A Proud Display

As we drove out of Nampula, paved roads quickly gave way to bumpy dirt paths. Stark rounded mountains rose quickly from the Mozambiquan countryside and made me wonder about the geological history, but I was here to see the Strengthening Communities through Integrated Programming project, or SCIP, so geology would have to wait. The farther we reached on the two hour trip, the harder it was to see obvious signs of economic activity. I had read that Mozambique was one of the poorer countries in the world and here—in the rural countrside—was the evidence.

We pulled into Mecuburi and were greeted by a large gathering of community members eager to show us some of SCIP's programs. Songs and dances preceded a play about the importance of sanitation and a visit to the mobile health clinic (a tent with a healthcare worker meeting with patients). Later, we proceeded towards a large group of women and children gathered around several pots of fortified porridge.

One young woman who was running the distribution of porridge offered us some and then came to speak with us. She was a supervisor of the animadoras, community health care workers who were trained about family planning and reproductive healthcare to provide a network for their communities and to educate their peers.

Rita Badiani, the head of Pathfinder Mozambique asked the young woman if she was using family planning. "Yes," the woman replied and rolled up her sleeve to proudly display where she had received a shot of Depoprovera that morning. I could think of no more powerful role model for the women of Mecuburi of someone who was taking control of her own future.

Benjamin Kahrl is a longtime Pathfinder supporter and board member. He originally joined the board in 1998 and travels often to see Pathfinder’s work.

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