Newsletter No 56: Feb 2014

Newsletter No 56: Feb 2014

Dear Friends,

I am so sorry it has been so long since I did my last newsletter.

It’s been the craziest 4 months since the fire in our storeroom. I know it was just a building, but it’s meant so much more to me and so many other people who have worked hard over many years filling containers, working on shelves, packing boxes etc.  I have been quite heartbroken.

We have been receiving a great deal of rain here in Mwandi. Although, ironically, it seems too late, when the crops were planted the rain most certainly was not forthcoming and now it won’t stop.

The river is closed to any fishing at this time of year from December to end of March, to give the fish time to breed.

Cora is now 15 months old with bright red, curly hair and certainly keeps us on our toes. She is running everywhere chasing Lucy and my poor cats. She is very easy going and quite the character. Not a big talker, but I have no doubt that will come. Family history is from a great line of loud talkative people – from both sides of the family too.

Lucy, turns 4 on the 25th February so she is now a big girl and has grown up so quickly, she loves her little sister and still enjoys going to pre-school each morning but is quite naughty as she gets bored easily.  Lucy loves spending time down at the farm every day with her Daddy after pre-school and loves it when we have visitors staying next door. She manages to always persuade them to read and play with her.

The big news is that Ruairidh has taken a job as Zambia Country Director with World Renew (The Relief and Development Organization of the Reformed Church of North America) and will be starting on the 1st of March, yes this year. It’s been terribly hard for us to all get our head around it, but we strongly feel that it is time for us to leave Mwandi. Lucy needs school, friends to play with and to do music, ballet and all the things little girls do. She is unable to do anything like that here. Although she has an amazing life here in Mwandi it is time for us as a family to move on. We will be moving to Lilongwe – Malawi. The majority of Ruairidh’s work is based in Eastern Zambia and is therefore closer to the regional office in Malawi than Lusaka. Lucy will attend a Christian school and is able to start in August of this year. We shall miss Keith and Ida and Mubita terribly, and all our friends and colleagues here.

We will both still play a big part in the work we have been doing here in Mwandi, as we can do a lot with email. World Renew has also committed to helping us continue our involvement in Mwandi and to actively support our projects especially in a capacity building role. We will therefore still be coming down to Mwandi as much as possible to help in this transition. It will be so hard for us to leave our home, our life after so many years but we strongly feel we need to do it for the sake of our girls and we do feel the strong hand of the Lord in all of this. It is time.

God called me here all those years ago to help support the children in need in Mwandi and it is amazing to see what has been achieved through the work of the OVC project. I am now asking, putting the word out there, if you feel called to come and work for our Lord here in Mwandi, please contact me. Yes it’s a big challenge, but it will be the most amazing work you have ever done for the Lord, He is most certainly with you all the way, lifting you up on his back when you are need it. I am not saying it will be easy, but we are needing a couple or someone who can oversee, finance, do maintenance and supervise the international visitors that come to the mission but most importantly to become a part of our children’s, volunteers and staff lives.

image007The OVC Christmas party was an amazing day for our children on the feeding program. The Children arrived so early for the days celebrations. Although a lot of the kid’s presents were burnt in the fire, we managed to give the children a tee shirt each and lollies, a lovely lunch and ice cream for dessert. Some of the girls did a drama of the nativity and we had a dancing competition, the prizes were a block of chocolate and a water bottle for each age group.

Rury saved one of the young girls with special needs life the other day. Kahimbi who has cerebral palsy was playing near the river and slipped and fell into the river. Rury happened to be outside as he thought the kids where stealing mangos from our mango tree that is on the river’s edge. He saw Kahimbi fall further down the river and go under the water. He scrambled down the big cliff in front of our house and dived in fully clothed to retrieve her from the river. After some spluttering and tears Kahimbi was saved from drowning. She was so shaken, I don’t think she will go and play at the river’s edge again.

Our school support program is in full swing for 2014, with students receiving their uniforms and stationery this week. Grade 10 results are just out this week too. We have run the termly pregnancy tests for grade 7 to grade 12. Only 2 pregnancies this term – that is the best result for 4 years. Please support this very important program, keeping kids in school is the most important gift to our children.

We have 2 girls in college doing teaching diplomas in Livingstone and we are seeking support for them. They are doing a 3 year diploma approximately $1500 per year. We have been sponsoring the girls through their high school years and they have done so well to reach this level in their education. Please, if you are able to help or you can ask your bible study or work friends if they wish to help please contact me or Sandra Pugsley (See contact details at the bottom of newsletter)

We are also asking for donations of Australia Postage stamps to cover the postage costs associated with sending out all the envelopes to sponsors. We would really appreciate your support with this please.

Senanga School for the Deaf, has been a life changing time for Namatama “Mumma”. We have seen a huge improvement in her and it’s wonderful to see. Our other children who attend special school came home with wonderful reports and the kids are now so grown up. I am so proud of them and I most certainly shall miss seeing them each holidays.

image009Our recent carpentry student graduates have been employed on the hospital renovation and have been roofing the new hospital ablution blocks. People in the village are very impressed with their work. Pascal our instructor has been overseeing them during this work, but it certainly has given them confidence and importantly income.

The projects Sewing centre sustainability program is going well and we are selling our shopping bags all over the World. We had a big order over Christmas from Carrol Financial in Charlotte who has used them as gift bags for their clients. It is amazing to think that our home made bags have been so popular. I am sending home quite a lot to Australia with our current visitors so if you would like any please contact the support team.

Mubiana our store-man has also left the project to further his education and leaves with all our love, support and blessings. We are really missing him. He is studying Pharmacy and he is funding himself. All who know Mubi, know what a humble, honest man he is and please keep him in your prayers. If any of you wish to help him along the way, please contact me. As I am sure he can really do with some extra support.

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Sishwati Mubita who has been working at the farm for a few years is now our store person. The OVC Project sponsored her through High school in Sesheke before she started working at the farm. She is hard working and honest and she is taking on the large responsibility of running the store room well. With encouragement and computer training she will pick up the job very quickly.

Our temporary store room, the bakery, is now finally finished. We have added walls, taken out doors, added windows etc. to make the bakery a great store room and when our new store room is completed one of these days, the bakery will become an administration block.

image013We currently have some Australian visitors here working on building the project – a new stores department. We are going to build a large shed like structure – block walls for the sides and internal walls. We have received the most amazing support from all over the world for the rebuild for our store room. I ask for your prayers for the support to continue not only with money but with teams coming to help out with construction. We have to rebuild all the shelving in the containers and then start sorting and labeling all the items and clothing we will receive when the container arrives from Australia in a few months’ time. With us leaving, it does worry me somewhat that I will leave here with the store room not finished, but I have to have courage in my heart to know that the Lord will see fit to get it completed.

Finally thank you all so much for your amazing support for our family and the project. I can only encourage you to continue supporting the project, it is all about the children and we shall endeavour to find a replacement for us here in Mwandi. It will happen if it is meant to be. I shall remain in Mwandi with the girls until June, after spending March in Australia. Ruairidh will come back and forth when he can but will be with us for two weeks over Easter. He will be very busy starting his job, finding a house and equipping it etc. He is visiting Canada and the US in May and we will all travel to Malawi when he comes back in late May. My prayer is that I am able to hand over to someone in that time.

Please pray that the right person contacts us about coming to take over from me and that the support for the project continues.

Grace and Peace

Fiona (Fred)

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