First Fresh Day in Lilongwe

Trip Start Sep 11, 2010
Trip End Oct 06, 2010

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Ufulu Gardens

Flag of Malawi  ,
Wednesday, September 15, 2010

First thing today was to go to the airport to clear a DHL shipment from Cincinnati for the Fall Feast. It included gifts of flashlights that run 500 hours on one set of batteries and some white shirts.  Working in the countries we do, such as Malawi, nothing is easy.  DHL did not like how the Commercial Invoice was made out and we had to contact Cincinnati to make out a new one.  Fortunately with my Blackberry I was able to email a message to Greg McCloud in Cincinnati to make out a new one which he did and sent it right away to DHL for further clearing.  We will be notified, however, when the clearing is done and when we can pick up the shipment.

   From the airport, which is on the north side of Lilongwe, we continued north to Jesse Nyalubwe's home and coming clothing shop that LifeNets helped finance.  She is a skilled seamstress to whom we’ve supplied sewing machines and startup material.  

She lives about an hour ride out north towards Mzuzu.  She moved out here to near the town of Madisi in the Dowa district because her  husband Frazier has long-term construction work here. We stopped by her home first where she has her sewing machine. Her 19 year old daughter Chisomo was with her.  The last we saw Jesse was  two years ago. Chisomo has just finished high school with the helpd of a LifeNets scholarship.

She used to sell her good is Lilongwe, but her shop was torn down by government bulldozers.  The government passed a  law that in commercial districts, businesses could only be on one side of the road.  In these busy districts a lot of people would be crossing the road. A lot of accidents occurred as people crossed the roads.  People have a bad sense of the cars oncoming speeds and there were too many deaths.  The government issued warnings to people to move their businesses.  If they didn’t ateafter the deadline the government bulldozed them down.  Jesse’s was one of those. 

LifeNets has given her a grant to build another shop in the new area she lives. She started work in March. After talking some at her home, we drove another ten minutes north. Workers were still working on the structure which is close to being done. Grand opening will be right after the Fall Feast.   Her mainstay will be school uniforms and blouses. She said that actually in this rural community she will have more business than if she were back in Lilongwe where there was more competition. There is a greater demand for what she does well out in the country. We are considering helping her with a one-time start with bolts of cloth.

On our way back to Lilongwe we carried on a conversation with Wordsworth about the success of the various LifeNets initiatives…..about how various people did, who was successful, who was not and why.  All in all, I think our scholarship program is the one that nets the most result for the money invested.  We asked aobut Chiphale and Lester Njewa  --- the ones we where we put in a high quality borehole and called it "Rebecca’s well ."  He commented about how good the water was from that well and how much it was appreciated in the community. 

Some of the sparkling examples are Cephas Chapamba  who went to medical college and now does various procedures at his Jumpha Clinic. We help the clinic with medicine and with the extra education, Cephas has been brilliant. Loveness is doing well with her “Lovely Looks” beauty salon.  Of course, Alfred Gama and his farm that we visited is great.  There is also Elia’s Oasis of LifeNets school and Wordsworth’s grocery and more.

We drive by many places of business called "so and so" Investments.  What are these “investments?“ Who would want to invest in anything here?  I find that “investment” is somewhat akin to “incorporated” or “enterprise.” 

We passed the Blessings Hospital by the airport that we had visited in years gone by.  Just before arriving back in Lilongwe we drove by the Girls Academy that Madonna is building.  Looks like quite an auspicious project. 

    We then stopped by the taxation office to apply for duty exemption. LifeNets is legally registered in Malawi as of July this past year  and we inquired how we can have various items like computers shipped in without duty.  We were given the instructions on how to proceed.  As of now, we have to pay more than $100 or more duty for every laptop that we ship into the country.  We try to give some of our scholarshipped students laptops.

Then we dropped by Emily Chifumaka whom we had helped with sewing machines and helped build a storefront shop.  She looked in good health.  Two years ago she was very sick and we were concerned about her life, but she looked much better now.  She talked about her daughters  Mbumba who is in form 4 and her other daughter Memory  who taking qualifying exams to enter nursing school. She cares for her mother Linnes who is sister to Gladstone Chonde

Then we went to welder Albert Mitomoni who is skilled at making bed frames, metal animal sculptures, trellices and more.  He really does nice work…it was at sunset now, but we were able to take a few good pictures and video.

Finally, we stopped by the director of the first clinic we built in Malawi, Gladstone and Alice Chonde.   We first met them in Zimbabwe in 1996. We had a friendly visit for about an hour before going home.  Bev and I spent the rest of the evening talking about the days’ events and challenges we face.  I also caught up with my blog and answered emails from home. 
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Bill Pentecost on

How wonderful to see this - we have a charming young lady from Malawi in the Stirling church - Lancy Kachly - her family are in the north of the country - and they celebrated the feast down there in "Africa's warm heart" as Lancy tells us.

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