Friday, March 03, 2006

Seasons of Blessings

Life truly is a strange and magnificent ride. And I have felt myself pushed and pulled through every twist and turn of this ride during these past six months. I have learned much, seen much, been pushed off the ledge, been drawn in closer and finally learned the true meaning of carpe diem. Living and working in Maputo, Mozambique has been an experience that has, without question, impacted and guided me in ways that I could never have imagined. I have come a long way in these past six months in seeing more of the type of work I want to do in my life and I have made connections that will continue to influence my life in positive ways for many years to come.

The reason why I’m feeling such a strong seize the day mentality is that this past week Maputo was hit by its strongest earthquake in over 100 years. We were all awoken in the middle of the night to the shaking and rattling of everything in the room. A very strange experience for a boy that has never felt the earth move under his feet before. My first instinct was that is was my neighbours getting rather frisky with some late night activities but soon became aware of the geological force that was sweeping across the city. The earthquake measured 7.5 at the epicenter up in central Mozambique and 4.6 here in Maputo. If the epicenter was close to Maputo I cannot even imagine what sort of damage and loss of life it would have caused. Office and apartment buildings would have fallen like dominoes, transforming the city into an instant ground zero. Perhaps I’m being a little melodramatic but such an experience can bring you closer to the realization that the gift of life can be taken from us at any moment and that we should live each day on this beautiful earth to the fullest. So many times in our lives, in our careers, in our faith and in our relationships we are focused intently on the great mystery that is the future, neglecting the clear and present reality of today. As Dave Matthews sings, “the future is no place to place your better days.”

Another reason why I am feeling so alive these days is that I have been granted a contract extension by MEDA to continue my work in HIV/AIDS and microfinance here in Mozambique. In fact, I am now MEDA’s HIV/AIDS program coordinator here in Mozambique and I have been given the responsibility of facilitating an HIV/AIDS technical assistance project we have begun in collaboration with another NGO based in Johannesburg. This has been quite an honour for me and a real affirmation from MEDA for the work that I have done here so far. This new contract will keep me here in Maputo until the end of November and I am excited for the new opportunities that will come my way and the new challenges that I will undoubtedly face in this new position.

So this brings me to my final point, or more of a proclamation really. I am issuing a challenge to all of my friends, family members and associates scattered anywhere around the world…seeings how I will be here in Mozambique for the better part of 2006, I would really love it if some of you, any of you, would come and visit this beautiful country with me. The first person to make it to Maputo will get an all expenses paid weekend trip to one of Southern Mozambique’s spectacular beaches…complete with all the laurentina or amarula you can drink. Come on…that has to be some good incentive!!

Peace and Love to you all



Blogger Sean said...

wow - good challenge. I challenge you to come home, come on a cross-canada golfing trip with remps and I, and not get diseases (none that can't be treated with a healthy dose of penicillin anyhow). As an incentive, I'll buy you all the schnooze-dogs you can handle (for the first week - let's not get stupid here).

10:07 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm glad that you're ok, Jared. It must have been pretty scary to be in an earthquake.

And congratulations on the extension of your position!!


10:09 a.m.  
Blogger J-WAB said...

I'll go as long as there's baseball being played (wouldn't be right otherwise). Seriously though, congratulations. I'm glad that all of your hard work is paying off. Continue fighting the good fight.

10:20 a.m.  
Anonymous Patrick said...

Congrads on your contract extention Jared. If I hadn't just started working a new job I would have taken you up on the trip.


8:22 p.m.  
Anonymous Reyns said...

The offer sounds too good to pass up, what if I was the fourth person to visit, what kind of deal would there be for that? Or cover airfare and you will ahve a dozen people lined up. If you decide to do this dibs on the ticket as I was the first to mention it.

12:05 a.m.  
Blogger Big Roddy said...

Yeah man, glad to hear you're ok. I had an earthquake experience in Tokyo which sounded like yours and I did the 'what the hell is this guy doin' jumpin' on my bed?' sort-of-thing.

Congrats again to you!

1:09 a.m.  
Anonymous Mom said...

Date to be officially determined, but Dad and I will be there.

10:21 a.m.  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hey Jared,

Congratulations on the extension!


11:47 a.m.  
Blogger Elise said...

congrats! continue the good work! :)

9:30 a.m.  

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