Fiona Newsletter

Fiona Newsletter

Dear Friends,

I hope that you are well.

We are all currently in Australia and the first time in 10 years that we are home for Easter. What a special time to be able to share with family and friends.

The girls just love being here on the farm and spending time with Grandma and Grandpa

Back to Malawi.

Lilongwe has become our home and we are settling into our different life. It was definitely God’s timing for us to move from Mwandi. Our children are no longer sharing us with hundreds of other people 24/7 and this has been great for their development and for us as a family.  Each day we notice how Malawi is most certainly not as developed as Zambia and this makes life somewhat interesting at times. In December we had no water for 5 days and no electricity except for 1 hourr a day for 12 days running.

Lilongwe isn’t a big African city – it is very spread out and there is not a lot of traffic, just a lot of people on bikes and bike taxis. The economy revolves around subsistence agriculture and tobacco. There are neither minerals nor a huge tourist industry but a lot of International Aid keeps the country going. A third of the country is covered by a massive lake (Lake Malawi) that is very beautiful. The weather is a lot cooler than Mwandi and certainly it is lovely to not have all the sand :). We have a large block and I have created quite a large garden and work hard to keep that growing and looking nice.  With the climate being so tropical most things grow really well. We rent a house in a lovely area and Lilongwe is very hilly. We are only 1 hour from the Zambian border so we are close to South and North Luwanga National park, which has amazing animals for the kids to see.  The city is really spread out with a large wildlife park in the middle of the city. There isn’t a cinema which is sad for me, and the shopping is very average.

The rainy season has been and gone now in Lilongwe. It was late starting this year we had no rain until mid-December. We then had non-stop rain well into February. Sadly this was too much too soon and down in the South of Malawi many people lost their homes and crops, 300,000 people were affected in total and 450 people lost their lives. Very sad.

Lucy turned 5 at the end of Feb, we had a fun birthday party at “fun city” (a fun park down the road from our house with bouncy castles and fun activities) even though it rained “cats and dogs” towards the end of the party, it was a hoot and her first birthday party.  Lucy goes to school each day from 7 am to 12 noon – at the Acacia International school. There are only 7 in her class and the other children are lovely. Her teacher Mr Cook is Welsh and there are a few Malawian class assistants too.  Most of the others in her class started attending the school when they were two and three, but Lucy has slotted in well and is catching up to where the others are at. The school follows the British curriculum, the only one in the city. She has swimming lessons as part of school each Friday and is really doin g well. In August Lucy will start grade 1 and start ballet classes and she is so excited. She really enjoys Sunday school too and is a great help in the garden and helping Mummy with chores around the house.

Cora is growing up so quickly, she is 2½ and no longer our little baby. She is a red headed energy-filled cheeky ratbag, she makes us all laugh a lot. Lucy and Cora are like chalk and cheese but are the best of friends. Cora has started going to kindy twice a week in a Montessori School just in the mornings and loves it. She loves painting, colouring in, singing nursery rhymes; she never stops and loves it out in the garden too. Cora loves going shopping and going out for dinner, which is a new family outing for us that we never did in Mwandi. Unfortunately there is no Sunday school for Cora at church but she goes to a crèche and she likes that. She just loves going to church especially singing and praying.

I am still spending many hours each day doing work for the OVC Project – thank goodness for internet and skype. I keep in close contact with senior staff to support them where I can. I am still authorising finances, organising major construction and admin duties. The major construction work is close to completion which I am so happy about, as trying to get things organised for building and buying items from South Africa etc. isn’t easy and its slow work from another country.

I am getting to know more people in our Area 10 where we live, especially parents at school and at Church. We have been attending the International Bible College church and the kids are really enjoying Sunday school and I am hoping to start attending bible study now Cora is at kindy in the mornings. It isn’t easy for me but I am getting used to it. I managed to find a decent hair dresser but there isn’t anywhere to buy new clothes for the kids and myself. There are shops that sell lovely dresses but not casual clothes so I need to take back as much as possible for the kids. I have found a swimming pool to start doing laps a few times a week as my back has gotten pretty bad in the last 6 months, but the pool is so green that I am going to wait until rainy season is finished before I go and suss it out again. 🙂

Rury’s work is mainly in Eastern Zambia and now in Western Province with an AI program that he is running with Dr Paul Evans in Mwandi. There has been a terrible drought in Mwandi and in Western Zambia in general with an 85-90% crop failure.  World Renew and UCZ will be running a large drought relief program in Mwandi to mitigate the effects of the lack of rain and the poor food security situation so I can see that we will be travelling down to Mwandi a few times this year. Rury travels a lot, he heads to Zambia for a couple of days every fortnight to visit partners and programs. His regional office however is in Lilongwe, not far from our home.

Rury plays Rugby Tuesday and Friday nights and once per month he has games on a Saturday afternoon. He loves it and Lucy has been out to see him play a few times and is very impressed with her daddy.

Rury was recently in Mwandi and was able to attend the opening of the newly renovated hospital that he had spent so much of his time coordinating that work while we were in Mwandi.

