Tuesday, June 7

Malawi Clip

The Video below ...

The pictures in the clip is of the school children in Malawi and the opening ceremony for the new church where children were being confirmed which I attended when I was last in Malawi. You can hear their joyful singing later on in the clip. This clip was shown to supplement a talk given with another member of the Malawi Support group to our local school children preparing for their communion. At the end of the talks we handed out paper for the students to draw a picture about life in Malawi and the best 3 pictures are to receive prizes.

We were delighted with the large number of questions afterwards combined with obvious enthusiasm and courteous attention by all of the boys and girls. A few points to the talk are as follows:

Ntandire compared to here
Our school here is about the same size as the catholic school that we support in Malawi depicted in the clip- the pictures show children at school. The teachers there spend time each morning making breakfast for all the scholchdren; a mixture of maize soy and sugar to ensure nobody is hungry. As you can see in the clip they have similar classrooms but not the facilities. When the students go home it might be to a small house or village with huts made of mud brick with thatched roofs.

Early beginnings over 30 years ago

From inception the best way to help was thought to find people willing to become leaders of communities, to help in the building of churches schools and communities. Earlier on the current priest was hijacked and shot on his way back to the airport and only just survived this attack. When that happened he felt a peaceful spirit wash over telling him that everything would be okay and that feeling of fearlessness has never left him. Today 47 communities have blossomed under his stewardship.

Today these 47 communities covering 12 000 parishioners all help one another. Each has chairmen, a secretary and treasurer and many have constructed small properties which they can rent out to provide a pool of funds to help people in need. Each community takes responsibility for their people to ensure every person keeps their own medical records so that if they need to go to hospital they will have record of prior treatment. You can see their joy in the video of the church opening at Ntandire. Last year the first lady (wife of the president) visited this area and was impressed with the community spirit and all of the work being undertaken.

Malawi is the warm heart of Africa
Malawi is often known as the warm heart of Africa because the people are very warm and friendly and I did not encounter a single rude Malawian the whole time that was over there. Most Malawians live with their extended families in huts grouped together in villages. A spirit of neighborliness’ and sharing dominate their existence.

The support group has helped these communities over the past 10 years in number of different ways: to renew two churches, build accommodation for AIDS sufferers, erect classroom shelters, electrify school buildings, build a security wall, provide funds for seeds and fund the church at Ntandire. More recently we are providing sustenance for all of the schoolchildren, scholarships for education and school fees for those who canot afford them

The community at Ntandire has just finished building a kitchen in the nursery school from a gift of ceramic stoves which cuts down on the wood used by more than 50%. .The woman there started the nursery school with over 100 children who are also fed 3 times a week and take turns to teach and cook on a voluntary basis. The school fees project we fund and the funding of the children for both places are going very well and we look forward to seeing even more new leaders emerge. Soon will come the time when we see the last of the missionaries needed as these vibrant communities become self sufficient. That day is fast approaching.
Whilst in Africa I listened to many people’s stories, including that of a grandmother, whose experience was typical of many in their community in terms of church, faith and children. It wasn’t until later that I learned that her husband had died the previous year from HIV/AIDS. She was also infected and acknowledged her past sorrow, but lived a joyful existence. She had let go of her physical suffering and, by focusing on the spiritual, transcended her past sorrow for present joy. While we have great concern for her and the many others, including orphans, who carry a heavy burden through no fault of their own, their joyful spirits, unimpeded by the severe material hardships they endure, remain a true testament to their faith

Snapshot of Malawi

Malawi, situated in southeastern Africa has a population of nearly 15 million and was first a British protectorate of Nyasaland in 1891 and became independent n 1964. The current President Mutharika won a second term in 2009 and has helped the country progress with agricultural reform with assistance in fertilizers and better methods for farming. The country borders Mozambique Tanzia and Zambia and is one of least developed countries in the world heavily dependent on agriculture with about 90% of the population living in rural areas
Malawi's climate is tropical with a rainy season from November to April. The country is dominated by Lake Malawi which drains into the Zambezi river through the Shire River.
The May 2009 presidential and parliamentary elections were declared free and peaceful giving President Bingu wa Mutharika and the Democratic Progressive Party (DPP) a mandate for a second term of office. Women won 21% of the seats, increasing their representation by 50% from the 2004 to 2009 Parliament.

