Off at 9am to head back to Mtendere…before that though I had wanted to stop of at the women’s government run clinic that I try to help out when I can. I wanted to see my friend the head matron there and see if there was anything she could tell me she needed that I could bring back for her in June. I asked Isaac to stop off at a small store along the way so I could purchase some pain reliever (here I think it’s called Panadol”) so that I wouldn’t arrive empty handed. The small shop had a few boxes which were opened because usually they are sold by the tablet. Each box has 100 small packets w/ 2 tablets in each packet. There were three open boxes on the shelf so I because I wanted to buy all of them we had to dump them all out and count how many packets was left in each box. Came out to 252 packets, I paid and off we went.
We got to the clinic and as always it was full of women and children. The clinic is mostly for pregnant women, women in labor, and small children. There were people everywhere sitting inside and outside, people on the ground and crowed in the halls. We found our way through the crowd and inside to look for the head matron, we found out she had gone but were told we could speak to another nurse. I let her know I was a friend and was dropping a gift and wanting to know if when I came in June if there was anything they were in need of. Of course the list was long, but I tried to get her to narrow it down a bit for me. We agreed on latex gloves, thermometers, and more Panadol. They had none of any of those things currently.
The bag of Panadol I brought was quickly opened and started to be used. Last year they had asked for scales so they would have a way to weigh the mothers who were expecting and the new babies. I had been able to get several for them, but now she was telling me they had opened a new clinic in another village and were in need of one more. I knew that a few had been donated at Mtendere by Tony Kliens group and that last year when several of my volunteers and I had cleaned out the storage room there they had a few extras that were not being used. Isaac and I left the clinic and went on to Mtendere. I was able to see a few of those that were not there the other day. Victor and I spoke and I asked if possible I would like to take one of those extra scales up the road and back to the clinic if they did not need it. He said that was fine and took me to the store room.
I was excited to see that it was almost just as my group had left it. Everything was still in order and the scales I remembered were still on the shelf. It took us some time to get the scale working and make sure it would read in kg instead of pounds. We got that sorted out and then I went back to see Mama Kita (she was getting in the bath when I had arrived). I told her I wanted to get a picture of her for my Father so once I had worked out the scale issue I went down to her house and found here done with her bath and not just done, but dressed to impress in her Sunday best with jewelry on and all 🙂 ready for her close up as we say!
We visited for a good while and the little kids came and sat while we did. Eunice has Malaria so she was home from school and of course Harry, Anderson, Michael, and Janet were running around. Took a few pictures collected a few letters for volunteers back home that some of the kids had written and off we went again back to the clinic to deliver the scale. Walking through the clinic with the hundreds of women and children packed in is something you don’t forget. There were small children laying on the floor sick, women holding newborns and just sickness all around. It is your instinct to hold your breath as not to let any of the illness in … of course that isn’t possible, but I catch myself doing it when I’m inside there. The nurse who I had seen just an hour or so before was thrilled when I returned with the scale. Hugs and thanks were given and the bag of Panadol was now almost empty that I had brought that morning.
My meeting with another project wasn’t scheduled until 2:30 so Isaac and I had some time to kill. He wanted to take me to his favorite place where he and his work mates sometimes eat lunch. I had been before, but wasn’t aware they had food there. We went and sat outside at a small table chatted and had some chicken and chips (fried potatoes) and a coke. When I do have to time to just sit and talk with Isaac I learn a lot. I ask a lot of questions and he is very tolerant of explaining all things Malawi that I don’t understand. There is still a gasoline crisis going on that is getting worse by the day. Everyone here is trying to figure out how to get it, if the stations have it, etc.
After lunch we headed to pick up Andrew and visit another project here close to Kumbali. As is always the case when we arrived we were greeted with singing and prayer and speeches from those who run this project. This particular project serves around 700 orphans. It is unique in the fact that a community has been created where family members who have taken in orphans can live in houses on the grounds and the children can grow up in a family setting while getting assistance from this community. A school has been built and the project offers breakfast for all 700 orphans each day as well as the care givers.
I know I’m not quite explaining this well, and it took time for me to understand just how things worked here at this site, but once our “meeting” was over and we had been given a tour I had a much better understanding. I was again asked to speak to the group and although I didn’t want to I sucked it up and stood and spoke. It was a simple speech and I just explained to all the care givers there that I was just like them. I am a Mother who knows education and health care are so important and I want the same things for my children that they want for theirs. I explained that I don’t have the ability to help a lot of people, but when I can help I do. I love Malawi and my travels here are always with the hope that I can assist women and children.
The tour of the homes and school took quite a long time and we again were asking many questions. It seems that this project is quite well funded by a large church in Tennessee. The buildings were top notch. Of course there are still needs, but at the end of the day I felt that this project was much further along that what I had seen the day before. I left not worried about the future of that program or the children. Andrew wanted me to see the local market. We drove a few miles and Isaac let us out of the car so we could walk through the market and he would drive around and meet us at the other end with the car. Some of you know how much I love the local markets here so I was excited to get to take a long walk through and enjoy the sights and sounds…the real Malawi as I see it. At the end of the market a few children were brave enough to approach me and I spoke to a few locals. Sweet beautiful baby in my arms and a few little girls holding on to my hands and talking to a Father I heard Andrew call to me. “Erin!! Someone you need to meet! Come here!” So I handed back the baby and walked over to see who Andrews’s friend was.
“Erin, this is my friend introduce yourself” “Hello, I’m Erin” “Hello Erin, I am Jesus Christ it’s nice to meet you!” “Oh Jesus it’s a pleasure how are you” “I am well, these are all my children here” Our conversation went on and he asked about my children and husband wanting to make sure they were all well. Jesus certainly wasn’t what I expected him to be. For one he was Malawian, he was very old, had no teeth and of course I never dreamed I would meet him there in that large market 🙂 Feeling quite lucky Andrew and I had a giggle and on we went to find Isaac. Once we were back in the car the rain started to come down. A downpour! We wondered if Jesus had something to do with it …and headed back to the restaurant for Andrew to do a few things.
Andrew and I sat discussed the project we had seen today and both had similar views. We made plans for the next day and headed to the house for some dinner. The house keeper had cooked up some chicken and to my surprise had roasted the pumpkin that I had been gifted the day before. It was amazing!!! Pumpkin, potatoes, carrots and some spices. We all ate a good meal sat for a chat and then off to bed, another wonderful day full of adventure.
I’m headed to the lake today with Guy who owns Kumbali Lodge to see their new property up at the lake and also to tour Kuti Wildlife Park because there is lodging there for groups as well as some really neat community projects that we will have a look at. I have hope that I’ll get to see a giraffe today and a zebra or two 🙂 The drive is about 2 hours and luckily Guy has a car that takes diesel so we don’t have to worry about the petrol problem. Isaac was called for a job today to transport some people back from Mozambique so it worked out well that Guy had offered to spend the day with me. Talk again tomorrow … love to you all.