Franccisco Gardumi

I visited Carmelo for the first time when I was a child, with my parents, in 2005. We had met Sister Maddalena in Italy and we had admired the strength of her testimony. I met my first friends in Moçambique at the Centre for children. I spoke no Portuguese, still we managed to understand each others and play together. The children taught me the first words of Portuguese and even some Changana.
I flied back to Carmelo in September 2014, with a plan the sisters proposed me to teach music and computer science classes. There was much work to do and sometimes it was difficult to keep the pace; but what gave me joy was to see how deeply the children wanted to learn and how fast they did it: they had rhythm in their hearts! After the first days of classes you could see some of them singing the notes thoughtlessly or some others playing the keyboard for hours as much as they could. One day I left the keyboard to a boy since he wanted to practice a little more after the class. I didn’t see the keyboard again in the next hours. After lunch I was worried and I went to check what had happened. He was still there, since five hours, and he had learnt alone as much as I had done in months when I started.
HIV, malaria and other diseases make the studies of children and boys more difficult than we think in the first world; still, in the days I spent at Carmelo, I saw that every suffering taught to take more advantage of the occasions life gives. Always with joy. When I was sad and tired in front of the everyday struggles people have to face at the Hospital, at dinner with the Sisters I could see them always smiling. Problems wouldn’t make them hopeless, since they call to give more service and help each other more.
I thank by heart the Sisters, the children, the boys, and all people working at the service of their brothers and sisters at Carmelo, for what they taught me, for their friendship, for the time we could spend together.