Situation in Malawi
The rainy season started at the end of November. Many people planted their maize, sweet potatoes and beans. There is enough rain for the maize and the other crops to grow. Unfortunately, the rainy season has also caused some damage to certain areas that received too much rain, or rain accompanied by very strong winds which caused flooding. Despite the warnings that were issued by the government, people continue to stay close to their house instead of moving to higher areas, so some of them lose all their possessions and their houses fall down. It is difficult and sad to see pictures of these kind of events. Hopefully things will not get worse, but weather forecasts predict for a lot more rain for January.
The clinics have been going well; many people request our help. They come from many different areas and some arrive as early as 5 am and wait in the project’s garden to make sure that they will receive help that day. We work with a number system, so people who arrive early are also among the first to be assisted. Unfortunately, it is with great sadness that we have said goodbye to two good assistants: Liz Howard and Judith Edwards. Both of them returned to their respective home countries rather unexpectedly. We will miss them both as friends and as colleagues. We were relieved when we found a replacement and we will now continue to work with Alex MacLean, a general practitioner from Scotland, and a Malawian nurse called Gladys. Margreet Mbendera will also re-join our team. She works as a volunteer via a Faith Based Organisation.
The daycare has performed well in both October and November. The children enjoy coming to the project and we can clearly see their progression; from very calm and timid, to much more free and assertive. They enjoy playing outside with the materials we offer and they enjoy the activities in class. Most of these are new to them and it continues to be difficult to see that there are quite some children that come in looking dirty, simply because they do not have a piece of soap to be able to wash themselves and their clothing at home. We have said goodbye to teacher Bernadettah, who will be pursuing further studies, and we have hired teacher Martha in her place. Because the daycare and rehabilitation centre closed in December, we were able to provide all the children and their families with a little bit extra for the month of December: they received 10 kgs of maize, some beans, soap, Vaseline and green soap. It was clear to see that the mothers were very much excited by this support.
Starting on 30 October 2018 we hosted two Dutch volunteers, Jorissa and Hanne, who came to assist with our project. They are students from the University of Enschede where they study Health. They will remain with us until 22 January 2019. They have been very active within the project: they organized a creative activity every week, which both the children and the staff very much enjoyed. Jorissa and Hanne enjoy organizing activities outdoors and the children visibly enjoyed the extra attention they received.
The number of patients at the rehabilitation clinic continues to grow, but it can be challenging to maintain contact with patients. We receive sufficient applications and many mothers come to see us with their children, but some stop after several visits. Fortunately, there seems to be a group of mothers and children who continue to come and they are very positive about the kind of support they are getting from our employees. They enjoy visiting the place and they are happy that their children are receiving the attention they deserve. The children’s mothers received an extra donation towards the end of November: they received 5kg of likuni phala (special maize flour for porridge), soap, Vaseline and green soap. The mothers were very happy with this unexpected support!
We, Esther, Richard and Chikondi, were able to spent the month of December in the Netherlands, visiting family. We were able to do this because we received the plane tickets as a gift. It was really nice to be able to recharge a little bit, taking warm showers (which we can’t do at home), and just regain our energy because life in Malawi can be quite tough at times. We enjoyed spending the holidays with family. Richard last visited the Netherlands nine years ago. On 15 December 2018 we organized an information meeting at Plantise (the former plant nursery at Leo Ammerlaan). Here we talked about our life and work in Malawi for people who were interested to hear more about this and there was also an opportunity to ask us questions. We would like to thank the Firm Leo Ammerlaan for providing us with the space to do this. We were also able to link up with a variety of other sponsors, friends and family so it was a really nice experience.
We would like to thank everyone who has supported, in whichever way, the Baobab Kids Foundation in 2018. It really helped us to continue the project and support children from poor families; this was very much needed! We hope that you will continue to support us in 2019 so we will be able to continue our activities in Malawi, because without your help we will not be able to do so. Many thanks!
If you have any questions or remarks about the foundation or if you want to become a supporter, you can send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kind regards from a rainy Malawi,
Esther and Richard.
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Bankrekeningnummer: NL03 RABO 0160 3557 45 Rabobank t.n.v. Stichting Baobab Kids