As part of our training, nursing students have an elective placement, which gives us the opportunity to choose where we would like to spend that time.
Following meetings, prayer and decisions, the doors to Mozambique were opened to us through One Mission Society, and we applied for a one month placement in Maputo to work alongside a nurse and other members of the team working with the Helping Hands project.*
Over the following few months, all the plans and logistics were put into place and we were able to head out to Mozambique on 17th February 2017. We raised enough money to buy equipment that we use in our work in N.Ireland with people with both learning and physical disabilities, and also purchased 50 solar powered audio bibles, translated into Portuguese.
During our time in Mozambique, we were able to fulfil everything we had hoped for, and more. For the mums of children with disabilities, we carried out seminars on oral health, nutrition and sensory play, as well as diabetes seminars at the Seminary. We provided health checks, such as blood pressure and blood sugar monitoring. During our visits in the villages we were privileged to meet some amazing people living full lives despite their disabilities. It was so fulfilling to be able to give them small aids and advice to make the tasks in their lives that little bit easier. It broke our hearts to see just how lowly people with disabilities are viewed in their culture.
It was great to be able to share passages from the bible with them, just to remind them how special they are and how loved they are by our God. There is so much more work to be done through the Helping Hands project, with new cases being brought to them daily.
We would have been so lost without the cultural guidance, language abilities and wisdom of OMS missionaries, Michelle, Melvin and Sharon. During our visits they were so understanding and helpful, letting us take the lead where appropriate. The whole team were so welcoming in Maputo, and we would both love to visit them again sometime. We were inspired by the members of the team, how much they depend on God, and how faithfully they follow him.
During our time on the compound in Maputo, we were invited to take part in the kids’ clubs, team devotions and evening meals together. We even arranged a ceilidh to finish off our time!
The whole experience was amazing. We were so busy every day that our time just flew in, and all of a sudden it was time to leave. It’s been strange going back to the same jobs in N.Ireland, having so much help and support, and so many resources to work with. It has made us more aware of all we have, but also made us realise just how resilient and faithful the people we met in Mozambique are.
Abigail Baxter and Sarah Jones, 3rd year learning disability nursing students from Northern Ireland.
*Helping Hands is a ministry to mobilize the church in Mozambique to compassionately reach out to those with disabilities. There are varied opportunities for those called to ministry among individuals with special needs including occupational therapists, physiotherapists, nutritionists and others with skills and interest in sign language/Makaton. OMS are also seeking people with practical/technical abilities to support the fabrication and maintenance of wheelchairs and other mobility aids.