#FromtheField: ‘As much as I can’ – A ‘different’ Christmas of a non-profit operator in Africa

“For a person from the south of Italy, from Naples like me, traditions are very important.

Christmas, for a person who loves those traditions, has to be spent with the family. For who does my job and lives faraway, festivities are usually a good time for going back home; to see the loved ones that we missed so much. Nevertheless, sometimes life and commitment towards ourselves and others force us to stay faraway, without the possibility to honour those costumes we are so attached to, but with the opportunity to contribute towards something bigger. Something that can impact the lives of thousands of vulnerable people.

At the moment, I am working in Mozambique, after some years spent in Uganda; the change consisted not just in the country, but also in the type of projects, from development to emergency. The perception of the emergency is found in the eyes of the beneficiaries, in the commitment of the local staff and also in the rhythms and in the long days of work that, only in the month of December, have offered support to 5.600 families, over 31.000 people, through the programme I am dedicating to with Concern Worldwide. A complex programme, constituted by different elements (Food Assistance, Nutrition, Agriculture and WASH) where I find myself operating in a transversal way, offering managerial and logistic support (and more) to the different sectors.

In the emergency, there is no time for long breaks, as intervention times are crucial for the success of a program, and for the satisfaction of beneficiaries, of whom we inevitably feel responsible. This responsibility is the one that pushes my colleagues and I to do “as much as we can, for as many as we can, as well as we can, for as long as we can”.

Combined with the official professional commitment in Mozambique, I am also personally committed to the Art of a Child and to thousands of Ugandan children who, through the organisation of which I am co-founder, are waiting for the conclusion of the crowdfunding campaign for MatatArt.

Those are the reasons (that would be thousands if including all the involved beneficiaries) for which this year, I have spent my holidays in a different way, here in Mozambique, far away from family and friends but trying to equally reload the energy for the new year, trying to recreate familiar atmospheres, through new meetings, new smiles and new energies.

It was fundamental to be ready and operative at the beginning of the New Year.

My colleagues and I, are committed towards 150 families of beneficiaries from a small village, Masvissanga, but for reasons that did not depend on our will, we still could not reach our intervention. With the arrival of the rainy season, transfers are so difficult and sometimes impossible, that it compromised the feasibility of our work. The thought of those 150 families in difficulty, and our promise to be there once the routes are accessible once again, accompanied me during the festivities.

Whoever does this job, chooses to live a different life, that is rich in satisfactions, but also in sacrifices. We are often suspended between where we are and where we would like to be. But the smiles of gratitude and joy can fill every gap and distance. They represent the greatest satisfaction that anyone who chooses this job can desire.”

Francesco De Pasquale

Picture from the field, by Francesco De Pasquale

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