We found that in general, the maize harvest was better than last year, and many had enough to last them for months, but for those who were too frail or sick to prepare and plant, the results were meagre. Already many of the most vulnerable are hungry again - and coming to our office for help.
Sadly, we’re seeing young mums, who are too weary and undernourished themselves, to feed their frustrated babies. But at least these youngsters are strong enough to cry - even worse is the child who just stares, usually an AIDS orphan, sometimes too weak to drink the life-giving goats milk in our Play Centres or too sick to eat the enriched porridge we offer.
June and July are winter months in Malawi and the temperature, particularly at night, drops significantly. We gave out blankets and jumpers, kindly knitted by our friends in the UK. Most of those in our target group would sleep on a straw mat on the dirt floor, with little to cover them, except perhaps ripped sacks or thin cotton fabric. So you can imagine how much the knitted blankets were appreciated!
Sadly, on the morning we arrived in Chiringa, our friend with leprosy - for whom we’d built a new home and Chicken project - passed away. She left two children, as orphans with no visible support nor income. Gradually, their reluctant grandmother was encouraged to take them under her wing, but Alek at 12 years old, is the main care giver to her baby brother. Unfortunately similar situations are very common in Malawi, but we help and encourage where appropriate within the culture.
12 year old Alek, with her little baby brother - whom she cares for since their mother died - clutching their new blankets knitted by friends in the UK.
Our area has a devastatingly high prevalence of HIV/AIDS - it’s estimated that 45% of the adult population is affected. Free ARV treatment is available from the big hospitals, but many lack the fare for the crude public transport, or the strength to walk the four hours to get there.
We help with transport costs, small business grants, food, and vegetable seeds to improve diet.
This widow has
Report of Malawi trip - Apr/Jun 2009
Another consequence of the AIDS pandemic, and one of our most frustrating challenges, is the major skills shortage. There is little expertise anywhere in the rural areas. veterinary care is sketchy at best, and human healthcare limited.
This is page 1 Summer trip 2009