In a community where the majority of locals are terrified of the water, despite relying on the ocean for their income, these Mozambicans are teaching youngsters to swim as a way of inspiring a new generation of ocean conservationists.

Alberto, our usually chirpy housekeeper, has a melancholy air this morning. Most mornings, our greetings are a bright “Bom dia! Tudo bem?” (“Good morning! Everything OK?”) followed by a discussion of whether I’ve tried the dish he’s brought for lunch—often matapa, the traditional cassava dish here in Mozambique. Other days, we simply look across the bay for humpback whales.

“Sim, tudo bem,” he sighs. And what he tells me next reveals that everything is far from OK. His eyes well up as he explains, in English more broken than usual, that his sister’s grandson had been playing on the beach yesterday, was caught in a strong wave, and drowned.

“The sea was bad yesterday,” he muses sadly. “It is very good today.” I follow his gaze towards the ocean and he’s right. The howling winds have dropped off and the sea looks like a wrinkled blue blanket; calm and innocuous. Somehow, today’s flat water makes the tragic loss of a young life seem even more cruel. The funeral is at 11am.