Newsletter 58: September 2014

Newsletter 58: September 2014

Our Move & New Home

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Our move to Malawi has certainly been one of the most emotional times in our lives. Of course the children take it all in their stride but I certainly had many mornings where I woke up crying. Not for being sad, but for massive change and for leaving our home and having to make a new home – no friends, not knowing where things are, everything is all so new.  Malawi is not as developed as Zambia, food is cheaper though – we are limited to taking only $100 out of the ATM per day, and no one takes Master/Visa cards, so shopping is interesting. It’s very much like how Zambia was 10 years ago in all aspects.

Rury left Mwandi with Bevan to come to Malawi to help paint the house before the girls, Mum and I flew up (this was in late June). Charles travelled with the truck we hired for taking all our belongings. Even with us leaving all the furniture in Mwandi, we had Pascal and some past carpentry students make us our new furniture and in the end we had a lot of stuff.  The dogs and cats remained in Mwandi as we knew we were coming back to Mwandi in July/August for a month and we could bring them back to Malawi then.

The trip took Charles 4 days due to wrong paper work for the truck etc. Charles had a great adventure.  We had organized a passport for him a month before and he just couldn’t believe he would ever get a passport let alone go to Malawi. Rury and Bevan only took 2 days to get to Malawi. Thank the Lord that Bevan and Charles came to help us move and sort out our house, otherwise I may have arrived here and turned right around. : )

Mum and Dad flew home to Australia in July, they were an amazing help to us – we couldn’t have got to Malawi without them. Mum packed and packed and helped with the kids so I could still work and pack to get away. It meant I could also could do work here in Malawi, unpack, hang hooks, clean and clean. Dad was amazing in Mwandi with the help of Bevan Hancock and local chaps to get the tank and UV and Filter System set up and running at the hospital.

Our House is certainly interesting.- lots of rocks /stones everywhere, walls, floors, more walls. I could write several pages on what we have had to do in our house to get it livable, but I won’t. I can say now after all this time here we are safe, have hot water, no leaks (this week) still a lot of termites (but they are everywhere in Lilongwe). The area we live in is hilly and has huge house blocks, a lot of Ambassadors live around us so it has good security – it feels safe. Electricity goes off maybe once per week and we don’t have load sharing in this area which is nice.

We have a huge yard and I am working to get a lovely garden of flowers and vegies. We have gone through 20 tons of manure and tobacco stalks (mulch). We have put it all over the yard as nothing has been done here for years. There are some lovely trees in the yard, including lemon, lime, peach and mulberry, each week I go to road side nurseries to buy plants and shrubs. Anything grows here as the soil is so fertile.

We returned to Mwandi in July/August for me to do a lot more handing over and to see how things are going. World Renew’s Southern African Director came to visit our programs to see how they can support Mwandi in the future.

Rury and Lucy returned to Malawi with the dogs. Keith and Ida and Mubita came with the 3 cats last week. So now our family is all here. Except the sheep 🙂

It’s been really hard for me to get my head around that I am not on ground in Mwandi, but still doing work each day online as if I am there. Having a large brick wall around us with razor wire and an alarm system is a bit strange and a gate that keeps “strangers” out takes getting used to. At least we know the neighbours on one side so that is nice. There are a lot of expatriates here in Lilongwe working with Aid Organizations. It is a very pretty city, smallish not too much traffic so that makes it easier for me, I am not a city person at all. The country of Malawi is very poor and that reflects in shopping, productivity and general labour. I take Lucy to school each day and listen to the Christian channel on the radio in the car that really encourages me as I feel that this is where God wants us and we need to make the most of the surrounds around us and be patient and not to worry about the OVC project, as I know God will show that support will continue.

Rury’s new job is going really well, he does a lot of traveling from home to Zambia, but its only 1.5 hrs from here, just over the border. He is challenged with going to work and not work being his life (like it was and still is in Mwandi).  He is truly blessed with great work mates. His work will take him all over Zambia and with World Renew taking on some programs in Mwandi that means he will keep a close relationship with Mwandi and that is awesome.

