Ola from Mozambique!!
Or as locals would say hello in Ronga: Shawane!! For those of you that don’t know me, I’m Beatriz, originally from Brazil, and will proudly be a Kiva Fellow with Hluvuku-Adsema in Mozambique for the next 4 months.
I have arrived 2 days ago and so far so good! Hluvuku seems to be an outstanding organization. Fast growing since its establishment in 2004, today it has more than 2,000 clients and an outstanding loan portfolio of almost $1.0 million dollars. Hluvuku mission is to promote social and economic development in the district of Matatuime and surrounding, and apparently it has been doing a great job! There are 5 branches (Bela Vista, Boane, Catembe, Namaacha and Ponta D’Ouro) spread between Mozambican capital Maputo and the south of the country – close to South Africa and Swaziland’s borders.
I’m initially based in Bela Vista (100 km from Maputo), where Hluvuku’s general director, Mr. Bernardo Tembe, is locate. The village has around 3,000 people, is very poor but quite charming. It has considerable developed itself in the last 10 years and today, even though you won’t find proper roads to access the village, it is possible to see a few houses with cement walls and 2 streets with public illumination. There is even a Christian church under construction, what an honor for the village!
Yesterday Bernardo took me around all the branches (some located more than 100km from Bela Vista) and it was already possible to notice economic development / status differences between the villages. I will at some point live in each of them – I’ll definitely give more details as I move along.
I haven’t started to properly work yet, that is, to visit entrepreneurs with Kiva loan outstanding, I’m just getting familiar with the institution and with the 38-40 degrees Celsius (100-104 Fahrenheit) during the day (and 30C / 86F at night). For a Brazilian, this is even worse than arriving in Rio de Janeiro in the summer, getting out of the plane for a business meeting in a suit at a 40 C / 104F temperature!! I wish there was enough water to drink and/or shower, but unfortunately water (potable or not) is still a very scarce thing. I am living in a house together with locals, some government people from the district, and it will be an incredible experience. To share the local culture, learn and give, is what this fellowship is all about!
I look forward to getting involved with the operations and will certainly keep everyone posted!!
Ate breve / Hitavonana / Cheers