Our Resolve to Live: Beneath the waters, you will find us

Despite personal tragedy, a nurse in Mozambique draws strength from treating cyclone survivors

Doctors Without Borders
5 min readMay 5, 2019


A.* is a 26-year-old nurse working with Doctors Without Borders/Médecins Sans Frontières (MSF) in Mozambique. She and her children survived Cyclone Idai, but her husband was killed. Despite the tragedy, she cares for patients in the most remote areas of Mozambique, in communities devastated by the effects of the cyclone. This is her story.

I was born in a little town but moved to Nhamatanda to study to become a nurse. I met my husband at a soccer match, right here on this field where we land the helicopter to run our mobile clinics. He was studying to become a teacher. We used to organize matches between nursing and education students, and in one of these games we met and fell in love.

In 2015, we graduated and married soon after, and moved to his house to raise our family close to his parents. We had our son, who is now two years old, and my husband helped me raise my two older daughters from my first marriage.

My husband got a job as a teacher in Buzi district and moved away from home to teach elementary school. He used to come home every month to see us, and he was so proud of his work teaching children to become better citizens. I took care of the house and worked here and there to make ends meet. We were happy.

On March 14 this year, everything changed.

March 25, 2019: Aerial view of Buzi and the devastation caused by Cylone Idai. Photo: Pablo Garrigos

We already knew bad weather was coming, as we heard on the radio. But nothing could have prepared us for what happened. My husband called us just before it hit to ask how we were and to tell us to be safe. He was so concerned, but we told him we would take care. He said he would do the same and said he loved us. That was the last time we spoke.

At 10:00 p.m. it started raining. I can’t explain to you what it was like, but never in my life, nor in my parents’ and grandparents’ lives, had anyone seen rain like that. The water started to rise in our house and furniture was floating. I put my children on…



Doctors Without Borders

Medical aid org working globally to assist people whose survival is threatened by violence, neglect, or catastrophe. http://www.doctorswithoutborders.org