Welcome to the March update for Mphatikizo and to what has been an incredibly busy time here in Mtubwi. As most of you have seen from the news, Malawi has been suffering the effects of a cyclone which has hit us, Mozambique and Zimbabwe.
Sitting here writing this, I am deafened by the torrential rain hitting the iron roof at a time when here in Liwonde we should be in the dry. The south and north of Malawi have been worse affected with us seeing multiple houses down, decimated crops, but thankfully not the number of fatalities suffered in the south.
Because of the immediate need, rather than sustainable development Mphatikizo has very much been doing band aid work utilizing the community centre for emergency accommodation, delivering food parcels and providing plastic sheeting and building materials for repairs to housing. The current weather patterns prove the need for projects such as our housing project, which will start on the 17th of April, and which had already targeted one of the above houses for replacement. Please pray for the rains to have stopped by the time the volunteers arrive!!
The damage has not only been limited to the village, but the accommodation at the house and the community centre have also suffered under the heavy rains.
The last month has seen the blue gates at the Community Centre (which were damaged in a storm some months ago) finally come down, to be replaced by a smaller gate and brick wall, the feeding centre/pre-school floor replaced and numerous repairs to walls and plaster.
The quarters, which will be used to house the volunteers, have had repairs to the internal walls and roof.
April sees the beginning of our volunteer stint. Dr Derrek arrived on the 3rd April to re-open the clinic, Megan and Rhys Fitzgerald arrived on the 5th and the roofing group arriving on the 16th for 3 weeks. April will be a very busy month but, weather permitting, should see some fantastic progress to both housing and health care in the village and surrounding community.
April will also see the kitchen at the feeding centre completed, where currently approximately 50 children are cared for daily. (This number will increase both as the year progresses and the effects of these recent rains become felt.) The education program continues to run daily, and the mobile library is slowly taking shape, with currently 3 outlying communities regularly exchanging books and another 5 being registered with us but struggling to exchange material due to access, thanks to the rains.
Our thoughts are also back home with the sad events in Christchurch, which took so many innocent lives and affected so many families. I will finish this here with the usual thank you for all your continued love and support.
Love and Hugs from the Smedley Family