Projects: Oasis School, Grocery and more

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


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Flag of Malawi  ,
Friday, September 17, 2010

Plans for the are getting changed continually. Wordsworth had to drive Christina to the Malawi Accountancy College before coming over.  We got our day started an hour late at 10 am and sunset for the Day of Atonement is at 5:30 so there's a lot to do before that time.  Wordsworth always has so much to do.

The breakfast accounting is very strange and to talk to the disinterested staff at the Ufulu Lodge is an experience.  When you stay there, only one breakfast is free.  The other you have to pay for, which is about $12.  We tried hard to tell them that we just wanted one breakfast--we just shared it.  But, they brought two anyway, so we had to tell them to take the other back. It was just very odd.

Lilongwe is divided into many numbered "districts."  The Oasis School where go to first today is near Dubai Shopping District 49. Wordsworth lives in 25b. The Njewa's where we put in the well in  23.  The Chonde are in Chilinde.  The numbers are not in any order.  District numbers have been given haphazardly in the way we see it.

We started back into town to buy more small items for the Oasis of LifeNets Nursery School and car parts.  Our situation with the cars is that we are ending doing a lot of nickel and dime maintenance items for both cars…one that is used for LifeNets and the other that is used for the Church.  The cost to us will be about  $800, but out of it we will get  "free" transportation on our entire stay plus the trip out to the Lake for the Feast of Tabernacles.  We are here for almost two weeks, so it’s probably good value.  We hurry back to the Oasis school to get there before 12 noon when the children are sent home.  But, we had to trade vehicles for the one we were driving was fixed.  That took a little time….we were in an out of car about half a dozen times before we got to Oasis.  Once there we gave the toys to the children.  Plus presented the wall clock and poster board that was asked for.  There are a lot of things that will be needed for the school like shelving, blackboards and furniture.  We enjoyed being with the gifted teacher Grace that we met the day before. 

Then Howard and Ruth Elia took us into the Administrative block….two rooms that will be a storage rooms and conference room. We had a discussion with them about the school, its startup and future.  They described the school as a  seed that has germinated. LifeNets has already put more than $12,000 into this project.  We want them to finance the finishing of the school building with tuition from the students coming for nursery classes.  It will take a while.  They did ask for a loan, but one of LifeNets policies is that we do not do loans.  Loans tend to become grants and we don’t  want to get into the finance business. Our meeting was very cordial and we really wish the school the best success.  We want to see what it does now that it has opened and has 20 children who come daily. They range in age from one to four.  We found out that Malawi is rated LAST in the world in education. Grades 1-8 are free. They are called Standard 1-8.  For high school (Form 1-4), you have to pay  

After Oasis we went to the bank, pick up Christina at the MCA and had lunch at the Gazebo restaurant which is run by Muslim owners. It's at City Centre where there are government buildings and shops--a kind of oasis. This will be the last we eat until after tomorrow sunset.  At the bank we had to figure out how much cash to have for the Feast at Cape Maclear. We will be staying at the Fat Monkeys Resort at the Cape.  If they take credit cards, then we won't need so much. We called and found out that they don't take credit cards.  That means that we have to take more cash out there. In Malawi the largest bank note is 500 kwachas, the equivalent of $3. So lots of cash can be quite a bundle.

We talked about Malawi Airlines, which has really gone downhill, in our estimation.  Some companies will not allow their employees to fly it.  They call it "Where Are You" Airlines.  Then out to Wordsworth’s Lipasi grocery that was financed by LifeNets.  He started a grocery across the street from where he lived, but the landlord saw how lucrative it was and decided to take over that piece of real estate himself.  Wordsworth was notified when the landlord cut the electric power off to his grocery.  So, Wordsworth was able to secure a location at a very busy marketplace nearby.  LifeNets loaned and then provided the money for purchasing a 20 foot container that had windows cut out from the side and it now has become a store.  We were quite impressed by it.   

He has two young men working at it. They are Blessings Thomas ….the shorter fellow, and Bornface Rasalo the taller one.

Our final project to visit was the Lovely Looks Hair Salon. This is a big LifeNets success run by Loveness Luwanja who has a special way with hair a growing clientele.  Her shop has an air of happiness about it.  She was with a client when we arrived.  You can really tell when someone has their heart in the business and wants to make it work.  That's what we see with Loveness.   

Night comes quickly and it gets very dark, but after several days you get used to it. 

    
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