I was going to skip sharing my Malawi experience, but it was too memorable a trip not to mention. This was another experience of a lifetime that I was so blessed to be a part of. Malawi is so different from Swaziland. It’s hotter, drier and not as hilly. Malawi is even poorer than Swaziland. But the people are wonderful. They love to dance, singing and wear beautiful brightly colored cloth. I found it interesting that after living for four years in Swaziland, I felt like Malawi was more of what I pictured “Africa” to be.
I joined another non-profit, Drops of Grace, made up of friends from my home church in Round Rock, TX. Drops of Grace partners with Theresa Malila’s Somebody Cares organization. Somebody Cares is a Christian non-government organization that operates in the urban and peri-urban area near the capital of Malawi. They have a staff of 13 and 300 community volunteers. They work in the rural areas mobilizing the community volunteers to bring hope to the dying, sick,suffering, especially the vulnerable and orphaned children and widows. Somebody cares seeks to restore a society that is broken and a generation that is dying. They also provide education and create awareness of HIV/AIDS.
Here are just a few pictures from the 10 days I spent in Malawi. Okay, so here’s several pictures, but really, I did try to limit the pictures to just a few for each day.
A gathering of women discussing current issues.
Setting up for the first day of medical clinics.
Women lined up seeking medical care. The men in the community would sit in a separate area but were always taken care of first. Our "clinic" was in the small room to the left of the head of the line. The rest of the building appeared to be abandoned.
Day two. The women are beginning to assemble and get their spot in line.
The faces of the ladies getting anxious because the day is coming to an end. It was so hard everyday to walk away with so many people still waiting in line.
Day 3. This is a picture of the neighboring home.
Women washing clothes at the community bore hole / laundry station.
It never ceases to amaze me how beautiful the children are. It doesn't matter how dirty they are or how raggedy their clothes are. They are still sweet, adorable beautiful children with the most precious smiles.
After a busy, long day of clinic in one village we drove to another village to pick up the rest of the team. We ended up doing an impromptu clinic right out of the van. The elderly woman that Liz is working with was a very, very sick woman. Her grandson was going to have to take her on his bicycle to the hospital. The trip would take him at least 2 or 3 hours. We hoped and prayed that she made it.
Pre-school in this village! The number of children are incredible. The teachers had made charts out of cardboard and hung them on rope between the trees. Women were gathered on the left to learn to sew.
The women dancing at the end of the day. They were so happy with what they had learned in the sewing class.
A informal market along the side of the road.
This building was the village church.
There was lots of singing to welcome us by different groups within the church.
Day 6: Liz checking out a small child. Malawians suffer from the affects of HIV/AIDS and Malaria.
Day 7: The line waiting for the medical clinic in this village.
I loved working with the people. It's the personal connection that I love. It's amazing how much you can communicate when you don't understand the language. The women in the orange shirts are with Somebody Cares.
The lines at the Petrol Station. The economy is so bad that the country can't get loans from anyone. Therefore they are having an extremely difficult time getting Petrol and medicine. We were told several times that even if they get to the hospital, they usually don't have medication.
Our Kombie driver strapped these containers to the vehicle so that when he was finally able to get Petrol he would fill these containers too. People would wait in line for 24 hours. As a result of the Petrol crises, we spent a lot of time waiting for the vehicle to get filled up. You also wouldn't believe the number of people and things we crammed into one kombie just because of the issue of getting Petrol.
Our last day. The nicething about this village was that someone watched the door and only let in a new patient after the first one left. The bad thing was that we where in the hot sun all day long.
We started every morning with songs and a devotional. It was a great way to start the day.
Our great medical team!!!