The Kapasseni Project

The Alfazemas

Born and raised in Kapasseni Village, Joseph Alfazema fled Mozambique as a teenager in the early days of a war that was to last 30 years. He found refuge in a series of camps in Kenya before making his way to Victoria, British Columbia in 1984 as a refugee sponsored by a Lutheran church in Victoria. His wife Perpetua, also a refugee from Mozambique, joined him in 1986.

They found work as hospital cleaners, and started to raise their children, Maza, Rafael, and Sara. Though proud Canadians and active members of the Victoria community, the Alfazemas retained a strong commitment to their country of origin, keeping alive the memory and traditions of their homeland through Victoria's Mozambique Choir, which they founded with their children.

In 1995, Joseph and Perpetua visited Mozambique to renew their connection and to introduce their children to their homeland. When they arrived in Kapasseni, after an eight-hour walk along a dirt track, the Alfazemas found the village in ruins and the people demoralised. Kapasseni was hit hard in the war, with the surrounding area littered with thousands of unexploded land mines.

The Alfazemas returned to Victoria determined to do all they could to help. They started the Kapasseni Project in 1998, and, with donations from the Victoria community and help from volunteers, made annual trips to help the renewal of Kapasseni. As time went by, they both developed clear visions of how they wanted to help their people. Perpetua enrolled in college, became trained as a social worker, and set up the "Kuwangisana" home based care project, for people - mostly women - living with HIV/AIDS, chronic diseases and poverty. Joseph attended Concordia Lutheran Seminary in St. Catharines, Ontario, and in June 2006 he became an ordained minister, and was assigned for service in Mozambique.

In August 2006, the Alfazemas moved back to Mozambique, and now live in Sena Township, 22 kilometres from Kapasseni. Perpetua is working with the Kuwangisana home based care project, and Joseph's mission work includes providing services and care to people in Sena and Kapasseni.

The Alfazema's house in Sena

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