Thursday, September 26, 2013

Cook Shack at last!

The new School Cafeteria Cook Shack.

The Cook Shack that was long under construction in Chipulukusu is finally completed.  The hard-working Kafwa that cook the giant pots of porridge for school lunches will now have shelter from the hot sun and cold rain.  Up until now, they have cooked outside subject to whatever the elements brought.

The long delay in construction was due to a lack of bamboo poles long enough to build the roof structure.  We wanted a super-sized school cook shack rather than a family-sized one.  The poles have to be 'imported' from the rural area (usually via bicycle) and the longer size is not readily available.  The art of making thatched roofs is being lost in the compounds near town where the schools are located.  The artisans can only be found in the rural areas where thatched roofs are still the norm.

First Graders occupying Cook Shack for the Day
The first day the roof was finished, the first graders all moved their desks into the cook shack for a field trip experience!  The next day, however, the cooks had fully claimed the cook shack and the kids were back in their classroom.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

An Angel Investor

Josephine (left) visiting with another Wasaidizi
Kayembe Gracia had a really tough life.  At 18 years of age, she was living with her grandmother who had been her caregiver since her parents died of AIDS some time ago.  Eventually her grandmother was incapable of working and helping financially.  The girl wanted to go to a school to learn to sew so Josephine, the supervisor of the Wasaidizi, paid the tuition for her to go to school.  Kayembe is very grateful to Josephine for her generosity.  She now has a profession and can make a living for herself and her family.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Impact and stigma of AIDS

Sherri & Gershom meeting with Wasaidizi in Lubumbashi

Kibale Mewdeka, a young woman in DR Congo, lives in a small house with 10 other people.  Kabo Modestine, one of the Wasaidizi, noticed that Kibale was looking pale and thin and began encouraging her to go to the clinic to be tested for AIDS.  Because of the stigma associated with AIDS, many people do not go to be tested and to receive the free meds available from the government clinics.  With Kabo's encouragement, however, Kibale finally consented to go to the clinic.  She tested positive for HIV and was given the needed ARV drugs.  She is now gaining weight, feeling much better, and grateful Kabo reached out to her.  Another Wasaidizi victory!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

The ultimate Gift

Joyce at training session at Lake Malawi
One of our long-time volunteer Sinkhani, Joyce Mkandawire, has quite a story to share.  Several years ago she began helping a 12 year-old boy who was  living with his grandmother.  His mother died when he was 11 months old leaving him an orphan.  The grandmother did not know how to care for him so Joyce often visited the grandmother, teaching her how to feed him a balanced diet and how to keep their home and clothes clean.  The grandmother was very grateful and thanked Joyce encouraging her to visit as often as possible.  The grandmother passed away recently so being a compassionate Sinkhani, Joyce took the boy into her home to raise.  Joyce reports he is quite a little artist and is very happy and doing well in school.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Moms go to school

Little home in Emfeni, Malawi
The Sinkhani in Malawi continue to provide a huge ministry to those in need.  Their recent report for April-May indicated they had monitored 5126 babies AND held health classes for over 3416 mothers.  The Sinkhani wisely work in teams of 2 or 3.  While one is weighing the babies another is holding a class for the waiting mothers teaching sanitation, nutrition, and other healthy practices.  They traveled to five villages surrounding Kamsombeni Clinic and seven villages around Kavitowo Clinic recently.  Most of the villagers live in modest grass-thatched homes.  According to the Sinkhani, many of the women knew little about helping themselves.  Now they are giving thanks and sharing their testimony with other people about how helpful the Sinkhani have been teaching them about balanced diets, clean drinking water and AIDS prevention.  As our Sinkhani reporter, Edina Kumwenda said, "The life will be better now because they know many things about good health."

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

One bead at a time

The bead making project Cherry started has turned into a booming business!  We sold over $2500 worth of bead jewelry at the World Conference in April.  The bead makers were so inspired they immediately began making more.  This trip they had over 400 more necklaces made and ready to sell me.  Monica made 63 necklaces by herself!  one of our other Kafwa, Theresa, said "Monica is my hero!". Each necklace takes about 3 days to make by the time they cut the strips of paper, form each bead, apply two coats of varnish, and string them into necklaces.

We  paid them over $1200 "wholesale" for the beads and will sell them for a profit and send the difference back to the schools.  This is making a huge impact in the community.  The women excitedly talked about being able to provide a chicken dinner for their families, pay school fees, and make a donation to the schools.

If you belong to a book club, church group or have a way to sell a few beads, let Lisa know at  We would be delighted to send you a few on consignment.  The quality of each batch is better than the last.  People have a hard time believing they are made of paper.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Matt's summer in Zambia

Matt Waite has been back from his Zambian WSC experience for several weeks now but the impact of his summer in Zambia will live on.  Here's one of his stories...

Reported by Matt Waite
We met with a 7 year old named Jonathon who lives with his mother. His father got sick a few years ago and passed away, and shortly after his younger brother died as well. Jonathon said he doesn't have many friends at school, and used to get bullied and beat up at lunch time until the Kafwa, making lunch, started to stick up for him. 

He says he has bad dreams often, is very lonely, and is sad almost of the time. He seems like a perfect candidate for the CSS group, and would like to go, but his mom wants him to come home straight after school so he can't go to group. 

Patrick [Matt's WSC partner] and I talked to some of the older kids who are in CSS to see if they could keep an eye on him. We also talked about having a discussion with some of the classes about what it means to be a young peacemaker. 

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Our littlest Giver

Remember Jeff's Run for Kids last month?  A super success in every way with a grand total of over $4,000 raised for HealthEd Connect.  One of the back-room stories you may not have heard, however, occurred in his home several days before the race.

As Jeff related it:  I've been telling Grayson [his adorable son] about my run to help kids in Africa who need food and good schools.   He said that he wanted to give some of his money from his piggy bank to the kids. 

.... we emptied his piggy bank and he picked how much he wanted to give.   Though he has no real concept of money, he was able to separate his coins into what he wanted to "give" and what he wanted to save.  His "give" pile was much bigger than his "save" pile.   It's so great to see his generous spirit come out.   I need to remember this when he won't share his toys.