"I am Apolonia Gravata, a teacher, originally from Quelimane, but I came here to work in the Balala high school in 2016.
When I first came here, the road was lousy - full of portholes. In the rainy season, we would arrive full of mud, clay, dirt. We would have one set of clothes in a bag and drive here in another. We’d need to find a place to change when we arrived.
Now, you leave home at 06.00 and at 06.30 you're here. At 07.00 sharp you are in the classroom. In the old times, you'd always be late.
Travelling from here to Quelimane, 350 km away, seems just a short distance now that the road is good. The teachers can go there during the weekend. On Sunday they can come back and get ready to be at work on Monday. We don’t get sick from all the bumps.
Now people like my colleagues are doing their Masters in Mocuba, or in Quelimane. They can improve themselves. They travel, do their studies and the next day there are here, at work.
When we come back, and bring fresh fish or other specialties, the fish arrives fresh. It’s not bruised and damaged, and it doesn't go bad like in the old times.
The road is good for the students too. They can get here on time and they’re not rushing to be home before dark. They can now stay to use the library to do their homework and study.
It was dangerous, because of the bumps and potholes in the road, especially at the end of the school day when it was often dark before they’d get home. Some of them travel 15 – 20 km by bike. We used to have a lot of people missing school, or arriving very late. Now they don’t miss school any more. That used to be very bad for their marks.
It’s especially good for the girls. Before they’d stop studying once they completed 7th grade because of the fear of the road. Now they can finish high school and even go to university."