My Maputo Volunteering Experience by Tutala Uushona

Naturally, I love to work. Every holiday I am working. So this time I was browsing the internet and I stumbled upon the global internships. I have heard of AIESEC and its professionalism. Browsing through the website, I saw the Kutenga project and immediately I knew that it was something I wanted to spend my holiday doing.

I had very high expectations of AIESEC Mozambique, not only because of the level of competence that was portrayed by AIESEC Namibia, but because of the way they handled the whole interview process. Little did I know I was in for a big mess of a surprise.  I expected for everything to go as it was presented to me, a welcoming, and an internship with Kutenga. I expected to acquire new skills in the profession, and to improve where I slacked.

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Things started going wrong upon arrival. Firstly, I was left to fend for myself for an hour, my calls were being answered and dropped and then I finally got an address, which by the way, they forgot to mention was the wrong address. I was lucky to have made a friend on the bus who was helping me with everything, going to the wrong address and returning to the station until eventually an AIESEC UEM member showed up. So I didn’t get the big welcome, which was disappointing, and already I felt not welcome. And the next six weeks were not easy either.

I was placed with a family in an apartment were we were sharing one small room with four other trainees. I was greeted with, who is this? You didn’t tell us you were bringing another girl, and complaints about AIESEC UEM. The family was not so pleased either.  All I could think of was, this will be worth it when I start working. The next morning after my arrival I was ready to go to work, but after a while, I was still in the same apartment. The answer I always got was, there is no work today. I was then placed at Impact Weeks, which was an amazing project as the children were so eager to learn and they were such a delight. I also helped with the Christmas party at VGV which was a tremendous success.

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Although the period of no work were fun, traveling with other trainees, I didn’t go to play tourist in Mozambique. The main challenge for me was the level of mediocrity within the organization in Maputo. They had no respect for time whatsoever, nothing was ever done the way it was said to be done and the biggest challenge of them all COMMUNICATION!

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I was quite impressed with the one thing that was done right for me, which was my birthday. It was the one day that things were done accordingly as I had mentioned in my wish list. My birthday for me, is as important as the consumption of water is to humans. The one thing that shocked me during my birthday party was the way the people are so touchy; it was so extreme that one of my roommates cried harassment.

Through all this, I can truly say that I have learned perseverance and patience. I was always the one giving them guidelines on how to communicate, and eventually I accepted that I would just have to keep repeating the lesson. I had met amazing people from around the world, some of them have become my best friends, like two in particular Kiito (Namibia) and Nadine (Germany) of whom we almost did everything together. I would say that the people of Mozambique outside of AIESEC were very nice and interesting. Mozambique is a very beautiful country that I would travel to again. My experience has taught me to appreciate what I would naturally disregard, like punctuality at work.

I would definitely recommend people to go on such exchanges because they test you, and teach you that you are stronger than the limits set. It is a chance to not only discover yourself, make friends but to also learn and be a global citizen that is not oblivious to things that happen outside your perceived world. And if you do choose to go to Maputo, my advice to you is, be strong and try to exercise patience.

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