I have wanted to do this type of work all of my life, although my father had different ideas about my future when I was a child.
I grew up in a rural area in the Moatize District in Mozambique.
When I was a boy my father had a lot of goats and every morning we would fill a 10-liter pail with goat’s milk, boil the milk and drink it. I remember how enjoyable that was.
My parents valued education, and they wanted me to go to school in the city of Tete, about 12 miles from our home. I moved to the city when I was 11 years old, and my sister eventually joined me. An aunt in Tete watched out for us, but I missed my family very much. I wanted to be with my father, milking goats and drinking warm milk with my brothers every morning.
Throughout my childhood, my father always said he wanted me to become a nurse. He said working with people’s health is good because if you can help them they will never forget you.
I liked it when my father would tell me these things.
But I knew this was not my dream. I wanted to work in agriculture. Even as a child, I thought agriculture is money, it’s food, it’s life.
So, when I finished high school, I took the agriculture exam and I came out in first place.
Once again I would have to leave my family. The agriculture school was in Maputo, more than two days of travel from my parent’s home. During my four years in agricultural school I never saw my family once. A brother from my church was in Maputo, and I considered him to be like my family. But I was very lonely for my people back home.
When I finished my agricultural education, I was offered a job as an inspector at a poultry factory in Maputo. I wanted to work, that was the objective of going to school. But my parents told me, “If you take this job you are never coming home. We want you to come home.”
. . . God knows what’s best for me and it was his plan for me to do this job.”
And so I did. In January of 2014 I arrived home from Maputo. I applied for a job as an agricultural extension worker with Christian Council of Mozambique, and I began working there in March.
We work with communities to build sand dams, so they can have a reliable source of water to grow food and care for their animals.
Then I help people plant gardens and harvest vegetables and teach them how to save seeds for next year’s crop.
Many of the people I work with in the villages have never had gardens before. They didn’t have enough water, or the water source was too far away.
After we build a sand dam and there’s water available, I show people how to plant cabbage, tomatoes, kale, onions and lettuce. I talk to them about caring for their plants and using conservation agriculture practices such as putting mulch between plants.
People are seeing things they have never seen before. There’s a man in the village of Maule Maule who is a favorite of mine. I show him how to do things in his garden. When I come back a few days later, he has shown other people in the village how to do this. Then he says to me, “Look what we have done!”
I think that God knows what’s best for me and it was his plan for me to do this job. This is what I believe.
I live near the communities where I work during the week. At the end of the week, I go to my parents’ house. It was their dream that I be close to them, and I am.
But I have also made my dream come true. I am a specialist in agriculture. I say to my parents, I am not a nurse. But I am a doctor for plants. If a plant is ill, I can make it better. And my parents agree with me now.
Chadreque Finiasse, 25, is an agricultural extension worker in Tete Province with the Christian Council of Mozambique (CCM), an MCC partner. In Tete, MCC supports CCM’s work to build sand dams and establish gardens.