It’s official! Mercy Tech Mission is back on the road again, after a 2-year break due to travel restrictions, and our destination is Eswatini, Africa. We are very excited to be returning to Project Canaan, where we are partnering with Heart for Africa at their farm and children’s home.
At the time of writing, our 4-person team is scheduled to leave Canada on February 2nd to spend a month at Project Canaan with a focus on mechanics training at Lusito, the base’s maintenance shop. We are looking forward to this for many reasons, the foremost being reconnection with our automotive students.
In our absence, the training work has not been neglected, but faithfully carried on by our Mercy Tech representative for Southern Africa, Prosper Fernando. Prosper is also the maintenance manager for Project Canaan, and along with keeping the vehicle fleet going, he has also been busy with weekend training visits to the local Swazi communities. In addition, Prosper has been able to keep up contact with some of our former students in Mozambique as they have branched out to start their own businesses.
Prosper Fernando, Southern Africa Field Rep for Mercy Tech Mission
Gabriel Nhagano is one such former student, and through Prosper’s assistance, we have helped him set up a carpentry shop at his home in Messica where he builds furniture along with his son Lucas, as well as taking on other carpentry jobs for local churches and homeowners. With his extra income, Gabriel and Sara are now able to send Lucas to trade school in the fall to study mechanics.
Lucas Nhagano (left) and two friends/helpers
We have also been able to assist Vasco, one of our former electrical students from Mozambique, by sending him a cordless drill kit to help him install electric lights and receptacles in local homes in the Vanduzi area. Previously he only had a hammer and a nail to use as a “drill” to make holes in the walls of the concrete block homes, and his complaint was that he could only do about 5 homes a month – a feat which greatly impressed us, to say the least!
Now his work will go much faster, and we are so thrilled to see him and Gabriel moving forward with the skills that they’ve learned. Their living situations have improved, partly because Mercy Tech Volunteers came from Canada and took the time to transfer some of their knowledge into the lives of these men.
But our upcoming trip to Project Canaan in Eswatini is also significant because 2022 is the year in which an exciting new project will commence; the construction of a new, larger maintenance shop and trade school at the mission base. This project has been in the planning stages for a number of years, and it’s going to be a big undertaking. This new building will house 2 truck repair bays, 6 automotive bays, 3 body shop bays (including a state of the art paint booth), a classroom, office and storage space, and staff living quarters upstairs.
Already Rotary International has contributed a significantly large donation to equip the school, and the push will be on this year to not only raise the funds for construction, but also to break ground and get the construction underway. And one thing that we have learned about the folks at Heart for Africa is that once a project is started, it gets finished very soon! Stay tuned as we will be sharing more about this project in the months ahead.
Todd Green, Mexico Field Rep for Mercy Tech Mission
On our Mexico/Baja front, there are also plans to return to San Quintin and rekindle the automotive training at Los Olivos, the One Life One Chance mission base. Our Mexico Field Rep, Todd Green, was originally planning to travel there in February, but we are holding off a few months until the omicron variant has run its course and there are less chances of travel restrictions that suddenly can change.
It has been a difficult time for Mercy Tech, as our whole program concept is based on our teams travelling to rural areas of foreign countries. Yet at the same time we are very thankful – thankful that our monthly supporters have stayed with us so that we could supply funding to local team members like Prosper as he carries out work on our behalf, and above all thankful that there was someone like Prosper even there to carry on when we could not.
And now as we look at starting up our travel again, we are grateful for the volunteers who are stepping forward to go, even in this difficult time where flights and borders are very uncertain. One such volunteer is Ross MacPherson from Carleton Place, Ontario. Not only is this his third trip to Africa, but Ross has requested that he stay for 3 ½ months so that his training time could be more impactful (normally our trips to Africa are for 4 weeks).
By the time you read this we will either be in Africa, in the air on the way to Africa, or grounded somewhere in between as we wait for a border to reopen or a flight to resume.
Project Canaan, Eswatini, Africa
Thank you to everyone who has joined us in the work that God has given us to do towards the goal of eliminating poverty through valuable education. You are a great blessing to all of us here at Mercy Tech Mission.
Please contact us if you would like to know more about either the Lusito Shop/Trade School project or becoming a regular donor to our work, or if you have questions about volunteering. You can email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or browse our Volunteer page.
Rick Cogbill, Founder and Mission Director
Mercy Tech Mission