Ismail Mujala, student of “Community Development” course at ISET/OWU
"I followed paths that I had never imagined"
Ismail Mário Mujala was up to 18 years old, a normal student. Born in Nampula and son of a middle-class family, Ismail joined the degree course in Marketing Management from the Catholic University, fulfilling the wishes of his parents, a bank officer and a police woman. It was when it came up a brochure that talked about a course on “Community Development - Fighting with the Poor”, at nearly two thousand miles away.
"I did not think twice. To study at OWU became a target because that degree had everything I really dreamed about to learn in my life", he says today, at 21, and after having lived "amazing experiences that made the boy that I was, an adult I am today", he exclaims.
Eldest son of five brothers, boy "spoiled" by his parents, he went through really hard times. "I've been two years without seeing them, I saw them at the end of 2014. But I overcome all that with courage and because the intense and very enriching days in OWU helped me to not want to retreat, but rather, to follow paths I had never even imagined."
Ismail spent 6 months living directly with Nwachicolane communities near Chokwe, Gaza Province, as part of his "Specialization Period" at OWU. "In the villages of Pamoane and Titite I taught everything I knew about sanitation and nutrition. In return, I learned food recipes made with shell eggs to increase the strength of teeth and bones and a number of ways to find solutions that had never passed by my city boy's mind". Ismail did all this facing another challenge: neither the local inhabitants spoke Portuguese nor he spoke Shangana, the local language. "At first I communicated a lot using gestures, showing drawings, and with the help of a student of a local school. I had to learn Shangana until I was able to communicate with them".
In the final stretch of the degree course in Community Development - Fighting with the Poor, Ismail Mujala does not have today any doubts about his future: "I already feel myself as the development technician of communities’ lives, that’s what I want to be in my life. In or outside of Mozambique, what I really want to do, and for that I am being trained intensely at OWU, is the preparation and management of Local Development Projects, for the benefit of communities. Projects that really help to improve the lives of the poorest people".