I am indebted to Trish Taylor, from the Malawi Support Group, whose editing helped to make it a suitable story for the schoolchildren of Eltham.
A Children's Story about Malawi
Rainbow Worm was once deep in the earth; a special Worm, longing for freedom, different to all of the other worms digging in the soil. Rainbow Worm was storing up great energy and courage to emerge from his darkness, into the light outside. When he emerged, the sun was bright, and burned colours into his delicate skin, but he was strong and courageous and endured his discomfort for it was not to last for long. Soon came the soothing rain. It increased his strength; giving forth such great energy it caused an almighty wind to sweep Rainbow Worm up into the sky.
We recognise this today as the rainbow!.
Rainbow Worm wanted to help. He viewed the Earth from his wondrous sky place and saw a very poor but hardworking community in the African country of Malawi. He decided that this is where he could help. He realised it was one of the poorest countries on the planet, but he also saw that the people had generous and warm hearts. This is why Malawi is known as the “Warm Heart of Africa”. "How can I help?”thought Rainbow Worm. From his wondrous place in the sky he noticed a group of school children in Eltham on the vast continent of Australia. He decided to take them on a journey to Malawi. All he needed to do was to tap on the classroom window and they found themselves crossing the wide oceans from Australia to Africa on the back of Rainbow Worm.
On landing they spotted a group of people cooking up a great feast. They learned that it was a feast where all are welcomed; a feast to remember and celebrate the lives of St Kizito, a thirteen-year-old- boy, and his friends, who died because they dared to believe in the Christian God. They were welcomed into the celebration. There in the midst of the people was an old woman, her face wrinkled, but compassionate, her body bent, her character straight and true, her person small but mighty in spirit. She stood surrounded in a golden aura.
"I am your dear "Sister of Compassion ". I have been here for 25 years now so it is my home. I came here to work with these people, especially those who are suffering so much with the AIDS virus. Before I came I worked in the capital city, Lilongwe, in the hospitals as a medical missionary. But I was asked to come here to help for the suffering is great. Many things need to be done. We need help for special classes to teach families to be healthy and to improve their diets. We need help to develop language skills and to encourage sporting activities. I am trying to organise concerts around the world to raise money to help these people.”Rainbow Worm and the children listened to their dear Sister of Compassion.
It was time to leave. Sadly there was no time to stay and enjoy the feast. “Never mind," said Rainbow Worm, “We have much to keep in our minds and hearts, much to pray about". It was late so their thoughts returned to home where morning was breaking. They told the amazing story to their parents. Many people in Eltham came to hear about the story. Some formed a group that came to be called the "Malawi Support Group." This group worked hard to raise funds for Malawi and the good people of Our Lady Help of Christians in Eltham continue to do this to this very day. An act of love for the people of Malawi from the people of Eltham on that great Australian continent.