Introducing Lisa, Nema’s new Charity Manager

Replying to an advert on Escape the City, little did I know that it would lead to a new job in one of the most stunning places I’ve seen in the world. Guludo Beach Lodge’s charity arm The Nema Foundation was advertising for a General Manager, though I much prefer my local moniker: Directora!

Interviews with founder Amy Carter-James and head of the board of trustees, Laura Tenison were not easy from the bush camp I was working in in Angola, but we made it happen, eventually, and 3 months later I arrived at Guludo. Of course no journey in this part of the world goes easy and my bags did not get on the plane in Nairobi so I spent my first few nights wrapped in some local cloth (capulana) for dinner whilst my underwear dried under the southern African night skies. Added to this the rains had wiped away a serious of bridges part way into my journey, where me and the car load of supplies had to traverse the “foot diversion” and reload onto a local car on the other side of the bridge. Not that the local car goes to the beach lodge of course, the last 2km were on the back of a motorbike on a lovely sandy road with some puddles added for fun. TIA. (Even my mum knows knows what that means!)

I’m now 6 weeks into the job (or 4 weeks of work and 2 weeks of malaria sufferage into the job) and it’s pretty awesome. The Foundation works with some of the most deprived communities in one of the poorest countries in the world and so there’s years of worthwhile stuff to do here, and the people are so welcoming, though I’m pretty sure they think the crazy mzungu on the bike is a bit mad, there’s def lots of laughs.

There are some horror stories and it’s hard not to give my paycheck to everyone everyday – the old lady with no family who is blind and had not eaten for 2 days, the newborn whose mum could not breastfeed and the hospital, 6 hours away, had sent her home with one tin of formula make me want to cry or hit someone a daily basis.

But there are some amazing stories too: the families that stick together and take in orphans despite barely having enough for their own kids, the strength of the Nema workers to do amazing work helping others and the communities that stick together. On my first week here I met a teacher from the Crimize school. He told us that the school had been washed away in the rains and that there was nowhere for the kids to go to school. Promising to visit to better understand the situation, I went with my local team leader to Crimize. It’s a 5 mile walk down the beach to Crimize and it’s hot but when we arrived we found the village leader, the head teacher, the teacher I met the week previous and some of the local men were constructing a school. The community had clubbed together, bought some material and the men were building a 3 room school for the children. Reporting this to Amy she replied that she was “welling up”, I knew the feeling. Local residents build the school at Crimize.

So, lots to do, lots to understand, lots of culturally sensitive issues to get my head around, and of course the madness of Kimwani, the local language, which does not have as many consonants following on from each other as Ngangela did in Angola (who starts a word with mbw??) but is difficult right now! But this is where I live, it’s hard to not be optimistic……

Today the Nema team made it to one of the southernmost villages that we support, Mipande.  Due to the heavy rains the road has been closed this year and this was the first time access has been available to us.  As we arrived in the village a chant of “matafome, matafome” began and the afternoon’s sitting of school children followed the truck until we got to the school where they were joined in their singing by the class 2 children.  Matafome is Nema’s school feeding programme where we provide a nutritious meal a day for the children who attend school. It was patently obvious from the joy on the children’s’ faces how much this means to them and how invaluable the school feeding programme is. The beauty of the “class inicio” (first years) sitting still in their lines (there are no desks or chairs at the school) contrasts with the excitement of those older children who know how great the matafome is for them every day.

Fatima’s started as a community volunteer and became a full time member of the Nema team 3 years ago. She specialises in malaria and HIV and today is off to Ningaia village with the volunteer drama group to do a performance all about how to avoid and treat malaria. She’s already run household workshops where nets were distributed AND recently followed up to check the nets are being used properly. It’s also her home village so she’ll, no doubt, be welcomed with open arms.

Fatima’s started as a community volunteer and became a full time member of the Nema team 3 years ago. She specialises in malaria and HIV and today is off to Ningaia village with the volunteer drama group to do a performance all about how to avoid and treat malaria. She’s already run household workshops where nets were distributed AND recently followed up to check the nets are being used properly. It’s also her home village so she’ll, no doubt, be welcomed with open arms.

