Just $10 Can Make All The Difference

$10 can make all the difference in places like Mozambique and Zimbabwe. In order to even attend school, students need to purchase a $10 uniform that they wear every day. Unfortunately, many students cannot afford the uniform, let alone school books and pencils.

According to World Vision, 57 million children are not enrolled in school. Every Christmas, I add to my family’s gifts by sponsoring a child to attend school. For only $10, one child can attend school for the year. It seems crazy, but $10 can make all the difference for children around the world.

Consider sponsoring a child or donating school supplies today. There are many sites to do this through, but one I use is World Vision. (By the way! $50 will supply $600 of school supplies since your gift is multiplied by 12x). Watch their video and see how you can impact those living in impoverished areas.

Please consider donating $10 (or more!!) today to change a child’s life.

A Sneak Peak into Mozambican Life

Some quick shots from driving around Mozambique. Education facts are shared below.

Mozambique Education Facts:

  • 1 in 5 students are ‘severely deprived of education’
  • -1:74 teacher to student ratio (other sources state 1:58)
  • 50% of students do not complete/reach 5th grade
  • Many schools lack school materials, fresh water, and sanitation facilities
  • Orphans and girls are at highest risk of not attending school
  • 52 % of the population is not literate




Mozambique: A Love for Learning (Post 3)

Children (and adults!) in Mozambique love to learn.

Africa orphans education povertyEvery day at four in the afternoon, children in the village would call for me outside the house I was staying out to teach them English. In three weeks, they learned how to count from one to ten, different body parts, and some colors. It was amazing to see the desire each of them had to learn. At times, I had up to twelve people waiting for me to learn English. Their desire was contiguous and revived my love for teaching.

What I found amazing was how the people in the community valued education. Instead of complaining about the heat, or that they did not have a desk or chair, these students came with an attitude of gratitude. After the first week, I purchased notebooks and pencils since I realized that none of the students had materials. Before I gave the notebooks, I wrote the Portuguese translation of the words I was teaching in English. To be honest, I am not sure how many of these students could even read the words I wrote in their own language, but I figured someone from the community would be able to. So from that day forth, on my little whiteboard and translation book, I taught these students the very basics of the English language. Although it was a very short time I was there, it was a transforming experience that rejuvenated my love for teaching.

Mozambique: The Bocaria


From http://mozambique-musings.blogspot.com/2010/12/bocaria.html

I have seen the poor part of Africa–the part of Africa that is highlighted in documentaries, books, and television segments. It is the part of the world some people do not believe is real and cannot fathom even existing. It is the place where people of all ages literally search through piles and piles of trash to find food and materials for the day. It is where 11 year old children do not go to school, but instead dig through trash to find items they can sell and eat.

Today I went to the Bocaria—the local garbage dump and home to hundreds of children, parents, and elderly people in Maputo, Mozambique.

Our day…

We woke up early and met a group of people at the Arco Iris center in Zimpeto, Mozambique. From there, we left on a small white bus and took a 15 minute bus ride to the Bocaria. From the bus window, I saw little stands where people were selling fruits, vegetables, and other small items. We also passed  cement houses with tin roofs stationed close to the roadside. Cars were flying by us and people of all ages were running through the streets. It is not uncommon to see little children–2 and 3–playing close to the road as well as 6 and 7 year old children caring for their younger siblings. Many carry food on their heads and babies on their backs using a capulana.  Some people smiled, some waved, and others just stared as we passed.

After traveling on top of a bumpy dirt road with many little hills and curves, we finally pull into the Bocaria. The first thing you notice are the mountains and mountains of trash and the smell of fire smoke and sweat. There is so much garbage that fumes rise from the mountains because the trash is being burned. Piles of garbage is to our  left, homes on our right, and children of all ages standing in front to greet us.

