Students serve in Mozambique


    By Laurie Frost

    As Jenny Corry sat next to a child in a rundown orphanage in Mozambique, she asked him, ?What do you want to be when you grow up??

    ?A teacher,? the child said in his native Portuguese. ?I want to teach geography.?

    The child, whose first name is Danill, is one of more than 400,000 orphans in Mozambique who have been abandoned or have lost their parents to AIDS. Nevertheless, Danill wants to make the most of his life, Corry said.

    ?He was just this 11-year-old boy who wanted to be a teacher, even though everyone around him was involved in drugs or living on the streets,? Corry said. ?But he just had so much hope.?

    Corry, an international relations major, was one of nine students who went on Volunteer Study Abroad through BYU to give the children a glimmer of hope, she said.

    ?I think it?s really important for them to understand what?s really out there,? Corry said. ?With education, they?ll be able to solve their problems from within, rather than from the outside.?

    Professor Fred Williams, professor of Spanish and Portuguese who directed the Mozambique program last spring, said this study abroad program is different than the typical semester abroad.

    ?This is more than a study abroad,? Williams said. ?It combines study abroad with service.?

    Williams said students divide their time between classes, service activities and teaching English at local secondary schools. This system was set up by BYU?s sister association in the Mozambique program, a European non-government organization called Humana: People to People.

    Aside from teaching English, students are encouraged to tailor their lesson plans around their particular skills.

    ?I would teach about motivation and about the global market,? Corry said. ?They love Oprah, [so] I used her example of rags to riches ? kind of the American dream.?

    Outside of class, the BYU students taught their students everything from night games like ?Capture the Flag? to line dances, in exchange for some ?real? African culture.

    ?After I taught them the ?Boot-Scootin? Boogie,? we asked them to teach us an African dance,? Corry said. ?They started doing ?The Electric Slide.? It was really funny.?

    Mozambique, a country in southeastern Africa, finally gained its independence in 1975 after nearly 500 years as a colony of Portugal. The people suffered through Marxism, war and a lengthy drought and are now trying to form a stable society, socially and economically.

    Jon Johnson, a Portuguese major, said he sees the potential in the people and the country.

    ?They?re just a young, struggling democracy,? Johnson said. ?And they know that they?re going places as a country.?

    An experience in a third-world country may be hard for some American students, but Johnson said he was prepared to serve the people, not just to pity them.

    ?Instead of feeling sorry, I thought, ?what can I do to make a difference so that ten years from now, I won?t have to feel sorry???

    The answer, he said, is to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

    Students can find the application for the Mozambique program at or can call the International Study Programs office at 422-3686.

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