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Music Student Serves in Mozambique

by Connie K. Ho | February 20th, 2012

Houses made of sticks and mud stood in a barren patch of land. Dust and soot filled the air from trucks flying down dirt roads. These were some of the images that welcomed Carol Chun to her service learning trip in Mozambique.

Chun, a music student from southern California, visited Mozambique to work on a number of projects, including building a children’s center. Before arriving in Africa, she had anxiety that she wouldn’t be able to communicate with the villagers of Beira and Dondo, rural villages near Mozambique. She quickly got over her initial fears.

“I was really nervous not being able to talk there because I don’t speak Portuguese,” remarked Chun. “But, with people, wherever you go in the world, you somehow find ways to be able to communicate.”

For two weeks, Chun focused on fostering a relationship with a little girl by the name of Bernice.

She hoped that her interactions with the girl would inspire her to pursue education as well as to stay away from gangs and prostitution.

“I always saw myself working with orphans, putting it into action,” said Chun. “I felt ready to try it out and see what it’s like.”

In her interactions with Bernice, Chun had the opportunity to visit the girl’s home, meet her family, and play games like tic-tac-toe. They found common ground in their mutual love of Disney, their passion for the color of pink, and an interest in singing and dancing.

In one instance, Bernice and local villagers taught Chun and other team members how to perform a tribal dance. Chun found herself at a zoo, dancing on an open platform stage made of wood. She was surrounded by the rhythmic thumps of a drum circle, and she couldn’t help but laugh as she moved her arms to the beat of the music.

Looking back on her trip to Mozambique, Chun believes that the experience showed her how she could help one person at a time. She believes that she can utilize the resources that are available to her to assist others.

“I learned that life is not just about me or the things that I want to do–it’s about helping other people,” commented Chun. “I learned that I need to be grateful for what I have. I was so distracted before by a lot of things that don’t matter–getting the latest clothes, living a life of making money so I could spend it on myself, focusing on having fun. But there’s more to life– there’s people to think about and people to be helping.”

Carol Chun is currently pursuing a second B.A. at the California State University, Northridge as a Music Education major. She graduated in 2009 from the University of California, Irvine as an International Studies major. Carol enjoys working with children and hopes to work with orphans overseas in the future.

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