Today we’re delivering the “mata fome” (the school food locally called “kill the hunger”) to the children here at Lumuama primary school. School attendance has doubled since we started this project 

Today we’re delivering the “mata fome” (the school food locally called “kill the hunger”) to the children here at Lumuama primary school. School attendance has doubled since we started this project 

Rema is a crucial member of the Nema team. She’s known locally now as “mama wayatima” - mother to the orphans - and is responsible for the well being of 151 orphaned and vulnerable children. She visits them all at least once a week and makes sure they are well cared for by their extended family, are healthy and are attending school while providing them with loving support. 

A few years old now, but a great video about some of our work in the communities where we work.

The new water points in action! :-)

The new water points in action! :-)

Today we had a GREAT meeting with the Nagalue farmers association. They are bursting with enthusiasm and this new association is just about to start their first harvest. 

We’ve just completed installing 5 new water pumps. The communities are incredibly excited and the inauguration of the water points will start next week. HUGE thanks to Global Angels who have funded this project and in doing so has changed thousand people’s lives for the better. 

For the past few days we’ve been working on a really EXCITING proposal which will dramatically improve the access the health in our region. The current Mucojo Health Centre, pictured below, is supposed to serve more than 30,000 people but as you can see has very limited facilities. The Mozambican Health Department has asked Nema to help upgrade these facilities to become a Rural Hospital with an outreach and motorised ambulance service! We are extremely keen to help the Government with this project and are now trying to secure funding.Fingers crossed this dream will come true!

For the past few days we’ve been working on a really EXCITING proposal which will dramatically improve the access the health in our region. The current Mucojo Health Centre, pictured below, is supposed to serve more than 30,000 people but as you can see has very limited facilities. The Mozambican Health Department has asked Nema to help upgrade these facilities to become a Rural Hospital with an outreach and motorised ambulance service! We are extremely keen to help the Government with this project and are now trying to secure funding.

Fingers crossed this dream will come true!

Here is a peak of the barber shop set up by the Mipande association. Last month they made $45 from just this activity using all renewable wind and sun energy!

Here is a peak of the barber shop set up by the Mipande association. Last month they made $45 from just this activity using all renewable wind and sun energy!

Marieke and Assane are busy finalising a new phase of water points - hopefully we’ll be drilling for water before the end of the year. Now, that’s a pretty awesome Christmas present for a community! 

Marieke and Assane are busy finalising a new phase of water points - hopefully we’ll be drilling for water before the end of the year. Now, that’s a pretty awesome Christmas present for a community! 

Introducing Jesse Pavlick, Nema’s Project Manager for the building of this, the first of several Community Health Posts. Jesse and his foreman, Abacar, are going great guns, all the masonry work is now done and the carpenters are working hard to put up the roof before the rains. 
We want to say a very heart felt thank you to Global Angels who have funded this project and been so patient when the start of construction had to be delayed. 

Introducing Jesse Pavlick, Nema’s Project Manager for the building of this, the first of several Community Health Posts. Jesse and his foreman, Abacar, are going great guns, all the masonry work is now done and the carpenters are working hard to put up the roof before the rains. 

We want to say a very heart felt thank you to Global Angels who have funded this project and been so patient when the start of construction had to be delayed. 

Three old Guludo team members; Tam, Charlie and Louise, plus 5 more friends (including 3 past Guludo guests) gallantly ran the run to the Beat half marathon yesterday to raise funds for our scholarship project. Donations are still coming in but it looks like they’re going raise well over $1,000 together.
To support them and this project, please go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/finalCharityHomepage.action?uniqueVmgCharityUrl=nemafoundation

Three old Guludo team members; Tam, Charlie and Louise, plus 5 more friends (including 3 past Guludo guests) gallantly ran the run to the Beat half marathon yesterday to raise funds for our scholarship project. Donations are still coming in but it looks like they’re going raise well over $1,000 together.

To support them and this project, please go to http://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/charity-web/charity/finalCharityHomepage.action?uniqueVmgCharityUrl=nemafoundation

We’re now working with over 24,000 people in 15 (and a half!) villages. Here they all are!

We’re now working with over 24,000 people in 15 (and a half!) villages. Here they all are!

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