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Changamire Barreto

Changamire Barreto

Assistant Environmental Educator

My name is Changamire Barreto Zeca, I was born on March 4, 1984 in the locality of Pungue, Gorongosa District, Sofala, Mozambique. I am from a family of farmers, although I did not meet my father (Zeca Semo), as he had lost his life before my birth. I have four siblings.

When I was a child, I liked to play soccer and study (I asked my friends to call me doctor). I also was a shepherd for my older brother’s goats.

I attended primary school in Pungue, Gorongosa from 1993-1997, the second degree at the Eduardo Mondlane Primary School and Secondary School in Gorongosa from 1998-1999. I attended Christ is King Secondary School in Gorongosa for middle school from 2000-2003, and high school at the Secondary School in Dondo from 2004-2005. From 2007-2010 I attended and completed a Bachelor’s degree and Licensure in Philosophy Education.

In 2006, I had to interrupt my studies due to financial problems. I opted to raise funds through employment. I worked on a construction project called CBC based in Chitengo (Gorongosa National Park) contracted by the Restoration Project.

As stated, my goal was to continue with my studies, so in the following year I had to terminate my contract to continue with higher education at Beira Pedagogical University to achieve my dream of being called doctor. I met several friends and colleagues who helped me to build character. In 2009, I finished a Bachelor of Philosophy Education, while in 2010, I finished the Licensure of the same course. After I finished, I thought about applying to join the Ministry of Education in 2011. This plan failed to due to a lack of vacancies for teachers with advanced degrees.

In March of 2011, I learned through a childhood friend, Tomas Farnela Marorreia, now my colleague at the Center, that there would be a contest through an interview for those who have completed the 10th grade to join the Community Education Center at Gorongosa National Park for maintenance work such as trenching, cleaning, etc. He advised me not to apply because in comparison with my level of education, that work would be incompatible. However, I ignored the advice of my friend, firstly, because I was unemployed. Secondly, due to the humility that I have to do any type of work that humans do and I’m able to do it like learning. Thirdly, through the explanation that it was an education center where communities would be trained for the environmental welfare.

This coincided with my teaching work in Philosophy of the Environment. Some say environmental ethics is an area in which I am very passionate about. I hoped to become an environmental educator at this center, raising awareness among my friends, family and neighbors, using the same language and in the end would promote a sense of pride in my community to have a superior member of their community working for the community.

Therefore, I participate in the interview and waited for the result of the process two days later. Going into the reality of the work: in the first days, I performed the activities of trenching, raking the paths, sweeping the roof, and sanding wood. A month later, I started worked as a member of the wait staff which lasted three days, at which time I started working in the kitchen: dishwasher and housekeeping at the same time.

In September of the same year, they gave me a variety of additional tasks such as: responsible of the library at the Center, buyer, storage room keeper, various activities with the children (identification of forest species and reading) and effectiveness control. Gradually, I was removed from kitchen activities, which I had done for about two months. In July of 2012, I was interviewed again by the Park Warden for a promotion to the rank of Assistant Environmental Educator, which resulted positively. This is my position until today, in 2014.

I thank the Direction of the Park for coming to believe in my qualities, proven by promotions and your bet on professionalizing the youth of local communities to allow for the future management of the Park to be in their hands. I also thank my department colleagues who dedicate themselves to build my capacity in this new area that I desire know deeply.