissa and yours"...and I was able to ask them their age. The children were quite serious and shy...but the minute I knelt down and asked them their name they opened up and the smiles came pouring out. The little toy cars I had in my pocket also helped to break the ice. The toy cars were perfect...later that day they were going to a nearby house to watch a movie for the holiday. Guess what movie....CARS! I don't think many of the children had any toys at all.

The pictures speak for themselves. These children don't have much. They sleep in a room with no windows and many sleep two to one small bed. They orphanage does not have any running water. I don't think they they have electricity either. They must walk 2km for water. I can't even imagine having to care for all these children with such little resources.

I am going to try and work on raising enough money to purchase a sewing machine, 10 beds and complete thier water project. Please let me know if you would like to help. Just send me an email at mvigues@msn.com.

To see all of the pictures from the visit click on Our Photo Album.


Anonymous said...

Wow Melissa, Those pictures really brought tears to my eyes. I thank you for sharing with all of us your experiences which I believe can enrich our lives and make us more humble. You are amazing!
Love, Esther

Unknown said...

Uma dessas criancas sou eu o tempo passa ja cresci