Highland Malawi Trust

Progress in Malawi

Follow this link to the latest photos, as of November 2017, showing progress with renovating the school block at Thandazga and the long-delayed arrival of water at Chamalaza.

A short account of the trip in May 2017

After a three year absence - how would it feel to be back ? 
It did not help, to begin with that there was a new entry system including visas  which was carried out in true Malawian style  eg no method !!! However when our dear Mr Lupia greeted us and we set off on our five hour car journey to Mzuzu we can honestly say it felt as we had only been yesterday.That feeling was again strengthened as each and every group welcomed us over the first couple of days .

It was great to arrive there and hear the widows proudly telling their success stories and seeing how close to self sufficiency they are getting . 

Our planned building work had already started just prior to our visit and we can honestly say the workmen we had employed could not have worked any harder and we also had volunteers offering help. At one of our orphan centres we have managed to complete widows quarters, which includes kitchen , sleeping room and bathing room for the widows to use when doing their night watch. At present they sleep on mats in a room with the chickens that they rear for income ! We also did some repair work to their pig corrals. At another centre we built a kitchen , a double toilet and a bathing room as well as a new pig corral . We also managed to get  piped water into their yard .
These two centres could not wait to show us their maize gardens - bumper crops due to the provision of fertiliser by the Trust .
Our third orphan centre has had internal wrangling so we had to sort that . A new committee has now been elected on the maidens orders and they have had their instructions . However to show that we are willing to continue with our support we have done repairs on their corral and we leave with maintenance on their building going on as work in progress . It was hard to see what was going wrong but hopefully the issues have been resolved. 
Probably the greatest joy of all was seeing the improvement at the school . A new management team and school board have worked wonders and the school is thriving . However, and this is how Malawi works - due to the poor sanitation they were being threatened with closure !! This was regardless of the fact that they have three very good buildings and a roll of 480 pupils all getting fed daily by Mary's Meals . They receive a development fund of £50  from the government and the community had made a start on building toilets but needed cement . Trust to the rescue -  Thandazga Hygiene project underway !! Due to unexpected donations just prior to our departure and promises of donation from people following us on Facebook we were able, without hesitation to build 2 double toilets and finish off the community project of four toilets and a bathing room .
School saved - they do need another classroom block however as four classes share a classroom on a rota basis !! This will be a forthcoming project . 
We delivered over forty banana boxes which had just arrived to Mzuzu Hospital and their appreciation cannot be described and we did a trip with the under 5 mobile clinic from Ekwendeni  , helping out and distributing goods .
We have driven over football pitches to deliver training strips and where Maiden Macgill gave a wonderful interview to the local radio , waxing lyrical about how satisfied we were with the league performance of the team . Actually , other than having previously sent them strips we knew nothing about them !!But they were happy 😊 
Before leaving we provided all our groups with basics according to their needs , mattresses , pillows and bedding for sleeping quarters , towels , soap and flannels for bathing rooms , new mats for sitting on and new pots and plates .
There certainly were challenges too though mainly domestic , getting up in the morning to no water and /or no electricity and with visiting at a different time of year, it meant we shared our accommodation with many friends - all of whom had more than two legs !!! We had mozzie bites , dodgy tummies and also due to the rising numbers of pretty ropey bars quite close to our accommodation we were subjected to all night boom boom music !!
It was a lovely time to visit though and we just thrived on it all . Weather  was glorious and we were seeing Mother Nature at her finest. It was also good to see the maize fields - usually by July they have been harvested.
We enjoyed a lovely weekend at the lake , we spent time with friends within and outwith our groups , treating them to tea and biscuits or a meal, we sat through a two hour church service with singing that was spine tingling and yes we treated ourselves to treats from the new supermarket !! Another highlight was a cracking Sunday Lunch at Sunbird hotel . Please keep in mind though these treats are funded by ourselves, every penny raised by the Trust hits the ground in Malawi !
It was hard to be away when the country was thrown into turmoil with events in Manchester and you just wanted to be able to hug your loved ones . Our thoughts and prayers were very much with all those affected by the tragedy.
It was  a very successful and rewarding trip and we look forward all being well to a return visit in 2019

Meanwhile the work of the Trust continues as we have plans for further building work at the school and at one of the centres. On Saturday 10th  June just a week after returning we held a very successful Strawberry Tea which raised over £1900 .