Special Equipment for Malawian Cooking
The Malawian cooking methods are basic ones and you don’t need any special equipment to cook any of the dishes in the Malawi cuisine. Your everyday cooking pots and pans are enough to cook a complete Malawian meal. However, if you want a true Malawian food experience, you should know that cooking is still done the traditional way in Malawi. In the vast majority of Malawian homes, food is cooked over a wood fire using a tripod made of three supporting stones. Women (and children helpers) are responsible for everything concerning the food from market shopping to dish washing. As Nshima is eaten with the hands, everyone washes in a communal bowl before and after the meal. Many Malawians have mud stoves outside of the house, where they cook bread.
St Kizito

Friday 3rd June was the feast day for st kizito - the boy martyr who was burned to death along with 25 others for failing to renounce his faith and submit to the King of Uganda back in 1886. Today his spirit lives on in the warm heart of Africa


susan said...

That's a wonderful story. I'm glad you mentioned the part about how the experience of the priest after being shot only strengthened his resolve. The world would be so much better if everyone could emulate the kindness and politeness of Malawians. I'm glad you and your community have been blessed with the opportunity to help.

gfid said...

my youngest son is traveling to Nairobi soon with his father and and a friend of his dad who is from there... he's very excited about seeing it. son, Luke is a film maker, so i know i'm in for some beautiful photos and film footage on his return. I'm not sure how far afield they're going. my granddaughter was delighted to learn that her pet guppies' family roots are in Africa as well. the world just keeps getting smaller, doesn't it? beautiful photos and film clip. i love the music and dancing.

lindsaylobe said...

Hi Susan & Granny Fiddler - Thanks for your interest – Susan - It was a wonderful story and Fr Taylor is a towering figure, much loved and devoted to the people. He has considerable sway to invoke goodness and trust. Continually he places his trust in future leaders believing that he in turn was given that trust from the time of that first life threatening event almost when he first arrived over 30 years ago. That kindness and politeness of Malawians is infectious.
Granny F- What a wonderful experience for your youngest son traveling to Nairobi soon. I look forward to seeing some of the beautiful photos on your BLOG or a link. What an interesting development to learn about your granddaughter’s family roots in Africa as well. Indeed the world does get smaller as we become more aware of our roots and inter dependency.

Seraphine said...

i'll bet the bread cooked in the mud ovens is delicious.
thank you lindsay for sharing your experience with the people of malawi.
it sounds like we (western society) have as much to learn from them as they have to learn from us.
best wishes to everyone.

gfid said...

um.... the granddaughter's only connection w Africa is through her pet guppies' family roots.... probably many generations removed.... but we're told they live in the wild in lakes in the country of Malawi. who knows, though, what family connections the future might bring?

♥N said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
♥N said...

A heartwarming story, Lindsay.

I would love to try a true Malawan meal.

my new address: http://lecafedujour.blogspot.com

lindsaylobe said...

Hi Sera,
We have indeed learnt a lot from Malawi including a sharing in delightful dishes. The warm heart of Africa can teach us about the joy in sharing and rejoicing without dependency for material things.
Hi Gfid
Ultimately I think we all related to Africa - it is our home from which we all once came.
Hi Nova
I am sure you would enjoy such a Malawian meal- thanks for your news address

Best wishes

Mercutio said...

Was wondering if this mixture of soy, sugar, and maize would be ugali.

This is a good work that you do.
Of course, sustenance must come first. First plant the field, then build the house.
But with a view toward the future.

Well done.

I like the story of the priest surviving the attack.

susan said...

I hope you and yours are well and enjoying winter? It seems hard to believe it could be winter anywhere right now.

lindsaylobe said...

Hi Mercutio
The soy sugar and maize are purchased in bulk and mixed together at the school to be served as a porridge. It is similar but not really ugali as such.

The community at Ntandire has established a vegetable garden near the church. Edible vegetables also grow wild everywhere and Malawians make a habit of planting maize at the side of the road and in every public space available.
At the back of the parish house Fr Paddy (78 years young) established a magnificent orchard from scratch several years ago which today boasts over 100 different fruit tree varieties. He undertook this venture aimed at encouraging everyone to do likewise in an area where the soil is quite good.
The medical missionaries also have undertaken a programme to encourage Malawians to eat a more varied diet and reduce their over reliance on maize. This had unexpected bonus since husbands became absolutely delighted with their wives coking and it didn’t take long for everyone to accept more variety into their diet as matter of course wherever possible.

HI Susan I have been in Sydney as my wifes elderly parents both need more care which is being organised – only just back but my wife had to fly back to help so I havn't had much time for blogging.

Cold at the moment !
Best wishes

susan said...

It's always difficult when we have to look after those who love us. You and your dear wife have my sympathy and understanding. I'm glad to know you're both in good health.
Best wishes.