We've been in Malawi for almost one whole week now! So I thought it was about time to send out an email of updates as to what's been going on.
Over this last week we have been very busy, and have visited a LOT of different projects that Eagles is running here, and each project is very cool and has a lot going on for it. So I've been writing down what's been happening and my thoughts over the week and today I've just set up a blog to put all that in. However, I will warn you that there is quite a lot in there, so I'm just going to make a nice list with short descriptions of what we've been up to in this email, with links to the blog posts if you're interested in reading more. (btw here is the link to the blog). One last thing is that there are a few pictures in the blog posts, but due to internet speed and technological restrictions, I'm not going to put any directly in the emails and there are a lot more that I'll upload once I get back to the UK. And now for the nice long list of stuff we've done so far:
Seed distribution at the village of Jasi: Eagles helps local households by giving them seed that they can then use on their land. The idea is that after one distribution, hopefully the household can harvest enough so that next time they will already have seeds to plant. (The blog post also discusses breakfast 😃)
Visit to Dzongwe School: We went to visit a pre-primary school that helps local kids prepare so that they can successfully learn from primary school. (This blog post also has a lot of details about the Malawian education system in general. If that interests you take a look.)
Visit to Nsingano Primary School and Chatala Village: We went to visit the primary school that serves the group of villages (Known as Jasi) we have been visiting. This was called the Nsingano Primary School. We also went to visit Chatala Village where we met with Pastor Fombe, of the local church, and had a great time with the a group of people from that church.
Visiting Beka Village: This village is one located very far away from the aforementioned primary school (about 7 km or 4 mi), and as such children had been struggling to go to school consistently. They have a vision to build a new primary school in their village, in addition to the pre-primary school they already have.
Maliko Village Veggie Gardens: On this visit to Maliko Village, we saw something a bit different. The village had come together to create a vegetable garden around the bore hole that had been drilled about a year ago now. This idea had even grown more as individual villagers also have started maintaining their own vegetable gardens. (We also had some fun helping plant a plot of cabbages, as well as having a go at the pump on the bore hole)
Nsingano Adult Literacy Class: We made one more trip to Nsingano Primary School, but this time it was to see the adults who were learning! It was great to see such a well established adult literacy class, although they did have a lot of needs they wanted to fix. The blog post also has a bit of a discussion on some of the issues that came up around sustainable community-led development while we were there. That idea of community-led development is a big theme of Eagles and is also something that Tearfund believes in, and is why they choose to work with local partners.
Jasi Chlorine Distribution: On this visit to Jasi we came to see and sort of participate in the distribution of chlorine to the local villagers. This project exists due to the recurring outbreaks of cholera in the region, which occur because of low sanitation levels. We were also able to watch some skits and songs performed by local groups that told of the importance of sanitation and using chlorine to purify water for drinking.
Making Fertilizer in Masamba: The title describes this one quite aptly. However, you should all look at the blog post for a great picture of me sticking my hands in a pile of manure as well as a "How To" guide on making fertilizer
Savings & Loans Company in Thom: We made a visit to the Village of Thom, to see a Savings and Loans company that had been set up by a group of women in the village. We were also able to see how some of the loans had helped villagers to build new houses.
Visit to Nyala Game Park: This was our Saturday trip, and was quite a nice rest from visiting all of the villages. Nyala is a very small park, and the post just has a few of the best images that I took while there (Warning: There is a very cute zebra 😍).
11. Church this Morning: I haven't written a blog post for this yet and I don't think I will. I'll just summarize here. We went to the local Living Waters church in Nchalo where we are staying, and it was great fun! We stayed at the service for about three and a half hours before heading back to the hotel, with lots of singing and dancing and very very enthusiastic preaching. It was an excellent experience and about a third was in English, which was helpful. However, we did end up leaving early because the morning service looked like it would go on for at least another two hours, at which point the afternoon service was supposed to begin, which would then continue on for an ominously unknown number of hours. Anyway, it was a wonderful experience to be there, and you can feel God's presence just crashing in as everyone starts to sing and shout praises. They were also super welcoming and I think it was the highlight of my week to be there to worship God.
So there is a brief summary of what's been going on this week. Please take a look at the blog posts if you're interested! The blog posts also contain some prayer items for those particular projects, but I'm also going to put some general prayer items here:
1. One of the team members, Tim, has been suffering from side effects due to the Malaria prevention medicine we've been taking. He's now decided to stop taking them and simply make sure he doesn't get bitten. Please pray that he will recover from these effects quickly and that he will be protected from mosquito bites and the malaria they carry.
2. Please pray that we (Tim, Sam and I) will continue to bond as a team, and that we will continue to bond with those we are working with locally (Edmond, Jimmy, Trywell).
3. Pray for God to energize us as we enter into week two and as we are all still feeling a bit tired from week one.
4. Pray for the country of Malawi as regions are currently suffering from drought as well as outbreaks of diseases like cholera.
5. Praise God for all of the good work that Eagles is doing here in Malawi, and for the amazing Christian presence that is here.
So yeah, thanks everybody who has been supporting me on this trip, and thank you all for your prayers. This is an incredible experience to have, and I'm hoping that I can also share some of that with you through these emails and the blog posts.
P.S. "Zikomo" means "Thank you" in the local language, Chichewa