Poems from Mozambique

A typical day in Paradise   

The rainbow woke me up this morning.

over the dune, just a quick hello.

I heard the ferral cat,

Teeny tiny, what to do?

Fangs and claws ready for me.

I just give her food. She hides.

Grab moz black tea and hop in the rav.

The lake awaits me, still like glass, clouds to both sides now. Who needs a mirror when you have a lake?

a quick row across,

shaded shore, stillness in the grasses.

I hear monkeys playing,

peeking  between Lala Palm leaves, checking me out.

The cool swishing sounds of the bush as they jump branches.

Laughing, at me?

Ducks too fly smooth to cool landing, then disappear, spirals on the water.

Hope they found a fish or two.

Easy yoga on the board, lots of long sweet poses. Even a head stand. Gotta maintain balance. That’s kinda all I have, and gravity, and of course the nature grabbing my heart.

It’s all ok.


Dragonflies I hear you, buzzing like a fan,

The blue beach sky your room.

So many coming to say hi.

No wind today, I guess that’s why they fly.

So many

Almost in harmony with the waves.

And yes I swam, quickly though; a little scared of the current.

But the lake is calling me and

Soon, as the sun sets behind the dune,

I’ll paddle and stop in the golden reeds. Forward bending belly on my knees.


Then swiftly to the shore.

White soft sand.

Shark fin Soup 

And then there is today. The morning skies

Pink as Ermelinda’s lips.

wind so wildly fresh and salty from the sea,

Blowing my hair just so. Watery eyes,

I do see the clouds though, like purple rain

And smokey blossoms popping in here and there.

What fun to dive and plunge, holding my breath

As long as possible, scanning the depths, smooth

Sand tickling my toes to

SPLASH up to reach the sky.

What freedom.

To walk on the reef, corals and oysters.

Waves all the way to the horizon.

Yes there’s a ship.

Shark fin soup tonight?

They must stop, they must.  And their plastic.


I will protect her and the dunes,

Peaking high beyond the fragile forests.

High enough to loose yourself. Spin around

It looks the same, sand and more sand.

Maj would fly a kite, just right.

All the kids sand boarding down

schwishing in polkadot bikinis

laughing as if nothing matters anymore.

That’s how it is in our paradise.

Nothing really matters

Except the shark fin soup.

Merritt Becker is an open, multi-cultural, intuitive, and intelligent leader. After Law School at Antioch in DC, she began her career as a lobbyist for the Government of Mozambique, where she met with over 100 US Congressional offices, advocating for economic and development assistance. This was during Mozambique’s transition from a Marxist State to a multi-party democracy and after 2 years, Mozambique received over 800,000 USD in bilateral support.

In this position, Merritt met with many Government Officials including President Chissano, and developed relationships with IPAJ, CFJJ, the Supreme Court and other ministries. Soon after, Merritt moved to Mozambique and began working for MSF in Niassa, and soon after for UNHCR as a Field/Protection Officer, in Angola, Tanzania and Mozambique, where war and famine saw 100’s of thousands of refugees and the internally displaced. In these roles, she managed agreements with implementing agencies, resolved individual cases, monitored border activities, and reported on security and refugee/returnee camp situations.

In 2001, Merritt moved back to the US and lobbied for the Lutheran Immigration and Refugee Service (LIRS) NOW CALLED GLOBAL REFUGE, and together with sister refugee agencies, helped pass The Unaccompanied Alien Child Protection Act, giving children who come to America alone the protections they need to navigate through the immigration system. She also helped create the “Kids Can’ t Wait” campaign, working with the US Senate Judiciary Committee, churches and Global Refuge members to help promote justice for immigrant children.

Back to Maputo, Merritt continued working for non-profits and as a cultural fundraiser. She raised over 100,000 USD for The International Music Festival, and Dockanema, a documentary film festival. At the same time, Merritt consulted for Northrop Grumman, a US defence contractor, and acted as a role player for Peace Keeping Reenactment Exercises with various African military battalions. Later, Merritt accepted a recruitment offer from The US Embassy to become Director for the Martin Luther King Jr.

Cultural Center and designed programs in music, dance, film and sports, promoting healthy lifestyles and good citizenship for youth, especially women and girls. She was responsible for management, reporting, grant writing, ambassadorial relations, and web content. For 7 years thereafter, Merritt lived in Cincinnati, caring for her elderly parents, and worked part-time as a teacher and a volunteer for The Ohio Justice and Policy Centre.  Now, back in Mozambique, she is continuing her career. She has a firm commitment and passion for human rights and refugees and advocates for policies promoting women and girl’s empowerment, reproductive health, and environmental protection. Merritt’s enthusiasm, communication skills and ability to get the job done will be an asset for any development, refugee, advocacy, or fundraising position.

Currently Merritt is working on a project to create a Sanctuary, to protect the fragile dune forest, lakes, and Ocean creatures, where she lives in Chizavane, Mozambique.

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