Joan did a two year teacher training course in Salisbury and learnt Cinyanja, the local language and off she went. After this she was asked by the Bishop to go to Mozambique.
“Mozambique was much more rural and very isolated. There were one of two Roman Catholic missions in the district. Ours was the biggest and look after 300 pupils. I had to train teachers. The schools’ and church finances were desperate and so were ours. We were not paid a salary and given £30 a year for personal needs. I stayed through 10 years of the fight for freedom. Most of the Frelimo were my pupils who had been trained in Tanzania. It was extremely difficult to keep an aura of neutrality. One by one the pupils vanished to fight for their country. It was extremely difficult. They would send us notes telling us not to travel on the roads because they were putting down landmines.”
She returned to Devon because of the civil war in Mozambique when the missionaries were not allowed to teach religion and so she returned to the UK and became Head of RE in a grammer school. In 2002, she decided to write the book ‘Living in the Spirit’ to raise funds for the churches in Mozambique. She was Editor of the MANNA magazine, and Director of the Southern African Church Development Trust for for many years aswell as being the Commissary to Bishop Dinis . She spent the last years of her life in a nursing home in southwestern England and died in the summer of 2019.
Her amazing account of her life in Mozambique can still be bought here. ‘Living in the Spirit’.
Very fittingly, she left a legacy to MANNA and this is going towards a new project in Nampula Diocese to enable girls from the Maratane Refugee camp to get a secondary education. As an advocate for girls education, we hope she would be very proud.