Link to Rury’s newsletter : http://worldrenew.net/sites/default/files/2015-03%20SAf%20news.pdf

The OVC Store Room is very nearly complete I purchased epoxy flooring from South Africa for the store room as we have some men in the village trained how to install the flo or and it’s so long lasting. We also purchased proper fire reels, signs etc. Bevan Hancock returned to Mwandi in March for 5 weeks and he has been overseeing construction work at the store room. He has installed wire mesh around the containers and other places to “bat proof” the building and so I know he kept an eye on the guys to keep them working hard to get it finished. We have also purchased some water proof shade sails for the new cement walk way from the store room to the kitchen. We are so blessed for all the financial support people have given to the project for the re-building of the store room. It is just amazing to see how wonderful the building is. We have again insured all the items in the store room and the new buildings we have erected.

We are building some flats to rent out to Zambian Government workers who are teachers, nurses, Police and Immigration etc. this year to generate income for our senior staff salaries at the OVC Project. If anyone that has some building experience and would like to come to Mwandi for a few months in the next few months, to oversee the building of these flats, please let me know as Edward and Pastor Mudenda are too busy to watch over the builders each day. A site manager would be of great help to this very important construction project and a huge answer to prayer.

Edward and his family are back from Furlough in Bangladesh (December, Jan and Feb ). Edward has been in Zambia since August, 2009. He first worked with Southern Presbytery in Choma Consistory as a social program co-ordinator and was then transferred to Western Presbytery and Mwandi. He and his wife (Marina) are mission partners with The Church of Bangladesh (COB). Edward went to the National University of Bangladesh where he did Bachelor of Social Science (BSC) so along with his administration role he has a good background in social work too. Edward and Marina have two children, Ethel, 5 years and Miguel, 1 Years 2months old. Edward’s mother also lives with them in Mwandi. I ask if you can pray for Edward and his family. Being the new “Boss” at the project is a demanding job and Administration is time consuming and as he is finding out you cannot always please everyone.

  

    Edward, OVC Project Co-Ordinator, & His Family      

Katie is adjusting well to life in Mwandi Mission. We keep in contact a lot as she learns the ropes and I only hope I am able to support her where she needs it. Her work mainly involves supporting staff, an overseas liaison person, organising our International volunteer visits, fundraising and some general admin and finance duties. She has been so blessed to have quite a few friends and visitors visiting her and staying at the visitor’s house. Mwandi can be a lonely place even when you are surrounded by hundreds of people.

Please continue to pray for her as she continues her work at the project and all our staff and their families.

Giblet is no longer working as a teacher at the Rainbow pre-school, he is a full time child counsellor at the project. He has completed his diploma in counselling. Our project is certainly in great need of a counsellor at the project for these extended hours. The lady counsellors continue to volunteer in the afternoons at the project and in the community were best needed.  Giblet is doing a great job and doing a lot of counselling with families to children who are on the feeding program. There is a large need for continued educating and counselling for many families within the community,

“Keep a child warm this winter”

Blankets are needed at the project for the winter months. Believe it or not it gets incredibly cold in Mwandi during the months of July and August and most of our orphaned children share blankets with siblings and other extended family members. Please help us support our children in Mwandi by buying a blanket this year. They are only $15 each and we buy them in Livingstone at the only textile factory left running.

Education support Program

(Attached overseas and Aussie pamphlets) – We are seeking sponsors to support this very important program in Mwandi. Bridget our project secretary is now coordinating the sponsorship program for our overseas sponsors – her email is : brybriana@gmail.com and Sandra Pugsley is the co-ordinator for the Australia sponsorship program.  I was able to hand over this program to Bridget only a few weeks ago and with Katie to help and support Bridget , I know the overseas sponsors are in good hands.

The Agric Project continues to produce really “fat” pigs; the butchery in Lusaka that we sell them to cannot get enough of our pigs. We have so far taken more than 80 this year and have another 50 ready to go. We are also currently producing a lot of milk from our dairy cows for public sales and OVC feeding program. We were able to purchase 500 point of lay hens this month and our aim is to buy another 500 hens in the next few months. You can help buy a hen at $10 each. We also need to buy another Boar from South Africa so we can make sure our breeding stock remains good and we can expand the number of breeding sows that we have. We currently have 8 sows and one boar but we cannot breed back any of the females we produce as they are too closely related. A new boar would allow us to start replacing our sows with younger ones and increase the number of breeding sows we have and thereby significantly increase our production. The cost of a new boar is $1500.00.

We are so blessed to have wonderful supporters all over the world and hard-working volunteers, I don’t usually single out people but I’d like to thank the members of our Mwandi OVC Project Support Team including, Anele, Liz and Judy for working so hard to get the newsletters out via email and printed to many Churches in Australia and all over the world via email. A big thank you to Heather, who for 10 years now has been supporting the project with Admin duties, Finances and creating our 2x data bases and she continues to upgrade them and check our finances and financial reports. I would never have managed all the admin duties without her and I learnt so much from her. The Lord has placed our projects vision on many people’s hearts and we are so grateful and our children are so BLESSED.

Today is 100 years celebration of ANZAC day. 100 years since thousands of Australians and New Zealand young men and woman went to war in Gallipoli. There are dawn services all around Australia in every town no matter the size and street marches too.  LEST WE FORGET.

May you have a wonderful week.

Grace and Peace

(Fred) Fiona , Rury, Lucy and Cora

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