Winter report 2013
including trip to Malawi Sept-Nov
Following floods earlier this year when so much of the maize crop was destroyed, availability is decreasing while prices soar.
We bought maize in April at K88/kg, which was more than twice the price of the previous year, but now the cost is K150/kg. Desperate, even some of the acutely vulnerable have tried to hire themselves out to prepare others fields just to earn a few kwacha to buy a little maize - the staple diet - but even that option is no longer a possibility as the fields are now ready for the rains.....
Because of this grave situation, we brought in new feeding programmes to help those most at risk—many haven’t eaten for days…..
We also repaired 3 boreholes while we were there, and then a further 3 as we left with help from Wilmslow Wells—clean, safe, local water was restored to thousands.
During September & October, we built 3 houses for vulnerable
families, and replaced roofs for others before the imminent
arrival of the annual rains.
Sanderson and his wife Besta (right), elderly and hungry, along
with the 2 orphans in their care, were living in this collapsing
borrowed house. Inside was almost empty,we found only a few
belongings, but no food, furniture, sleeping mats nor blankets.
Mosiwa, elderly, AIDS-affected, and living with leprosy, along with his wife and their 2 orphans had lost their home in the rains 2 years ago, and were forced to live apart because of dangerously decrepit housing.
The 3rd house was for Amos, elderly, blind & AIDS-affected.
All are now safe and secure in their new homes.
The beginning of the academic year 2013/14 seemed chaotic in the schools, but thanks to our UK sponsors, we were able to increase the number of students on our programme to 101.
We have paid their fees, exam costs, and supplied each with a new school uniform.
Last trip, earlier in the year, we arranged to supply “Yankho” members (our AIDS support group) with funds for five community kholas and chickens. These have been built and the chickens are starting to breed.
This is a “pass-on” plan, with eggs being shared and chicks passed on to other members in the group to start their own flock - aiming at long-term income generation.
We’re still pressing in on the rabbit project as future “fast food”. One of the challenges is the community khola (housing) design – must be comfortable, strong enough
to withstand extreme weather, dogs, and other predators, but economical to build. Easy manure collection is also a priority, as composting is a key factor of our agri-strategy.
The first 3-hutch rabbitries have been built for orphan-supporting vulnerable families, each receiving 2 females and a male. In time, this group of just three rabbits will provide meat each week to improve the diet of these protein-deficient families, and also stock for breeding, to pass on, or sell.
Hunger and water supply, as ever, are the urgent challenges.
Partnering with other NGO’s we’ve continued to improve the community water system, but it’s a slow job fastidiously weaving between indolence and corruption! 6 huge metal pipes were stolen from the water supply high up the mountain, some of which resurfaced in the local market, converted into hoe blades for sale! The police were involved, but were not able to do much. Eventually the pipes were replaced and we were happy to respond to the community’s request to provide cement to ensure it doesn’t happen again. These improvements are expected to provide a better water supply all round the area.
We happily responded to those who wanted to help themselves by supplying small business grants, empowering villagers to trade in fish, cooking oil, rice and paraffin.
In addition to our regular projects, we gave out emergency food & supplies, reading specs, clothing, blankets, seeds, funded healthcare/transport, and chicken vaccination.
We had amazing opportunities to take out a remarkable film, based on the life of Jesus, into remote communities, armed with a bed-sheet screen, projector, laptop, generator and speakers.
Many hundreds came to watch - lives were changed! ….. (more info)
Community khola prototype
Bricks and transport are expensive so we’re planning a bamboo alternative.
This is page 1 of winter update 2013