A few months ago, a friend invited us to visit a beach with tide pools. The night before had been a full moon, so we expected the tide to be at its lowest. The day was hot, and a gentle breeze was blowing, an excellent day to visit the beautiful Indian Ocean. On the sandy road that leads to the beach, we motored through three villages. As soon as the children saw foreigners in the truck, they ran toward us shouting, “Sweeeeeet! Sweeeeet! Sweeeet!” with their hands outstretched. We were surprised by the choir of voices requesting candy, and we wished we had some to give. Some of the boys had been washing clothes, while others were tending their family’s cows. We even met a girl carrying water in a bucket on her head.
As David and I climbed down a tall sand dune, we saw pristine beaches stretching left and right. The water was a brilliant blue, and we hoped we would see a whale. Humpback whales visit Mozambique September through December, and they breach and splash as they feed on schools of small fish. Soon our eyes were drawn to an unusual sight—a carpet of green seagrass covering the rocks around the tidepools. As we peeled off our shoes and walked on the plants, they felt squishy between our toes. We peered into the tidepools and saw many creatures crawling and swimming in the saltwater.
Soon I spied a group of girls bent over and looking for something in the seagrass. I couldn’t tell what they were doing, so I walked closer to them. But as I approached, they ran away from me because I was a stranger. Some of the girls were digging with sharp metal rods. They were concentrating so much on their work that I was able to get close enough to ask in Portuguese, “What are you doing?” One of the girls was courageous enough to tell me that they were prying mussels off of the rocks. They come to harvest the mussels once a month when the moon is full and the tide is at its lowest. They needed to work fast because the tide was about to return and cover the rocks again. I was impressed to see the village girls working so hard in the hot sun, and not a word of complaint.
I am sure that Jesus was happy to see the children working hard and honoring their parents. We have seen children helping their mothers weed family gardens of corn and yuca planted in the sand. They also carry vegetables in baskets on their heads. Helpful kids are a blessing from God.