Lucy has started school each day from 7am to 12.15 hrs. And she is really enjoying it. The class for reception is only small and we selected the school purely for this. The other private schools have large classes and we felt coming from bush Mwandi to city Lilongwe that it might be too much for her. The school is British curriculum based, but is not really the Christian School we wanted. The only Christian School was full in February. The school is only 5 minutes’ drive from the house. Most of the teachers are from the UK – the teachers assistants are Malawian. Lucy is settling well just in the few weeks she has been at school and I can really see a change.

Cora turned 2 on the 12th September. She is such a character, carrot red curly hair with big blue eyes. Has fantastic tantrums and has the sweetest nature at the same time. She loves cuddles, sitting on Mummy’s lap when I am cleaning or painting, gardening, singing at the top of her voice and really loves water – especially all over her!  We are starting to go to a pre-school for 2 hrs. twice a week.  Cora loves all the music at church and dances on the chair, she is really enjoying going to playgrounds and fun city – a park full of jumpy castles down the road.

We have been attending a Baptist Church, which has great worship and Sunday school – we are just not getting good feeding from the preaching.  We are going to visit a few different churches this month and see if we can feel at peace about the decision we come up with.

Mwandi

Our visit to Mwandi in July and August felt a little strange for the first few days –  after getting straight into meetings with staff and volunteers it didn’t take long to feel like normal. The project looked great and all systems were working well. I spent a lot of time buying all the construction items needed to start the store rooms slab and walls. I bought blocks from Livingstone and have researched for fire doors in South Africa and come up with a cheap but good door. Also we have ordered a roller door from South Africa for the side entrance.  All window frames and door frames have been made in the village by Simon. Pascal is making all the interior and main wooden doors.  Christopher is currently working on the slab and Bevan is overseeing just to make sure all is OK.  We should be able to start the wall work in a few weeks’ time, once the slab is complete and set.

We will be coming back to Mwandi in October, during Lucy’s mid-term break; to do more handing over and by that stage I will be able to start buying items for the ceiling of the store room so it is kept cool and connects nicely to the large shed structure. I would really love to have the store room complete this year and if I can do all the hard work of logistics this should be a reality. I tell you having to organize transport, buying, cement etc. from another country is interesting.

The Piggery

I was also able to buy a lot of construction items needed for the new Piggery and BioGas Digester when in Mwandi. Bevan has been overseeing and doing a lot of the construction work and teaching the team of workers while he is working at the farm. They are doing an amazing job, the building is amazing. The best piggery in Zambia I reckon. We are so blessed to have Bevan in Mwandi, supporting and teaching the guys at the farm his knowledge on farming and pigs. The piggery will be the main income generating activity for the Agric project and hopefully it will be able to pay for some salaries at the OVC project if all goes to plan.

There has been many set-backs with taking our pigs to the Livingstone Abattoir as the Zambian Government put a stop to all transporting of Pigs due to Swine Flu , so we have many pigs at the farm and they are so fat.  The pigs that we purchased from South Africa at the beginning of last year are producing a pig that grows well in the conditions in Mwandi.  While in Lusaka on the way to Mwandi in July, Rury spoke with Zambeef manager, they have agreed to accept our pigs.  Because we travel to Lusaka each month to purchase 10 tons of stock feed, we can take pigs up once per month and bring back the stock feed and other needed items.

Other bits of news

Dr Toby Hudson (Vet) and his wife Kay have been in Mwandi now since June. They are staying at the OVC visitor house. Toby is working on some really cool veterinary programs in the community and outlying community of Mwandi. Kay is working with all the churches children’s groups running some fantastic junior Bible quiz programs. She walks all over the village organizing practices and teaching quiz masters and teachers the correct way of running the quiz, as well as looking after Toby, and many local friends  🙂

Special Needs Kids

Do you remember the young blind girl who I talked about in last newsletter? After a few operations in Lusaka, the doctors have said that she should attend a school for the blind. We shall be sending her to a school in Senanga to be assessed and we will know if she will be accepted for their 2015 intake.

