Tuesday, 26 June 2012

Orphanage under construction

It is official!!
More than 300 orphans will have a place to call home by the end of this year!!
Orphanage view after one month construction
This is possible  thanks to the immense generosity of Totemic Ltd., the company I work for and which is funding the whole orphanage project and thanks to the hard job of Joshua Mbozole, the Malawian coordinator, who is watching how his dream is coming true!!
From my position I am speechless. This is beyond my dream that was to volunteer in an backward country and live myself in the conditions that millions and millions live and die every day as we all now. Since the moment I landed at Malawi I knew this was going to be a bond forever, but all this is much more than I could ever imagine. This is the most fulfilling thing I have done in my life and I feel so lucky.
As I commented in my previous post I was coming back to Malawi regarding the orphanage construction. I travelled there with two of the directors from my company last May to discuss the about project.
 The first meeting we have with Joshua was fine but I think the directors were a bit cautious about him. This changed completely next day though J  when they fell in love with him and everyone else in the village as it couldn't be any other way when you meet the people from the "Warm Heart of Africa".

The itinerary for that day was to spend the day in the village. They prepared all kind of activities to welcome us and explain everything about the project:
 We first stopped at the school where I used to teach. I didn’t know we were going there and I was so excited when they told me that once we arrived at the school I completely forgot about the trip and the “business” and went crazy with my children from Mapanje!
Mapanje school
The second stop was at one of the orphans’ families. This story is about Rafiki:
He is 6 years old and one of the orphans living with the HIV. He lives with his older sister Violet (17 years old) who takes care of him and their younger sister of 2 years old. Both of their parents passed away few years ago because of the HIV/AIDS. Violet is pregnant and doesn’t have a husband.
Visiting Rafiki's family. Paul and Emma (foreign coordinator)
Then we met chief John. He is the chief from the village and the one donating the land for the orphanage. We walked around the land perimeter and attended to a typical Malawian show with singing and dancing.
Chief John
Malawian dance
The orphanage team.From left to right: Joshua, me, Paul, Lesley and chief John. And Emma who is not in the picture
The final stop was the village where they met Joshua’s family and we had the local food (“nsima”).
After this we came back to the hotel with Joshua and Emma (foreign project coordinator and previous volunteer) to talk about the project.
 Once in the hotel…. we have a brief meeting that was mainly TO APPROVE THE ORPHANAGE!!! And if that was not enough they donated for a maize mill as well!!
The approval meeting
Apart from this two projects Totemic also donated to the micro- credits program for women that I started last February. At the moment more than 40 women have been able to star their own small business and support their families improving in an amazing way the women role in the community.

Right after that meeting Totemic started the funding and in less than one week the orphanage construction started!!!
I brought with me 25kg of donations from friends and people from the company. I had from clothes, shoes, backpacks, toys and a 5kg Nutella bottle, to money to sponsor children to go to school. It was curious how all the children were asking me: “Lulu school shoes, Lulu school bag” after they saw me giving away the donations. Unfortunately the 25 kg were not enough for everyone, but we will keep the donations up. Shoes and school rucksacks are two of the most valued items there. Wearing shoes and a rucksack to school is a sign of being "wealthy" since only a few can afford to pay for them.
Some pictures of the donations:
Outfit donated by Iryna Muha
Innocesia with a dress donated by Emma Charles

Happy Matrida with a school backpack and a barbie donated by Emma Charles
Donations from Valeria Almeda and Anna Forys to one orphan's family
Nutella time
Picture on the left:
Doughnut and chocolate time. 5kg of Nutella donated by Kathryn Thomson.

For most of them it was the first time tasting chocolate in their lives.More than 200 children and adults had a Nutella "sandwich" that day!!

Thank you for all the donations!
My lovely children from Mapanje school! I miss them so much!
Love & solidarity with Malawi,