As soon as we get off the bus, little children are waiting for hugs and embraces. These children have mixed matched clothes with holes and dirt, smiles, and usually runny noses. You pray for grace and love, and embrace the children who are excited to see you. As you are being led by the children to the church you are visiting, you start to notice the broken glass and metal you are stepping over. You have sneakers so you are fine, but then you notice the little boy who is holding you hand is not wearing shoes. Many children are not wearing shoes. Although you try to watch your step, you cannot avoid the broken glass and metal. We walked over to a church 50 ft from the dump.

The church service was amazing. People were dancing and singing. Children were clinging on to me and playing with my curly hair. I was brought to tears at how amazing this place was. Despite the external “ugliness”, much beauty was present in the people and in this building. After the service was over, it is tradition for Iris Ministries to hand out one piece of bread to each child at the door. As the children were pushing and shoving their way up to the front, I was praying we would have enough bread to feed all these hungry children, but we ran out. We ran out of bread. A good 20-30 children were without bread. And you know what, not one child screamed, cried, or even pouted. It is what it is. That is the motto I would say rings true in places like this. Some children received bread, and others did not. They seemed more used to this unfairness than I did.

There are some memories at the Bocaria that I hope to write more in detail about at another time. I decided to briefly include the stories below:

1. The smile of the little boy who received pink socks

2. The sadness of Erika, an 11 year old girl searching through the rubbles of garbage with her mother

3. The “all about me” shirt that was donated and handed out to one of the children

4. Being on top to the garbage dump and watching people rush over to the new pile dropped off by a garbage dump

Until next time,


Mozambique: Post 2

I have been in Mozambique for just about two days and have found that each day is filled with a new adventure. With the more people I meet and the more places I see, my understanding of the land is growing as I find a lot of my preconceived notions about Mozambique–and Africa–in general are wrong. Mozambicans are generally very happy and social people. They enjoy building relationships and love to sing and dance. I am learning more and more Portuguese as the days go on. I have found that the language is similar to Spanish. At this point, I am only able to hold basic greeting conversation (ex. hello, goodbye, what is your name, how are you, how old are you, where do you live).

Yesterday, I visited an orphanage in Matola-Rio. At this center, the orphans have it good (and good is probably defined differently than most Americans would consider ‘good’). They have a safe place, three meals a day, and people to look and watch out for them. In comparison to others in the countries, I would consider the orphans pretty lucky despite the sadness of losing one or both of their parents.

To be honest, I did feel weird taking out my camera at this place. It wasn’t until I realized that the children loved having their picture taken did I become more comfortable with it. It was so funny–the children were posing and then laughing hysterically at their picture. I put some of my favorites from the day below. I hope you enjoy. Many more pictures and thoughts to come.

With much love,

Leah-the world traveler.

Mozambique Adventures: Rooftop Teaching and Learning

Most days in Mozambique, I would be out with Terry Larson exploring Mozambique. We would usually return home before dinner. At around 4, I would hear girls calling. I would go on top of the roof to sing, dance, and teach English. It sort of became a tradition everyday.  In three weeks, the girls were able to count to ten, say/point to basic body parts, and learn simple greetings (hello, goodbye, see you soon). This was really one of my favorite parts of Mozambique. Please enjoy the photos below!

A Warm Mozambican Welcome

Mozambicans are known for their hospitality, humor, and inclusive spirit. When visiting Mozambique, we went to a children center run and created by a local Mozambican. She feeds the local children living in her community who do not have food or a safe place to stay. She lets them come to her house after school. The children in this center were found roaming the trash dumps. When I went to visit, I was greeted with signs, dancing, and lots of singing and laughter.

Sunshine Nut Company

Pictures from my visit to the Sunshine Nut Company founded in 2011 by Don and Terry Larson. The Sunshine Approach™ aims to change Mozambique from the bottom up—bringing change from the bottom up. Their focus is on paying farmers a fair share, creating employment within Mozambique, and helping orphan and vulnerable children one cashew at a time.  30% of their profits go to supporting agriculture development, 30% go toward new food processing companies, and 30% go to caring for orphans. I love their business model and am excited to see this company grow.