In the course of putting together a little book I’m calling Still Running, I spent a few hours yesterday looking through most of the 7,000 photos on my computer in search of a few specific ones that I needed. My task was made tedious because I had failed to name most of them—in fact didn’t even know how to do that until a few months ago.
It was a long and boring job punctuated by some bright moments when I ran across memorable pix. One of those moments was when I came upon Marcia and Rui Benfica’s son and daughter hanging out in the hot tub in my backyard. I got to know Marcia when she had done her best to teach me some Portuguese when I was in Mozambique more than a decade ago.
A few years after I was back home, my good friend, Hope Cassidy, organized a fundraising effort in Greeley, Colorado for a school in Mozambique and Marcia, then living in the U.S., came to Colorado to help promote it. We had a fun visit. The school got built.
I couldn’t resist sending the photo to Marcia. I got an immediate reply. She enjoyed reliving that memory and reported that the kids are now teenagers attending high school in North Potomac, Maryland. Rui, who has a Ph.D in agricultural economics from Michigan State, now works as an international development economist in Washington, DC.
Marcia’s exciting news is that along with her husband and three friends, she is spearheading Mozambique Orphans Charity, a new non-profit organization whose mission is to provide education, job training and meet the medical, emotional and spiritual needs of orphans in Mozambique. I remember how many orphans there were in the country when I was there, many as a result of the AIDS crisis.
“I’m so happy and very motivated doing this. It’s a dream come true,” Marcia wrote. On Friday, May 4 she will speak about the organization on the Voice of America radio. The first fundraising event is scheduled for June 16.
Marcia comes by her passion quite naturally. Her dad was an Anglican pastor. She has worked in expat relocation for the World Bank and was an active Rotary Club volunteer in Maputo.
The website is beautifully done. Check it out at: http://www.mozambiqueorphanscharity.org/