Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Sights and sounds

Enjoy some final sights and sounds of a wonderful partnership visit to Likhubula.

Zikomo....thank you

Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Final thoughts on leaving Likhubula

Where do you start or in fact, can you at all?  The visit, as always, has had a profound impact on both of us. For Jenni, she is seeing very positive changes from when she first visited in 2005.  Water, healthier children etc. She is seeing old friends and of course, making new ones too.  For me, it was the feeling of truly being part of the community here.  There were times when each of us was working on a different project and walk down to the village on our own.  Shouts of Fyiona or JennBar resonated through the land from all ages of people regardless of which one of us it was walking by.  I really believe that we have made an impact during our short time here. Not only in the sense of projects, programmes and visits but almost more importantly, in terms of true fellowship, friendship and partnership.  The motto from our partnership is UMODZI, working together, and I think we have done this very well.

Our last committee meeting

We had arranged to hold our last committee meeting at 2pm at Nancy’s restaurant. Before that we were due to meet with Mvano but no one showed up.  The rest of  our committee was definitely in Malawi time as the meeting only started at 3:15 pm!!!  As the members arrived we had the laptop (that the Dunblane Committee are gifting to aid in communication) up and running with a slide show of not only our current visit but also previous trips.  It was a real hit.  Our committee stood around oohing and aahing and having a good laugh.  We even had some videos of some of the choirs singing which we played during dinner.

The meeting itself was great. A lot of it was a confirmation if decisions that had been made with various groups during the week.  There was further discussion about the Tailor Project  (mmmm) but also a real affirmation about how well the visit had gone and the impact that the Partnership was having in both communities. 
During the meeting, one of the bands from the church arrived. Formerly known as Brothers in Christ they have renamed themselves the Likhubula CCAP Band as they had a young woman join. As the sun set, they played one of their CDs and sang and danced along.  It was so much fun!
Nancy had made a lovely meal. We had pizza as a starter and some of the committee had never tried it.  It was then lovely chicken and rice for dinner with some veggies.  Jenni and I are always amazed at how much food can go on a Malawian’s plate, it’s piled right up high.  Nancy announced  that there was some extra and without even finishing what was one their plate, some went up for more.  I think there was a plan to take some home (small plastic bags were produced out of pockets) but Nancy  was quite honest in saying that the food had been made for them. 
Nancy also made a gorgeous cake that she decorated herself.  I loved that she started out writing Dunblane but didn’t have enough space so the ne came on the next line! 
We also  exchanged some gifts of pens and Scotland stickers. We were given lovely handbags made of wood and some beautiful cloth.  Mvano also gave us some homemade bags that they had sewn themselves (future tailor project?)
There was a real sense of  community and fellowship at our meeting and indeed all week.  It was a lovely way to finish up our time at Likhubula.  Car leaves tomorrow at 10 am for Balaka and Chifundo Artisans’ Network.

Day 9

Our last full day at Likhubula and a busy one.  Jenni headed off to Chambe to meet with the Dunblane/Chambe Partnership group.  Jenni was really pleased with the enthusiasm of the committee and their willingness to really have a go at trying to get the partnership up and running again.  She even got their promise recorded on her iPhone!! 

Our next meeting was with the village chiefs.  I had been responsible for securing the drinks and had gone down expecting Mrs. Chamwala’s shop to be open!  No!  It was a holiday. So the Chair person and I, Mr. Safari went to the market to locate 20 bottles of fizzy drinks.  It took a bit of effort and purchasing at two different places but we got them.
Our meeting with the chiefs went well. Altogether four out of the six chiefs came and were very positive about the partnership and its impact on the communities.  We discussed the Bursar scheme and their input and the Goats project (Chief Mbewe got two extra bars of Arran Aromatics soap for having the best goat success).  At one point one of the chiefs asked a question about if a bursar could get extra funding if they failed their final year and Jenni, in  a very loud and indeed demonstrative voice said ‘No!’. Gosh, there was some nervous laughter from she and I until the chiefs joined in!
We handed out some more soap and some pens and took some nice photos as we concluded.

Day 8 – Well done Andy

What a great end to the week.  We headed over to the Golf Club and paid our £2 daily membership fee.  Knowing the ropes we headed to our room and settled in for a great match.  Drinks were ordered (a wee Malawian G & T to get us in the spirit) and we shouted and cheered as the game progressed. I think my text charges for today will be huge as I was texting back and forth to Scotland. I even chatted to Colin and Matthew when the game was over. Brilliant
Although it would have been nice to be in Dunblane to share the excitement (Colin tells me he and the kids took part in a party at the Golden Post Box), it was a memorable way to see Andy win the title.  We have converted Lawrence our driver into a tennis fan and there is a whole community in Likhubula that now knows about the amazing Andy Murray!

Lunch with Mr Nyambalo

I was given a special invitation by Mr. Nyambalo to go to his house after church. Mr. Nyambalo takes the English service (at 7:30) and is the Standard 7 teacher at school. He is such an interesting gentleman!  We had a lovely time chatting about education in Malawi and indeed the community in Likhubula.  Mr. Nyambalo believes that the influx of foreigners has made the young men in the community lazy.  He believes that the women work hard in the community, raising children, tending crops etc but the men are always waiting for a handout from foreigners.  While there Mr. Nyambalo asked me to sign his visitors book which is filled with visitors from all over the world!
Interestingly, Mr. Nyambalo’s wife wasn’t there.  She used to attend the CCAP church but a couple of years ago became ill with a very sore heel (sounded like Achilles).  Mr. Nyambalo said that they had prayed a lot but nothing had happened until they went to the Seven Day Adventist Church.  Apparently soon after she attended, her heel got better so she said she wanted and felt obligated to change church. She has also now changed her name to Alice to Miriam.  Very interesting indeed!!!