We also have 3 other young girls with special needs who we will be sending to St Mulumba special school for assessment this month to see if they will be accepted for intake in 2015. I will let you know next newsletter if they are accepted. We will be needing support for them. Do you know that when I first came to Mwandi children with special needs where “taken away” or “hidden”. It was a curse to have a child who is “different” in your family. “NOT NORMAL”. So to have families come forward seeking support for their children to attend school is a real Godsend. We have currently 2 children in School for the blind and 3 attending St Mulumba Special School. Joel who was attending St Mulumba is not well enough to stay in school. Please pray for his health to improve and for the girls to be accepted into school.

During the month of August we had a technician from Lusaka come to install a new accounting program called Pastel Accounting. He stayed a week in Mwandi installing and teaching Bertha the program. She feels she has grasped the program and in October Bertha will go for some training in Lusaka called Mango Accounting. It’s only for a week but it’s an intense week of solid training to suit faith based projects like ours. I know she will really enjoy meeting others from around Zambia and she will learn a great deal. This is a positive step forward for the project and I am very excited and relieved about this new accounting program. Bertha can send me monthly reports so I can keep a close eye on things. The Accountant at the hospital uses the same program and has offered to support Bertha if she has questions or any issues.

Edward is gradually coming to terms with the work load at the project – we certainly need to be keeping him and his family in our prayers. Marina is now working at the hospital as her maternity leave is over. Edward has a lot of cultural challenges and community challenges facing him. The locals will push him and he is learning our policies and procedures.  That takes time to read and understand that all the systems are in place. He is taking on more responsibilities with finances, overseeing stores and meeting many of our committee members and families of children on the feeding program. I am in touch with him daily for support and guidance on all the programs he is learning about.

 Feeding program continues to keep those 280 children alive and strong. Keith and Ida were able to bring back to Mwandi some of the special multi vitamins we have always purchased for our children who are HIV positive and for the children who are anemic or have sickle cell. We need your continued support with this very important program. The children are looking amazing all grown up and so positive. From 6 months to 18 years is our aim for our selected children to give them a chance of non-stunting, mental and spiritual growth and mainly lots of LOVE.

One of Edward’s great strengths is the Garden, he and the guys have done a great job and the garden looks better and more productive than ever before. It is amazing seeing it all flourishing so well.

School Support

We are still seeking Education support for some High school students in Mwandi and two of our college students who have only partial sponsors. One is for Naonge who is doing a diploma in stores and purchasing in Lusaka and the other for a young woman in David Livingstone College doing a diploma in teaching. If you feel you can help support these young students with Education please contact me or Sandra Pugsley.

I am so proud of our students who are making it to college and University and doing well. I met up with a few students while I was home in Mwandi and was impressed with how mature their approaches are to life. They certainly do not take our support for granted and are bound to supporting two students in high school in Mwandi once they complete their schooling. We have all students sign policies, rules and guidelines that we expect of them.

If any one wishes to come to Mwandi to visit in 2015 please contact me with any questions etc. Even though I am not there I would still encourage you if you have a calling.

I ask for your prayers for our family as each day we make Lilongwe more our home. Pray also for the seed that we have planted in Mwandi that it keeps growing and continues to be fruitful and bear healthy fruit.

Thank you for your love, support and prayers you give to our family and to our projects in Mwandi.

Much love and thanks

Fred , Rury and girls xxx

 

Prayer Points 

Edward and family – For encouragement, uplifting and for having open ears and heart

Katie in her preparation in coming to Mwandi early next year

For continued support to project programs

Bevan for general good health and wellbeing as he continues to work hard in the up and coming hot months.

Financial support

Salaries for our Admin staff – with Uniting World stopping support we need support for our staff salaries.

Feeding program – Continued support for the nutrition support for 280 children who are registered on the program.

Education support – for those extra children who are needing support.

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