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What COVID looks like from a different culture's perspective

Dawn Goodwin · 23 Aug, 2020

Dawn, who works and lives in Mozambique, explains how COVID19 has changed her work, and the blessings and struggles that come with that.

Hello, my name's Dawn Goodwin and I work for an organisation called World Vision, which is a relief development and advocacy organisation working for the wellbeing of the most vulnerable children in the world. I work for World Vision Mozambique, so I'm very blessed to live in Maputo, the capital of Mozambique.

So my experience of COVID-19 has largely been shaped by the context that I live and work in. Now, Mozambique is in its fourth month of a state of emergency, but we haven't gone into a full lockdown like many countries including the UK have seen, because in the context of widespread poverty that Mozambique faces, a full lockdown would be incredibly difficult, if not impossible for the majority of people.

Most people in Mozambique need to leave their home every day to get food and water and the things they need to survive. So the option of going into a full lockdown would be incredibly difficult. And we're already seeing many of the measures introduced to prevent the spread of COVID, although incredibly necessary, have already had quite an impact on the day-to-day life of most people. And we've seen a rise in prices, a rise in unemployment and a rise in food insecurity. So more people having challenges accessing the food they need on a daily basis.

And in Mozambique, COVID is coming into a context where we already have a number of very challenging illnesses like cholera, malaria, HIV AIDS, and where we also face challenges like a lack of access to clean water. Around 50% of the population don't have access to clean water. And it's very hard to wash your hands and maintain good hygiene if you don't have access to good water.

So it's a very challenging context for us to manage COVID. We've not reached the peak of that yet. That still, it's been a slower onset of COVID in this context, which is a blessing in many ways, and a result of many of the measures that have been taken. But it has been, it's been a very challenging time for the majority of Mozambicans.

Work-wise, it's been very challenging for me and for my colleagues. All of our programming is aimed at promoting the wellbeing of the most vulnerable children. And we're trying now to raise more funds and redirect some of our existing funding towards scaling up our water work. So helping to increase access to water for the most vulnerable, and also our support to healthcare and healthcare provision and promoting messages of COVID prevention. But that's very difficult because the resources we have are always less than the needs that exist. And so we have to make some very difficult decisions around what to prioritise and what we have to scale back in order to do that. So it's been a stressful time at work.

It's been a very stressful time, but it's also been a time of real blessing. I have been incredibly inspired by the amazing colleagues that I work with, their dedication to continue living and working in very rural, very difficult contexts away from their families, but with that commitment that they are there to serve God and to serve the most vulnerable children, even at their own personal sacrifice, has been incredibly inspiring and encouraging.

I've also learned to be, yeah, to really make the most of those moments of joy, even amid difficult times and difficult decisions, to be able to laugh with colleagues, to be able to take a moment to enjoy the blessings that exist within that has been really positive and being intentional about doing that.

And I think for me, God has been really teaching me a lot about what it means when Paul says "I have learned to be content in all circumstances." I'm not there yet, but I feel God's really stretched my understanding of that, of what it means to be content in all circumstances and what it means to rejoice, to have a spirit of joy, despite difficulty, what it means to seek peace and be intentional about finding moments of rest, even if they're short, and what it means, the importance of being very real in my conversations with God and really crying out to Him when I come to the end of myself and I need His help and support and His strength and His wisdom.

So it's been a challenging time, but it's also been a time of real growth and a time of real blessing as well. So I think I'd just say whatever your experience of COVID-19 and whatever the challenges are that you're facing, I just, I pray that God's peace and comfort and joy will be with you at this time. Thank you.

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