Voices from the Field

Becoming an Adult as a Child: Lurdes and her Coming of Age Story

Becoming an Adult as a Child: Lurdes and her Coming of Age Story
Lurdes Matsimbe

I lost my mother when I was four years old. My sisters had to marry young and so I grew up with my father and brothers. While my friends were playing, I was home cooking, cleaning and studying. I practically became the mother of the house; I became an adult while I was a child.

My life was not an easy one. It was a life of sacrifice and of difficulties. I didn't have a mother to teach me how a girl needed to carry herself. I think that my struggles made me determined to study because my sisters who married early had to stop studying to care for their households. I started to look at how they lived and wanted a different life. In my mind, the solution was to study so my life became about taking care of the home and studying.

When I was a child, my dream was to become a journalist. My dreams were not realized due to my circumstances. In truth I applied to the journalism course twice at the local university (Universidade de Eduardo Mondlane) but since the process was taking too long, I applied for sociology and political sciences. I ended up studying political science, with the hope of switching courses along the way to journalism.

Dreams Persevered

When I inquired about the content of the courses for political science, I was told that the coursework is for those who want to work in parliament and that the parliament is the place to discuss issues facing everyday people. I thought to myself, If that’s the case, then it is interesting. Who knows? Perhaps one day I may be a local parliamentarian. With time, I grew to like my courses and preferred to continue.

I got pregnant in my second year at the university. It was very hard. It was not a part of my plans, but it happened. One thing that I had promised myself was that I would not give up on my dreams. I really wanted to get a degree and a pregnancy wasn’t going to make me give up. I committed everything to God and believed that all would be well.

I continued studying while pregnant, gave birth to a beautiful baby boy and in 2016 graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science. I needed money for my family, I searched for a job and when the opportunity to work at a bank presented itself, I grabbed it. Now I work as a commercial assistant at a bank.

Church Work

Music is my passion, which is why I’m the United Methodist Young Adults choir director and treasurer at my parish. I’m also the general secretary at the district level.

As young adults I believe that we are supposed to contribute our professional knowledge and experiences to the church. My dream is to start a training center where we can share knowledge with one another. In addition, this project would also generate income for us by sharing our knowhow and training new people with new skills. For this work, I actually dream of creating a physical space for training.

I am having a positive experience working with United Methodist Women. Perhaps it’s my personality for I tend to fit in easily. I cannot be afraid. What I do is respect the people who I am with. Maybe that’s why I was not nervous to join the women when the opportunity presented itself. Perhaps my ease with women is due to my childhood where, as an adult/child, I always fit in.

In my free time I like to stroll by the beach, which is why I like summers and am not a big fan of winters. Also, I enjoy playing futsal (soccer) for my work team. 

Lurdes Matsimbe is 32 years old, and lives and works in Maputo, the capital city of Mozambique, with her son. She is a member of the United Methodist Women Mozambique Country team, a small group of intergenerational United Methodist Women and United Methodist Church leaders. The Country Teams plan, lead and coordinate local events, work with neighborhood women to prioritize their needs and then strategize and put into place effective activities and workshops. This approach to community development ensures that local women own and sustain their programs. 

As told to Angelina Mbulo, Mozambique Pilot Country Team local journalist, on September 29, 2021.

Posted or updated: 12/5/2021 12:00:00 AM