They found the Malawian winter, from May onwards, surprisingly cold for a few weeks, necessitating coats, hats and scarves which had at first seemed incongruous. However, embarking on the new challenges with characteristic enthusiasm and commitment, they soon found their feet helping to run a children’s centre in the south of the country.
The centre is home to 27 children of varying ages, all orphans with no family able to care for them. With malnutrition a fact of life in the local community, another 100 children come to the centre daily to receive a nutritious fortified porridge, Likuni Phala, with some staying on for the pre-school class until midday.
Nearby Samuti Village is where Les and Kathie’s initial involvement with Malawi began. They are currently re-structuring the nursery school that they set up five years ago, and being close at hand are better able to monitor the well-being and progress of the children. The 60 children in the nursery school also receive Likuna Phala, giving them the vitamins and minerals they need in early development. Basic teaching on good hygiene is given to both staff and children, thus reducing the potential for sickness that could be fatal to these young children.
The three teachers at the nursery have had more training and have started the new term using different, improved teaching methods. Classrooms have been repaired and decorated, a play area with swings constructed and many educational toys purchased. The surrounding land is being used to grow crops to both use and sell, and a cow makes her contribution towards running costs, giving milk to sell.
How easy it is to succumb to ‘compassion fatigue’ as the seemingly insoluble problems in Africa continue. However, this undertaking which is purely on a voluntary basis, funded by a number of people giving monthly sponsorship, is surely making a difference, and is an example of what can be done when we grasp opportunities that come our way
Les and Kathie can be contacted on firstname.lastname@example.org, and welcome prayer or financial support for the projects.