Welcome to 2019 and what seems already to be a rapidly disappearing year!
Here in Malawi we are in the midst of what is developing into a very heavy rainy season, with the last few weeks giving us torrential rain on a daily basis. I have shown the house on the left as it has now been destroyed by the rains and is typical of many of the huts here in Malindima village. This particular house was home to the woman pictured and her three kids. The replacement home we had been constructing for this family was also damaged by the rains and the family are currently housed in Mphatikizo. This highlights the need for the housing project this year and, from the charity prospective, makes sustainable sense as much money is used doing band-aid repairs to buildings that are not fit for purpose. Simple repairs, like replacing roofs with iron sheets ensure that heavy rains (like we are experiencing at present) will not damage the structure and, all importantly, people will remain dry!!
The damage caused by the rain is not limited to housing alone - many crops have been damaged, which means maize will be short in the coming year. The last few days we have been busy replacing bridges over swollen creeks used by children walking to school, and helping with temporary roofing on other community feeding centres in Machinga district.
Christmas day saw Mphatikizo working at Liwonde Base hospital where we were asked to provide lunch for the patients. The hospital is struggling very much with insufficient funding, a lack of qualified staff and access to drugs. Patients are usually cared for by relatives as the hospital cannot supply food and often there are no drugs available to be given to patients. People sleep on the floor and conditions seem to be deteriorating. We were approached by staff to provide their Christmas lunch, with other community organisations and businesses providing other meals on alternative days. Regina and Diana spent the day supervising volunteers and organizing meals, with Diana looking after the kids’ wards and Regina the adults. Mpatikizo feed 380 adult patients and just over 80 children. For our charity the cost was a little over $800 NZD, which for a small organistaion like ours is a significant cost. The results, however, were awesome and cemented us very much in the Liwonde community. The pictures below show the mayhem that was Christmas dinner at Liwonde hospital.
The coming of the New Year saw Phoebe, Riaan and Rosa leave us, with Rosa flying home just before Christmas and the others after Christmas Day. On behalf of Mphatikizo, Malindima village and the Smedley family, thank you for all your hard work and patience during your stay with us. You are very much missed here and we hope you will return in the future.
Volunteer-wise we have a very busy year ahead with Liv arriving in June, Dr Derrek and co in April to restart the clinic and a team, we hope, to commence the housing project later in the year. Liv will be joining Ester and the girls to continue the work with Phoebe’s education programme, the kitchen at the feeding centre needs to be completed before school starts in February and the orphanage front gate needs to be replaced as it is not in a repairable condition.
The water issues at the orphanage will be resolved when I return from Rhumpi and we need to complete the solar system before Derrek returns to the clinic. All up a busy year ahead!!! Thankyou as always for your support and I hope you all enjoyed a wonderful new year with friends and family.
Love and hugs
The Smedley Family.