Lucia’s point of view

The window


My room’s window has curtains with paramecia drawings and from here I can see the sunset. I think the sun here looks so red because the soil is red.  Maybe it is not because of that, but it is awesome.

Being in Mangunde is like being in a summer camp, except here people dress for their daily life and I only brought sports clothes. Nobody dresses like others because here everything comes from the bundles of donated clothes that arrive from Europe. Many people wear Real Madrid or Barcelona shirts but few know that they are two cities in the same country.

In Mangunde, there is a school and a boarding school where most of the schoolchildren live.  Others have to walk from their houses every day.

Carlos is one of the boys from the boarding school. He is 16 years old and, in the afternoons, he usually comes to the guests’ house to help Tomas cook dinner. The other day, I taught him to do Sudoku puzzles with the application I have on my phone and now he comes to find me so that I can let him do more. As he uses the application, he sees it like a game and when he gets to finish one, he says: “Ja ganhei” (I won). He makes many mistakes, but, as the application marks it in red, he just deletes the number and tries with another one. I should draw some Sudoku on paper, so he learns to make them without mistakes.

In Mangunde, there is also an agricultural institute, a hospital and the house where their mãs (sisters) live, and the guests’ house where I live. Some of the staff that works here lives in the few houses within the mission. The rest live outside in the shacks that are scattered everywhere, like the many other families in the area.

Most of these families make a living from agriculture. They grow tomatoes, aubergines, cucumbers, squash, and sell it in the market. Farmers normally go barefoot and have to take water from the river and carry it to their gardens so they can irrigate. Most of them are women and carry the water on their heads because they also carry their kids on their backs. Only a few lucky ones have slightly more sophisticated irrigation systems financed by the organizations that work in the area.

Green Pedal works with some families and agricultural cooperatives and installs solar or water pump bikes as irrigation systems for them. If you want, you can collaborate in their crowdfunding campaign to help them to get a solar irrigation system for the Massane Association. Many few make a lot!

Written by: Lucía García-Iturri